Blockchain versus other digital certificates
In a previous note we compared the advantages of using blockchain certificates versus those issued on paper. The use of digital certificates, in general, also have advantages over paper:
- They need fewer resources for their issuance and maintenance.
- They can be revoked by the issuing institution.
- They are more difficult to modify or insert false data.
However, digital certificates present also some significant disadvantages:
- Without the use of digital signatures, they are easy to forge;
- The use of digital signatures requires participation of third-party providers that guarantee the integrity of the transaction; they exert control on every aspect of the certification and verification processes, which can lead to abuses.
- There is no universally accepted open standard for digital signatures, leading to certificates that can only be verified within the context of proprietary software.
- It is easy to erase electronic records, unless very sophisticated security and backup systems are established.
- If the digital record fails, the certificate loses its value because the lack of intrinsic value.
- Digital certificates are liable to be downloaded in bulk.
Blockchain technology provides a new infrastructure, even a more advanced one to ensure, share and verify the training and skills acquired. Each certificate contains references of the issuer and receiver, along with the signature of the document (hash), which is stored in a public database (the blockchain) and identical in thousands of computers around the world.
These certificates issued with blockchain technology have, therefore, important additional advantages over other digital certificates, such as the following:
- They can not be forged. It is possible to verify with certainty that the certificate was originally issued and received by the same people mentioned in the certificate.
- Verification can be done by anyone with access to blockchain and open source software easily accessible. It is not necessary third parties intervention.
- Given the absence of intermediaries to validate the certificate, it can be verified even if the organization that issued it no longer exist or do not have access to the issued record anymore.
- The registry of certificates issued and received in a blockchain can only be destroyed if each and every one of the existing copies is destroyed in thousands of computers that host this technology.
The application developed by BlockTac introduces also additional and unique features that spread the generic advantages of the blockchain, simplifying the availability and transfer of certificates and expanding the information and contents, according to the choices of the issuing institutions.