French Engineering School Teams Up With Local Startup To Certify Diplomas Using The Bitcoin Blockchain

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Leonardo_da_Vinci University Campus
Image credit: Leonardo da Vinci University Campus, Wikimedia.org

Parisian engineering school the Leonardo da Vinci Engineering School (ESILV) will soon become the first higher education institution in France to certify diplomas and academic certificates using the Bitcoin blockchain.

The technology, provided by domestic bitcoin startup Paymium, is intended to help fight against fake certificates and false resumes, Cyril Grunspan, the education supervisor for the department of financial engineering of the school, told Blockchain France. ESILV plans to issue its first certificates in April during the annual graduation period. Then, about a hundred students will graduate as engineers.

“There is not much to do: the technology is there, the rest is just a matter of schools’ will,” Grunspan said. “This is simply using the blockchain for certifications, since it is easy today to fake certificates using Photoshop.”

Grunspan indicated that ESILV hasn’t decided yet whether the school will host or not its own blockchain.

“Would a recruiter go on a school’s website to verify the veracity of a diploma, or would he rather go on a platform such as Blockchain.info? In my opinion, the simplest way would be a link to Blockchain.info,” Grunspan said.

ESILV follows the lead of Holberton School, a software engineering school based in San Francisco that began authenticating its academic certificates with the Bitcoin blockchain in October 2015 using technology provided by online blockchain notary service Bitproof.

In the following years, blockchain certification will be used by many schools simply because it is more efficient, cheaper, faster and safer than other available solutions, predicts Sylvain Kalache, co-founder of Holderton School.

“We think first about our students — we want to make sure that our certificates will always remain valid and verifiable by employers,” Kalache said in a release. “It will also keep them safe and impossible to copy or hack.”

In addition to becoming the first school in France to digitally certify diplomas using the Bitcoin blockchain, ESILV said that its department of financial engineering and computer science will start offering a fintech option in September 2016. The option will cover topics such as blockchain technology, security and network, payment systems and web development.

ESILV, a pioneer in blockchain education in France, became in September 2015 the first higher education institution to offer a bitcoin course. With the new fintech option, the school hopes to see new bitcoin projects emerge.

“We want to make students work on real needs of bitcoin and blockchain startups,” Grunspan said.