ESCP Business School Provides Tamper-proof Graduation Certificates Based on Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology is making its way into the higher education landscape, combating reputational damage and making the lives of recruiters and headhunters easier.

ESCP is committed to continuously improving the student journey thanks to the development of new technologies

As of 2019, ESCP has offered a paperless service for diplomas and certificates, in collaboration with BCdiploma. Taking a step further to ensure the security of our diplomas, ESCP announced at the start of 2022 that all students entering our 27 specialised master's programmes benefit from a diploma certified with blockchain technology. More than 700 alumni now have access to a digital and forgery-proof version of their diploma.

This project fits perfectly with our strategic focus on expanding the services provided to our graduates, in this case offering forgery-proof diplomas that can be easily verified by recruiters.

Prof. Léon Laulusa - Executive Vice-President -  - Dean for Academic and International Affairs- ESCP— Prof. Léon Laulusa, Executive Vice-President Dean for Academic and International Affairs

As blockchain technology evolves so do new opportunities to ensure the security of our student’s diplomas

Non Fungible Tokens or NFT for short are widely equated with digital art in the blockchain community. Speculation with NFTs has received some attention in recent years. However, NFTs have come under criticism caused by the technology, emerging fraud cases, and accusations of being a pyramid or Ponzi scheme, among other things. However, the technology behind it can also be used in other ways.

A Non-Fungible Token is a “cryptographically unique, indivisible, irreplaceable, and verifiable token that represents a specific item, whether digital or physical, in a blockchain.” While NFTs use the same technology with the blockchain as cryptocurrencies, unlike the latter they are unique and non-divisible. An NFT can only be purchased as a whole and exists only once.

Based on this, there are various exciting use cases that we have elicited and tested with our students as part of the lecture,” says Dr. Marcus Schmalbach, professor at ESCP Berlin for blockchain topics.

Research by students found that 500,000 people in the U.S. alone hold fake degrees and 40 percent of people lie in their resumes.

Time and again, you read in the news about practicing doctors with fake degrees, doctors who never completed a doctorate, or supposedly elite business school graduates who never attended. This is a real problem for institutions like ESCP, but also for HR managers of companies or headhunters who have to accept reputational damage due to fake diplomas. These times should now be over.

Together with the Blockchain Programer Simon Kolkmann, Schmalbach and various students have joined forces and developed a prototype, Valetheia. “Our company is named after Aletheia, the Greek Goddess of truth. We added a ‘V’ to emphasize the purpose of our business. To validate the originality of diplomas and other certificates by using the blockchain technology”, CTO Kolkmann says

It is wonderful to find such open-minded and innovative decision makers at ESCP”, says Schmalbach. Sven Scheid, Director Executive Education at ESCP Business School, was very receptive of our idea, and it is our pleasure to announce that he and his team have made it possible for the Executive Master in Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurial Leadership (EMDIEL) graduating class of 2022 to be among the first graduates with a QR code on their certificate that allows external parties to validate the accuracy of the certificate within seconds.

This cooperation is a wonderful example of the innovation potential of ESCP’s entrepreneurial ecosystem”,says Prof. René Mauer, European Director of the Jean-Baptiste Say Institute for Entrepreneurship. “A venture idea coming from a course, developed by researchers and experts from our community with the support of the school is exactly what we want to encourage.”

Prof. Véronique Tran, rector of ESCP Business School’s Berlin campus, underlines the importance of unforgeable certificates: “People forging certificates are not sharing the values of our school. It is great that together with Valetheia we found a technical solution to prevent abuse of our brand.