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South Korean university POSTECH issues blockchain-based digital diplomas amid coronavirus outbreak

Image: POSTECH (Via Instagram)

Mon, 10 Feb 2020, 05:45 am UTC

Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), a private research university in South Korea, has announced that it has become the first university in the country to issue degrees using blockchain technology.

In an announcement dated Feb 07, POSTECH said (via online translation):

“Our university issued digital diplomas to graduates through e-mail and KakaoTalk. It is the first domestic blockchain degree to be issued to all graduates.”

As to what led the university to leverage the innovative technology, a POSTECH official told local news outlet MBN that this was due to the coronavirus epidemic, The Block reported.

In the wake of the growing threat, the university thought that it wasn’t safe for students to attend a graduation ceremony and decided to offer students the option to receive digital diplomas.

“Digital diplomas cannot be forged or tampered by applying blockchain technology, and when a third party wants to inquire, the graduate must approve the inquiry,” POSTECH said.

The blockchain-based system was developed and piloted by blockchain startup ICONLOOP. According to the press release, the Institute of Information and Telecommunications used the same system to issue degrees for its blockchain CEO course last year.

“This system allows universities to issue certificates without building a database, which simplifies the issuance and storage process and reduces costs. Graduates can also easily look up anytime, anywhere, and can also adjust the disclosure of information, which has the advantage of easy privacy,” the university added.

POSTECH’s 828 new graduates reportedly received an email letter that contained a QR code that gave them access to their blockchain-based digital diplomas.

"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."

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