The education ministry in Malaysia recently organized a new consortium of universities in an aim to use blockchain technology to tackle the massive industry in fake certificates.
The ministry added that it has also launched a new blockchain-based system called e-Scroll for the issuance and verification of university degrees in a Thursday Twitter post.
The solution, it said, was prompted by a rise in cases of fraudulent degrees and the ease with which they can be obtained over the internet.
Citing a BBC Radio report describing a “staggering” trade in fake degree certificates from January, the MoE said “buyers are prepared to spend up to half a million pounds on bogus documents,” adding that, “such a scenario is also not unheard of in Malaysia.”
The ministry further added that the idea of a blockchain-based system was initially introduced by the Council of ICT Deans, and it is expected to improve efficiency, alongside providing certificate provenance.
The release also added that the Malaysian universities currently receive “thousands of requests globally” to verify graduates – a process still largely done via telephone and emails, “which contribute to its inefficiency.”
Developed by a team from the International Islamic University (IIUM), the MoE said the system stores the certificate data on the NEM blockchain and provides an online verification “in a few seconds” when a QR code printed on the degree certificate is scanned.
For the first phase of the project, Ph.D. students from IIUM graduating on Nov. 10 will have their degree certificates logged on the system. The ministry said it is encouraging other universities to join the consortium.
“Although such a system can also be built using other blockchains, NEM was chosen due to its unique features in managing traceability and authentication requirements,” it added.