Block Chain in Education

April 17, 2023

As a time-honoured social institution for knowledge transfer and a field of study, education has consistently been swift in adopting technologies from different sectors. Education is undergoing a pilot experiment period of Big Data, mass social media, STEM curriculum and data mining with complaint technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Blockchain is plausibly the next technology-mediated mega trend in education after the ongoing era of Big Data.


Evolution of Blockchain technology

Blockchain technology was originally intended for attesting the ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘when’ of digital documents in 1991. Left unused for years, an incognito person with the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto applied it into the first digital cryptocurrency in 2009—the Bitcoin (as cited in Park, 2021). Within a decade, blockchain has already proven itself to be a technology that allows to secure digital data controlled only by its users. Even though its first broader application in cryptocurrency is considered as being technically secure, blockchain is subversive to the traditional financial system in the sense that it is not subject to third party scrutiny/attesting by financial institutions such as banks, credit card corporations and state financial regulatory authorities.


Concept of Blockchain

The key selling point of blockchain is to allow digital information to be recorded and distributed, but not edited. In this way, a blockchain is the foundation for immutable ledgers, or records of transactions that cannot be altered, deleted, or destroyed.


A blockchain is a distributed database or ledger that is shared among the nodes of a computer network. As a database, a blockchain stores information electronically in digital format.  One key difference between a typical database and a blockchain is how the data is structured. A blockchain collects information together in groups, known as blocks, that hold sets of information. Blocks have certain storage capacities and, when filled, are closed and linked to the previously filled block, forming a chain of data known as the blockchain. All new information that follows that freshly added block is compiled into a newly formed block that will then also be added to the chain once filled. Any changes made in any of node of the network will be updated on whole network’s data.


Blockchain network has irreversible timeline of data when implemented in a decentralized nature. When a block is filled, it is set in stone and becomes a part of this timeline. Each block in the chain is given an exact timestamp when it is added to the chain.


Blockchain in Education

The ultimate purpose of blockchain technology is avoiding uncertainties related to the authenticity of identities of people and the accuracy of shared information. This uncertainty avoidance is achieved by blockchain technology with shared information on virtual identity and transactions that are transparent to all parties involved yet, at the same time, carefully veiled with powerful cryptography. 

1. Blockchain in Education Administration (Smart Contracts, Credit Transfer, continuing professional development):

Blockchain technology can execute tasks, in education, related to administration and management through its shared ledgers: smart contracts, continuing professional development (Clark, 2016).

smart contracts managed in blockchain systems could establish conditions under which a student would receive a certificate from a provider, and a series of those contracts could define a full degree program. As these students’ progress toward degree fulfillment, their blockchain records could be tracked automatically and shared in real time with potential employers. (McArthur, 2018)

Sharples and Domingue report the University of Nicosia in Cyprus as the first university in the world to issue academic certificates with authenticity verification through the Bitcoin blockchain (2016). Authenticity verification could be within a single institution such as the reported case of Holburton School in San Francisco that uses an intra-institutional blockchain for authentication of certificates as well as among a consortium of education institutions (Clark, 2016).

Furthermore, a national blockchain database of academic credentials could be created at different levels of education. Referring to a sizable international effort to lower barriers in favor of the global mobility of students and academics in the past two decades, Gatteschi and collaborators (2020) point out that blockchain technology could greatly contribute to a more effective and efficient recognition and management of certification and accreditation.

Due to its immutability, transparency, and trustworthiness, blockchain technology can not only radically curtail degree frauds (Chen et al., 2018) but also monitor the mobility of students, educators and professionals. Examples of such initiatives: the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and ASEAN + 3 (China, Japan and South Korea)

2. Blockchain in Education Administration (Smart Contracts, Credit Transfer, continuing professional development):

There have been many researches as for proper learning and teaching, which is the main mission of education. In 2016, a Japanese technology company (Sony Global Education) claimed to have successfully adapted blockchain technology to enable “open and secure sharing of academic proficiency and progress records”.

