IBM in Consortium to Build Blockchain-Based Credentials Platform


A consortium of academic and professional organizations is developing a platform on IBM’s blockchain technology to house permanent, verifiable records of a candidate’s learning and skills, including certifications and qualifications.

According to IBM, the platform—called the Learning Credential Network, according to Human Resource Executive—is still in the early stages of development. In a blog post, the company’s global leader of blockchain and AI for learning credentials, Alex Kaplan, said job applicants will “own their data and choose how, and with whom it is shared.” The project’s goal is to help candidates connect more easily with prospective employers, while helping organizations better match and verify an applicant’s skills.

.@IBM has joined with professional and academic groups to develop a #blockchain database that would streamline credentials verification. #HR #HRTech Click To Tweet

In addition to IBM, the organizations involved in the project are the National Student Clearinghouse, a non-profit that provides academic verifications to colleges and universities; Central New Mexico Community College; and VetBloom by Ethos Veterinary Health, a “learning ecosystem” for veterinarians that’s used by more than 65,000 learners.

Kaplan said the effort’s goal is to streamline “the increasingly complex and inefficient talent marketplace.” Job applicants face a bewildering array of opportunities for new positions and are often hard-pressed to identify to best path to advancement. Employers, meanwhile, have a difficult time finding the workers best-suited to open roles.

Clearing the Credentials Bottleneck

Credentials, though intended to help qualified workers stand out, often just confuse things, Kaplan suggested. “It certainly doesn’t help that there are roughly 738,000 unique credentials in the U.S alone, and that 30 percent of organizations have uncovered instances of resume fraud,” he said.

The consortium’s project would create a learning credential blockchain that would enable the development of “tamper-evident, digital credentials,” Kaplan said. Such credentials would reduce the risk of resume fraud and make it easier for employers to identify candidates. It would also streamline the process of providing credentials for academic institutions.

HR Executive suggests that job boards could be logical partners for the consortium. The magazine quoted Tobe Phelps, Central New Mexico Community College’s CTO, as saying the platform is capable of validating resume information and then pre-populating online templates with a candidate’s education and training history.

IBM describes the consortium’s current work as focusing on “a minimum viable product designed to serve the broader community of learning credential issuers and users with a key focus on interoperability and digital self-sovereignty.” Next year, the group hopes to scale its network by recruiting additional participants and developing an administration and governance structure, IBM said.

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