The University of Bahrain (UoB) will now issue diplomas on the blockchain, according to a story first reported by Trade Arabia, an English-language local media outlet. Bahrain is a nation in the Arabian Gulf comprising more than thirty islands.
According to the Trade Arabia article, the university will employ Blockcerts, a company that allows for digital records to be stored on the blockchain, in partnership with Learning Machine, a startup that provides credentials to be recorded on the blockchain, and works in conjunction with Blockcerts.
It is not only the University of Bahrain that is a proponent of blockchain technology, but the Bahrain government as well. In an address at the country’s SmartSec Cyber Security and Blockchain Conference in 2018, the country’s minister of electricity and water affairs, Abdulhussain Mirza, said:
“Technologies such as blockchain take us a huge step forward in finding a secure way to facilitate transactions. Blockchain’s ability to protect user’s data is a true mark of progress, especially due to the fact that it can be applied in different companies from different industries including cybersecurity.”
This was the first time Bahrain weighed in blockchain, in contrast to its neighbor, Dubai, which has made numerous forays into blockchain, including a registry that helps businesses operate in its jurisdiction. Indeed, Dubai has stated its intention to become a “Blockchain-powered city by 2020.”
A small step forward for the proliferation of blockchain technology in Bahrain came last June when the nation issued its first “sandbox” licence to the cryptocurrency exchange, Palmex, which would allow the company to test its services while the regulatory implications are weighed (this is what is meant by “sandbox”).
Although the issuance of diplomas on the blockchain represents a bold acceptance of the technology by University of Bahrain, it is not the first university to do so. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) issued blockchain-based digital certificates via Blockcerts to over one hundred graduates in October 2017 as part of a pilot program.