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Certificates on Blockchain

Physical or digital certificates can be easily forged or destroyed when used. All of these issues, as well as others, can be remedied by utilising blockchain technology, which will be described in today''s blog.

It is clearly obvious that blockchain technology will be widely used in the near future. Already, the reach of blockchain technology is becoming so wide that keeping track of everything is getting hard.

Without a question, Blockchain is a revolutionary technology with several applications outside of the financial industry, including IoT, artificial intelligence, autonomous robotics, virtual and augmented reality, and so on. So the moment has come to reconsider what we are doing today, given that the companies may not be adequately constructed for this "Blockchain thinking." Large organisations that have already recognized the potential of this technology have invested in the development of private Blockchains through coalitions such as R3 or Hyperledger, and as a result, some cloud service providers such as IBM and Microsoft have been offering intriguing Blockchain-As-A-Service solutions for some time.

DeFi, Smart contracts, and Certificates are some of the examples that are performing on the blockchain. We have seen DeFi and Smart contracts on our previous blogs. Today we will talk about certificates on the blockchain.

Why do we need a certificate on blockchain?

an infographic picture showing multiple blocks

The purpose of certification is to demonstrate that particular requirements have been met. Certificates are used for a variety of reasons, including education, identification, exports, financial institutions, and others. Fake documents are a problem in the education sector, and all other industries require certification.

When we employ physical or digital certificates, they can be readily falsified or destroyed. All of these and other flaws can be addressed by utilising blockchain technology and this subject will be discussed in today''s blog.

Continuity in the Digital world

One of the most common identified uses is to create smart contracts using Blockchain, in which the parties agree on terms that are translated into programmable code, and when certain conditions are met, that programme will be in charge of executing what was agreed upon, sharing it among network members, and controlling what is added. In this example, Ethereum is one of the most prominent Blockchain networks, with a native development mechanism. We also have newer networks, such as Tendermint, which employs a more flexible and programming language agnostic framework.

Blockchain is a distributed database, it differs from standard databases in the following ways:

  • Anyone can contribute and view information,
  • but no one can delete it, and
  • no one owns it.

These characteristics are unique in that they can create continuity in the digital world. This implies that we may validate the path taken for a certain procedure in the actual world, such as quality certifications, location certificates, and so on.

How to issue a certificate on the blockchain

an infographic image showing certificates inside 3 blocks

Blockchain network is able to issue/verify reliable digital certificates, and since they cannot be erased, they will persist forever. The general process will be as follows:

  1. Certificates are created using “ cert-tools ”. To do this, a template (create-certificate-template) is established with the information common to all certificates.
  2. Next, a batch of certificates (instantiate-certificate-batch ) is instantiated, complementing it with some basic information such as the name of the recipient, the name of the issuer, date of issue, etc. with which we will already have the unsigned certificates.
  3. Later, through “cert- signer” we will sign the certificates with a private key in order to verify that no one has altered the content of the certificate and guarantee its integrity.
  4. Finally, we are ready to issue the certificate using “cert-issuer”.

As with the certificate, and because to the properties of Bitcoin, this transaction could be confirmed in two ways:

  1. Install a Bitcoin Core full node on a PC and examine the transaction block. To do so, you must first download the Blockchain, which is presently around 300GB in size. Once downloaded, it is feasible to know with certainty that all of the Bitcoin protocol''s rules are being followed, such as not spending Bitcoins that do not belong to the user, not using coins twice, and so on. This form of complete node offers greater privacy and secrecy.
  2. Use third-party nodes via their APIs to verify the transaction that contains the certificate.

From this moment, anyone could, without having to depend on the issuer, verify that a certificate has not been altered, that it was issued by a particular institution and issued to a specific user. In this case, the diplomas are not literally stored on the Blockchain, but the recorded transactions provide the information including summaries to be able to verify the files that are stored securely in locations outside of the Blockchain. In this case, a certificate can be verified manually since the OP_RETURN field, typical of the Bitcoin network, has been used to write down the hash of the batch of certificates, or through "cert-viewer" creating a server like this one that will have a button for validation via the web.

Let''s see where these certificates are applied:

  1. The Singapore International Chamber of Commerce (SICC) and Singapore-based vCargo Cloud unveiled the world''s first blockchain-based platform for electronic certificates of origin (eCOs) in Singapore (VCC) in 2018.
  2. Germany will use Blockchain Technology to test digital certificates for school graduates. The initiative appears to be on track to be completely operational by the end of 2022.
  3. COVID-19 Certificates Using Blockchain in Mexico
  4. Certificate of origin in Kenya and many others.

Conclusion

Blockchain is a novel type of information technology with potentially significant future uses. Finally, a Blockchain network token may represent nearly anything, from a diploma or solar energy to storage or computation. In this approach, platforms for agreements between personal digital resources might be built, resulting in a distributed and decentralised supercomputer and avoiding reliance on cloud providers, who really have ownership over the entire structure and its content. Traditional centralised approaches are unlikely to be able to handle the massive amounts of data that are predicted to be created in future years. This society will require the capacity to transfer resources swiftly and effectively, and while scalability issues remain, it appears like Blockchain may be the solution to carry out all of these transactions. Some have already dubbed it the "Internet of Value.”

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