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ESADE and Lydian Ventures apply self-sovereign digital identity in academia for the first time

Lydian Ventures and ESADE have developed a blockchain-based certified academic record system: immutable, inviolable and publicly auditable

Lydian Ventures and ESADE Business & Law School have collaborated on a pioneering project: the application of self-sovereign digital identity in the academic world. This new technology will allow the creation of blockchain-based certified academic records that are immutable, inviolable and publicly auditable.

Many companies and organisations have begun to innovate with blockchain, and academia is among the most active sectors in the use of this technology. Some universities have already tested the waters by directly registering their graduates’ degrees with public blockchain. This is, no doubt, a step in the right direction, as long as no intermediary or application programming interface (API) acts as a centralising element, which would constitute a potential point of corruption.

These developments, which use a 100% digital model, are opening up an important field for the development of a vision of the future of education based on a decentralised economy – digital identity – that will make it possible to address two major challenges: risk and reputation. With this objective in mind, Lydian Ventures and ESADE Business & Law School have identified potential applications for digital identity in the academic world and its various administrative processes. Together they have developed a technological design for self-sovereign digital identity in the framework of an open, global standard that facilitates structured and aggregated information and provides users – in this case, ESADE students – with sovereignty and control over access to their information.

Identity and digital academic records

Lydian Ventures has developed an open self-sovereign digital identity platform based on the Ethereum ERC-725/735 standard. The first students to enjoy the benefits of a self-sovereign digital identity are the participants in ESADE’s online Digital Marketing programme, and the system could be expanded to the rest of the school’s academic programmes in the near future. Under the new system, students will receive a statement showing their completed coursework and will be able to accept and share these records on their CV, on job-search portals or on professional social networks such as LinkedIn. The information displayed is always directly linked to blockchain. Thus, students’ identities will act as their digital academic records, which they can share with other academic institutions in order to allow them to add, in a structured manner, any other academic degrees they may hold. In this way, the students’ data will be inviolable and publicly auditable, and the total truthfulness of the data will be accredited and certified.

Francisco Aréchaga, CEO of Lydian Ventures, commented: “Digital identity is emerging as one of the pillars of the cryptoeconomy. Since the user is sovereign with regard to his or her data, the affirmations structure the information in a way that crosses borders and can be interlinked with personal and corporate applications. We have developed practical cases with the Port Authority, which grants and controls permits for harbour pilots and dockworkers, with the aim of facilitating access to vessels during stopovers in port. We have also worked with a local government to allow the town’s residents to vote on budget measures using their mobile devices. Digital identity clearly has multiple applications and the impact of this technology is unimaginable.”

“As an institution committed to the new paradigm shift in the digital world, ESADE is eager to take advantage of the opportunities provided by blockchain in the education sector and to provide students with the advantages afforded by this technology in order to optimise the process of conferring degrees at every level,” commented Julio Villalobos, Corporate Director of ESADE. “We are doing this by using digital information to issue certifications that are entirely secure, thereby making student data processing more flexible than ever before. The application of self-sovereign digital identity at ESADE puts students in charge of access to their data and gives them ownership over their information.”