Blockchain (in) Education

Employing blockchain in the education sphere is gaining more and more traction, with several innovative and exciting initiatives underway. This past week, Sony announced it has completed the build of a blockchain system with IBM to manage education records of their employees. They are now looking to commercialize the product. Another effort led by Learning Machine seeks to use blockchain infrastructure to store credentials across universities (and borders).

Beyond tracking credentials, there are several other uses for blockchain in the education sphere. The net long term potential is to fragment learning in terms of cost, delivery, and documentation. By leveraging permissionless, trust-based systems that blockchain offers, education as an industry can (and will) be rebuilt from the ground up. Read more on the long term potential >>

“The blockchain may help us change the relationships among colleges and universities and, in turn, their relationship to society.”
–Don and Alex Tapscott in EducauseReview



The education system that exists today primarily was born from the Industrial Age; the systems and customs behind it reflect a now outdated genesis. Therefore, the system is ripe for an overhaul!

Tapscott’s vision for a new decentralized system is interesting, albeit a long way off. Many smaller steps are required in order for this vision to ultimately be realized. However, each of the pieces of this fragmentation presents numerous opportunities for internal and external players to begin chipping away at the industrial monolith of education today. Sony and Learning Machine’s efforts are really just one cornerstone of the system of the future, and they are both just starting out.

The rise of massive open online courses (MOOCs) and focused education services, the need for a more adaptive workforce, and other recent trends in education are a forcing function for a more responsive education system. Blockchain-based infrastructure may be the answer to tie together these emerging trends as another cornerstone to a new education system, enabling the right education to the right person at the right time with significantly less of the overhead that our world’s education institutions have become.

So, we expect to see explosive growth in the number of projects in this space in the coming months and years, as the potential for blockchain-based infrastructure is realized by more and more industry experts and education-focused entrepreneurs alike. Many ideas and innovations will be attempted, given the new characteristics blockchain-based infrastructure brings to education in particular. These are exciting times, and the education industry is ripe to be at the forefront of this emergence. The opportunities are incredible!

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