An area of education that could potentially benefit the most from blockchain technology is learner evaluation and assessment (Clark, 2016). Here, students are the Nodes of a blockchain; their individual performance as well as peer evaluation of individual contribution to the group work in the context of collaborative learning, could be fairer, more efficient and safely stored (Chen et al., 2018).


3.Blockchain in Education Administration (Smart Contracts, Credit Transfer, continuing professional development):

Education is not just about imparting already existing knowledge but also aim to create knowledge by indulging in extensive research on different topics from different point of views.
Professors devote a significant portion of their time to conducting original research and publishing their findings, pushing the frontiers of their fields and revealing study topics that will take us into the future. Importantly, the reach and impact of those papers can have an impact on academics’ capacity to acquire major funding to support future research. Authors have a vested interest in keeping track of how their work is utilized and preventing flagrant piracy. Plagiarism in the academic community is a severe issue. When a research paper is copied or stolen, a lifetime’s worth of labor can be lost. Low grades may stem from an assignment that was stolen. Blockchain-based solutions can be used to regulate how copyrighted content is distributed online. Plagiarism in the academic community is a severe issue. When a research paper is copied or stolen, a lifetime’s worth of labor can be lost. Low grades may stem from an assignment that was stolen. Blockchain-based solutions can be used to regulate how copyrighted content is distributed online.

Blockchain technology can be used to add ID stamps to published materials, protecting ownership rights for both creators and publishers. Blockchain can also support the expansion of digital property management, allowing readers to share digital copies of created works as they would with physical books and magazines.
In the peer-review process, blockchain can be used to provide transparency about the input of authors, editors, and peer reviewers for any submission. Once the paper has been approved and moves through the publishing process, submitting authors have a clear indication of the status at all steps of the process until publication.


 Blockchain with its distributed datasets certainly promises greater efficiency and control over educational administration and management. However, its real life application is almost exclusively reduced to identity authentication, degree certification attesting and a few cases of cryptocurrency-mediated monetary transactions in terms of school fees and donations. Two main causes of this lagging adoption rate of blockchain in education are the technical and philosophical constraints.

Technically, blockchain is yet to be adopted by the mainstream industries due to its scalability issues and still limited technical familiarity and skills (Gatteschi et al., 2020). The phenomenon of an even smaller number of applications in education is, due to the problem of proof-of-work (data Mining), that is, the complex consensus mechanism for the verification of new blocks. Which requires high speed and high energy-consuming processing and computing power. The greater is the size of a blockchain, the bigger and more costly its proof-of-work (mining) gets.


Philosophically, existing education blockchain usages tend to be excessively pragmatic in trying to give solutions to a limited range of administrative and managerial tasks, and within an institution or within small syndicate of institutions at most. More glaringly, education blockchain lacks a robust and global philosophy of education aligned with sustainable development and not just for sake of being “Tech-based Education”.


The Blockchain technology requires a cooperative-common sort of education where resources are shared for collaborative and sustainable development might be more salutary for our common future, and it should be not only for the global metropoles but for all open societies.

To conclude, blockchain in and for education is a plausible forecast of an upcoming all–encompassing mega transformation yet, as a technology, it is subject to the principle of magnification and reduction, that is, “For every enhancement of some feature, perhaps never before seen, there is also a reduction of other features” (Ihde, 1993).


Chen, G., Xu, B., Lu, M., & Chen, N.-S. (2018). Exploring Blockchain technology and its potential applications for education. Smart Learning Environments, 5(1), 1-10.


Clark, D. (2016). 10 ways Blockchain could be used in education Retrieved from

Gatteschi, V., Lamberti, F., & Demartini, C. (2020). Blockchain technology use cases. In S. Kim & G. C. Deka (Eds.), Advanced applications of Blockchain technology (pp. 91–114). Singapore: Springer.


Ihde, D. (1993). Philosophy of technology: An introduction (1st ed.). New York: Paragon House.


McArthur, D. (2018). Will blockchains revolutionize education. Educause Review. Retrieved from


Park, J. Promises and challenges of Blockchain in education. Smart Learn. Environ. 8, 33 (2021).


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