For the 61 winners of the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar (PMRBP) 2021 and 2022, the award was special in ways more than one, as they got digital certificates that use blockchain-driven technology developed by IIT Kanpur under the National Blockchain Project.
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a first, awarded the children certificates digitally, Director of Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur Abhay Karandikar on Tuesday said this technology can be used to grant all degrees and certificates in the future.
The digital certificates will be stored on digital wallets installed on the mobile devices of the recipients. These certificates cannot be forged, are globally verifiable, selectively disclosable and sensitive to user content, according to Karandikar.
In a tweet on Monday, he had said that IIT Kanpur had awarded digital degrees to its students for the first time using the in-house developed blockchain and self sovereign identity technology. Modi, who was the chief guest of the premier institute’s convocation ceremony on December 28 last year, had launched the blockchain-based digital degrees on the occasion.
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The technology is being implemented by CRUBN, a firm offering blockchain solutions. It was founded by 4 IITians – Nilesh Vasita, Ras Dwivedi and Tanmay Yadav from IIT Kanpur and Mukul Verma from IIT Bombay – under the mentorship of Padma Shri Prof. Manindra Agrawal and Prof. Sandeep K Shukla, joint coordinators of the National Blockchain Project under the National Security Council Secretariat. When asked how he views the digital push, Karandikar told PTI, ”The need to do online verification of degrees and other educational certificates has increased more than ever since the rise of COVID-19. To make this process easy and seamless, a solution using blockchain and self sovereign identity (SSI) allows students to manage and store their digital degrees in digital wallets installed on their devices.” SSI is a way of implementing digital identity that allows users to have complete control and ownership of their credentials along with the ability to share them as and when they want. SSI leverages blockchain to enhance digital trust in the ecosystem. It can be easily integrated with Aadhaar and DigiLocker, according to Karandikar.