At the end of 2021, the University of Sharjah in the UAE signed a researched agreement with the BSV Blockchain Association to develop an innovative system for storing and verifying academic credentials on the BSV blockchain.
This solution will not only deliver an efficient and reliable way for candidates to provide attestation of their academic qualifications but also crack down on the global problem of fraudulent degrees and academic certificates.
The research and development project is led by Dr Mohamed Al Hemairy and Dr Manar Abu Talib from the University of Sharjah, and will comprise several phases. The first phase of the project will be the creation of a framework for validating and authenticating academic and professional certifications by leveraging the benefits of the public BSV blockchain.
Next, a prototype application will be developed and deployed on the BSV blockchain that will implement the principles and functionalities resulting from the initial research phase. Finally, if this prototype application is successful in implementing this functionality, a joint venture will be undertaken to launch a start-up within the university that provides this certification and validation of academic credentials to private and public universities.
The BSV blockchain is the ideal choice for providing this service thanks to its unbounded scaling, high data throughput, low transaction fees, complex smart contract support and reliable protocol. BSV is the only public blockchain capable of scaling to meet the demands of government and enterprise, and it can deliver revolutionary blockchain-based solutions today thanks to its native scaling capability.
To find out more about the University of Sharjah’s partnership with the BSV Blockchain Association and why they selected the BSV blockchain for this initiative, we spoke to Dr Mohamed Al Hemairy, Head of the Technology Transfer Office at the University of Sharjah, and Jimmy Nguyen, Founding President of the BSV Blockchain Association.
BSV is perfect for large-scale applications
Dr Al Hemairy explains that the BSV blockchain was the ideal solution for this project by the University of Sharjah because of its ability to scale and provide a reliable and publicly auditable record of academic certifications.
‘There were multiple options and different networks that could be used to build our framework on, but particularly for this application and use case, BSV was the perfect solution,’ he says.
‘This is for many reasons. One is the large block size on the blockchain, which really fits the project scope. We need to write a large data set, including the transcript, academic credentials, student details and institution details, and maybe even module descriptions for each course the student has been taking through their academy journey, which requires a larger block size.’
Another important reason they chose the BSV blockchain was its ability to facilitate quick, cheap transactions at the scale they require.
‘The transaction processing is very fast and this is one of the features and advantages. Also, the cost is not comparable with any of the existing networks, and for all these reasons together we selected the BSV network to build our system on,’ Dr Al Hemairy says.
Jimmy Nguyen says they hope to have the prototype service launch soon, and the BSV Blockchain Association is working closely with the University of Sharjah to support this initiative.
‘As we’re expanding in the UAE, as well as other countries in the Middle East, we’re looking for partners to work on test projects with. We’re so excited to have announced a number of months ago our first project in the UAE with the University of Sharjah led with our friend, Dr. Mohamed Al Hemairy.’
‘[The University of Sharjah] is doing research on and developing a proof-of-concept application to do this on the BSV blockchain and start testing it with the university and other sources,’ he says.
‘Working with them is Mohammad Salman Anjum – he runs our BSV hub in the Middle East and South Asia. His team is working with grad students at the University of Sharjah to do research into the use of the BSV blockchain to support the more honest and efficient tracking of credentials and academic degrees.’
The importance of academic credential verification
Dr Al Hemairy says the solution they are researching on the BSV blockchain aims to be adopted worldwide.
‘We are trying to create a research study to develop the best framework that can be adopted worldwide, not only in University of Sharjah or in UAE, that can take into consideration different platforms and different frameworks for issuing certificates, and also the verification process, which is a different from country to country,’ he says.
‘It can be very complicated and time-consuming for students, job seekers and the government to verify employees when they apply for a job and submit their academic credential and certificates. We are trying to make this a universal framework that can be work for everybody, and it will be open to any institution to join the network… it will be like an authentic reference for anybody who wants to verify their academic certificate.’
‘Everybody is announcing [their academic credentials] and everybody should be proud of their academic credentials. The issue is that we don’t know if this information is valid or not. There is a lot of fake information and misconduct related to academic achievements or academic degrees. So, it is for that purpose – making all this information public, but in a transparent and decentralised environment using the blockchain – that we are looking to design our project.’
The University of Sharjah is aided in its blockchain research initiatives by its situation in the UAE, where the government has announced an ambitious strategy for blockchain implementation.
‘The UAE government has issued a directive that they want a significant portion – I believe over 50 percent of government transactions – on a blockchain by the year 2030. Similarly, in Saudi Arabia, they have a Saudi Vision 2030 to digitally transform the entire kingdom by 2030, diversify economic sectors and reduce reliance on the oil industry,’ Nguyen says.
‘All those things combined in both the UAE and the rest of the MENA region make for a very strong government directive to embrace all kinds of emerging technologies, for which blockchain is the data infrastructure that will underpin not just better financial systems but AI, IoT, device management, robotics, autonomous vehicles, smart cities, smart community technology… All that needs a data structure to power it, as well as the ability to send micropayments to monetise it.’
To find out more about the ambitious blockchain strategies being explored in the MENA region and globally, and how the BSV blockchain has the unique ability to deliver these applications, register to attend the BSV Global Blockchain Convention from May 24-26 in Dubai.