South Korean university issues blockchain-stored diplomas amid the spread of the coronavirus

South Korea’s Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) is set to issue blockchain-stored diplomas to its new graduates.

Given the threat of the coronavirus, the university believes it’s no longer safe for students to congregate at a graduation ceremony. Instead of postponing the event, the administration decided to give students the option to get their diplomas online, local media outlet MBN reported.

On Feb. 7, POSTECH’s 828 new graduates will receive an email letter with a QR code linked to their blockchain-stored diploma. The diplomas are created by blockchain-based certification service “broof.” Launched in May 2019 by Korean firm ICONLOOP, the service allows users to issue, manage, and view online certificates via ICONLOOP’s public blockchain network. 

"In the aftermath of the new corona, it is impossible to hold a graduation ceremony on time,” a POSTECH official told MBN. "Now, even if a student does not visit the school to receive the diploma, they can get an online digital degree secured by blockchain technology." 

POSTECH previously made use of broof’s technology in June 2019 when it issued blockchain certificates to graduates of its blockchain CEO course, MBN said. Compared to traditional online diplomas, blockchain-based certificates are not subject to forgery or alteration. Recipients can access the information through an encrypted path.

Meanwhile, other higher education institutions also are experimenting with digital academic credentials. MIT Media Lab, for example, is building a set of tools to store and manage cryptographically signed certificates on the Bitcoin blockchain.