Malta Pilots Blockchain-Based Credentials Program

By Neel V. Patel

Photo: iStockphoto

Malta, an island nation in the Mediterranean Sea, is completing the first ever attempt by a nation state to tie citizen records to the blockchain. If successful, a scaled-up version of the pilot program will give Malta’s 400,000 residents the ability to retrieve and share educational records and transcripts for free. What’s more, it would provide a proof-of-concept that could inspire other countries to adopt similar programs.

Since September 2017, the Maltese government has been working with Learning Machine Technologies, a New York-based company, on a pilot program that issues certificates anchored to a blockchain to people enrolled in higher education, civil servant job training, and vocational programs.

A blockchain is a type of digital ledger: a continuing record of transactions that securely verifies and timestamps the activity between two parties. One key advantage of a blockchain over other storage methods, such as a database, is that transactions on a blockchain aren’t controlled by a centralized power. Furthermore, these transactions can be publicly verified, and past transactions cannot be erased or tampered with. Better still, an on-chain record can be read only by people who hold the correct cryptographic keys.