Blockchain has been around for some time, albeit in the financial sector. It is the underlying technology behind Bitcoin, a digital currency. To understand blockchain’s benefits, we have to go back to its beginning. Bitcoin, a digital currency, was created by Satoshi Nakamoto to prevent double spending by payment systems. Traditional banks and financial institutions use a centralized server, which have proven to be prone to errors and hackers. Nakamoto created Bitcoin to avoid this. Bitcoin uses blockchain to ensure transactions are safe and error-free. 

 

Essentially, blockchain is an electronic ledger. Each transaction is stored in this ledger, which uses a decentralized server. This means that a transaction is stored on several nodes (e.g. computers) instead of on a high-powered server. It is a peer-to-peer network rather than one entity, unlike a bank. Each day, hundreds of thousands of transactions are stored on a block. This block of data is encrypted (cryptography) and then linked to another block. A transaction must be verified to be processed, and once processed it cannot be deleted. Each transaction is unique, since it has the time, date and dollar amount of the purchase. Also, your actual name is not recorded; you get a digital signature. 

 

The benefits of blockchain are slowly being realized in other industries, such as real estate and law. It is only a matter of time before it utilized by the education sector. There are a number of ways blockchain can improve educational systems through storage and sharing, such as transcripts, student records, and smart contracts. Currently, transcripts are a manual process. Thus, it’s easy to have some credits missing or altered. The electronic ledger technology of blockchain will ensure that each transcript is verified and secured. 

 

It will also reduce transcript fraud. With student records, they can also be verified and stored safely, ensuring the information was not altered or deleted. Smart contracts are also a product of blockchain. These contracts  are “smart” because a number of conditions must be met for the contract to be executed. They could be used in the hiring process as well as between teachers and students. Also, blockchain will reduce the amount of paperwork and cost of software protection. 

 

Blockchain is changing the landscape of many industries. It will provide a number of benefits for each one, which will save time and money. In the education sector, blockchain will streamline processes and provide high-level security.