February 21, 2024

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HKUST launches HK’s first e-verified certification platform

Image Credits: HKUST, Press Release

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has launched the HKUST “blockcerts” platform – a trust-free, user-friendly verification system for documents such as graduation diplomas and academic transcripts, in its latest move to promote a paperless and sustainable campus as well as tackling the problem of fake diplomas.

As the first university in Hong Kong to launch this blockchain-based degree authentication system, HKUST hopes to set a trend for the gradual replacement of the conventional paper verification process – where graduates must make requests and pay the institution every time they need a print copy of their diploma, which is not environmentally friendly and also time-consuming for graduates and employers. HKUST also hopes the Blockcerts system can help hinder illegal activities on academic forgery.

By the end of this month, HKUST graduates will begin receiving cryptographically signed and tamper-proof e-versions of their graduation diploma certificates. Starting in November, the University will also begin providing e-transcripts to graduates. Students can make individual requests for the e-transcript starting September.

Users can download or directly view the e-diploma after verification.

HKUST has been promoting this new initiative to employers including global background check company First Advantage, integrated telecom and technology solutions provider HKBN and tax and audit consultant PwC Hong Kong. Industry interest in this technology has been positive and supportive.

Blockchain guarantees the integrity of data by linking up blocks of records using cryptography. Each block contains a unique identifier called a hash and must be aligned with the hash from the previous block.

That means if the data in any one block is tampered with, its hash will change making it no longer aligned with the hash from its previous block. This would cause the whole blockchain to become invalid, and therefore the user will be alerted to the attempted tampering. This feature is what ensures the integrity of the platform.

The Assistant Professor of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at HKUST behind the “Blockcerts” project stated that blockchain is an emerging technology that is highly-secured, allowing transactions between parties without the presence of any trusted intermediates.

Given such nature, many industries, such as finance and gaming, have begun using it to build applications to make their businesses more efficient and bringing the region towards a smarter society.

Employers can verify blockcerts’ authenticity with a few simple steps on the website.

The “Blockcerts” certificate data is saved on a private and secured University server. Employers or any third parties who wish to verify the authenticity of the diploma and transcript of our graduates can do so by following some simple steps on the University’s official website anytime and anywhere in the world.

HKUST’s Academic Registrar stated, “HKUST prides ourselves on innovating new technologies and best practices. With our debut introduction of Blockcerts, we are now in a position to revolutionize academic credentialing in Hong Kong, Greater China and beyond.”

The “Blockcerts” project is part of the Sustainable Smart Campus as a Living Lab (SSC) campaign which is an initiative HKUST launched in February 2019 that aims to transform the campus into a testing ground for learning, experimenting, and advancing smart and innovative ideas to address real-life challenges.

With a pledge of HK$50 million over the next three years, the University aims to identify sustainable, smart and cross-disciplinary home-grown HKUST projects and implement them on campus.

Projects are collaboratively developed by faculty, staff, students and alumni. By uniting HKUST’s quality research and innovative learning approaches, it is hoped that SSC projects will become a source of inspiration to the Hong Kong community, contributing to its development in becoming a world-class sustainable and smart city.

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Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

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SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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