On September 5th I attended the Blockchain in Education conference in Groningen. More than 250 attendees came to the beautiful Academiegebouw of University of Groningen to learn about the great potential of blockchain in education. Probably you have heard of blockchain (or maybe bitcoins), but you don't exactly know what it is. Blockchain is a way of encrypting information and simultaneously storing it in different places. Its most important feature is that the stored data can no longer be changed or deleted. Blockchain technology uses decentralized networks and thus avoids a central party determining or changing the rules. All blockchain transactions are encrypted, public and completely transparent, and therefore supposed to be safer and more reliable.
Already other attendees have written excellent blogposts about the conference:
- “Tour d’Horizon” of the organisation
- Wytze Koopal
- Joël de Bruijn (multiple articles in Dutch)
- Wilfed Rubens (in Dutch)
After the day I know much more about what blockchains can do, but also the limitations. Most important conclusion for me is that there are some cases to make for using blockchains, but that the technology is still in its infancy. One of the most mentioned case is for diplomas and certificates. Although you know if a diploma or certificates was changed since it was granted, it still doesn't say if it is a valid diploma and you should trust it.
We have to be careful to use blockchains for everything, it is starting to show hype characteristics. In many situations other options are better.