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Taiwanese blockchain startup Turing Certs enters European campus, students can expect to receive blockchain diplomas

Aimee Wu 2021/07/14
 圖靈鏈wu6je/
圖靈鏈wu6je/

Turing Certs issued the first blockchain diploma with National Tsinghua University, one of Taiwan's top-tier universities. With eyes set on the global market, Turing Certs is currently undergoing proof of concept (POC) with European University, meaning that they are testing product feasibility in the European market.

Imagine on the day you receive your diploma, or the day you finally pass the test to become a certified barista. Imprinted on a piece of paper is your name and your new earned title. The problems with paperback certification are twofold. Firstly, they are easily lost. Second, they are prone to forgery. Blockchain certification erases these problems with its non-tamperable characteristics, preventing possible fraudulent behavior.

Eyeing the EU market

Turing Certs founder Jeff Hu and Andreas Harpas, Community Manager at Pundix 365.

Turing Certs has reached an official collaboration with Pundi X 365, a technology company based in Cyprus to deliver tamper-proof digital blockchain credentials to local universities and government agencies. There are a few enhancements on the service such as GDPR compliance and Europass relevant ID standard to enter the European market. With this collaboration, Turing Certs has planned to serve an Erasmus+ (EU's programme) project with their volunteering certificates and the official diploma for universities in Europe, influencing thousands of European students, together with Pundi X 365.

Jeff Hu, founder of Turing Certs, received his master of engineering degree from UC Berkeley. Starting from his college years at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Jeff is a serial entrepreneur, experimenting in fields such as travel websites and e-commerce platforms. While applying for a master’s degree at Berkeley, Jeff found that providing academic records and certification for the school is a pain in the neck, which gave him the inspiration of blockchain based certificates.

Turing Certs blockchain-based diploma

Blockchain technology allows certificates to be preserved forever, safe from any kind of tampering. However, to comply with the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Turing Certs has made several adjustments to ensure “the right to erasure”, also known as the right to be forgotten. It might seem contradictory to blockchain’s attribute, but it must be managed if Turing Certs were to provide services across the EU market.

There are three ways to pursue the right of erasure:

  1. Data is completely erased from hardware. However, as the delete action is recorded, data is not completely erased in this case.

  2. Links pertaining to data are disabled, in other words, data is still out there but won’t be found

  3. Data is encrypted, and the key to data is discarded to avoid any access.

Turing Certs adopts the third method. “ Ensuring the right to erasure enables us to collaborate with universities in the EU market,” said Jeff.

As Taiwanese market is relatively small, expanding to other countries is a must-take lucrative step for Turing Certs. Aside from providing services to public schools and the government, Turing Certs is also extending support to private institutions. Such as Alpha Camp and StanCODE, two coding education platforms in Taiwan. “Value creation for private institutions sustain our main revenue source,” said Jeff.

Blockchain certificates cut down on costs and enhances credibility

Turing Certs issued the first blockchain diploma with National Tsinghua University, one of Taiwan’s top-tier universities.

In the traditional way, students have to show up in person to retrieve their diplomas or other certificates. This brings about long lead time and causes much trouble for school staff, as students tend to forget to pick up their certificates. Jeff Hu gave a detailed description of how the old and inefficient way works, “First, templates are chosen. Next, PDF files are sent to printing factories. To prevent forgery, the files must be deleted on-site, monitored by a member staff of the school. Then comes the distribution process, which is very troublesome. In case some students forget to pick up their diplomas, the staff have to mail it to them.”

Blockchain-based diplomas cost roughly the same as paperback certificates. However, as blockchain-based diplomas have lower error rates and require less personnel to complete the work, they are more cost and time efficient from the bigger picture. “We aim to serve students and universities. Fees are paid by schools, and students can enjoy the benefits for free or under a freemium model,” said Jeff.

The global trend of blockchain certification

Yiwei Lin, Turing Certs' business representative of Singapore, said “In the future, digital ID verification will be implemented in our day to day life.” For example, OpenCerts, a blockchain certification service company based in Singapore, offers universities and high schools to upload their transcripts and diplomas to blockchain. To avoid head-on contests in Singapore, Jeff said they would consider providing services for professional certification, bypassing diploma and transcript services that OpenCerts has already established full advantage.

In Penang, Malaysia, TurinCerts is working closely with the government to provide digital ID based on blockchain technology. The project is in line with the Penang government’s initiative “Digital Penang”, part of which aims to digitize citizen ID data, which used to be stored in archives, subject to decay and theft. Southeast Asia market is rather a blockchain certification virginland, met with rising digitization demand from governments, Turing Certs is orchestrating marketing strategies to launch in Malaysia and the Philippines.

Having worked with school and government officials from a host of countries, Jeff said that the most valuable experience is learning to cater to cultural differences while maintaining one’s own principles. “We are contemplating our Pre-A funding round. In Q2 2022, we will be pushing for global expansion,” said Jeff.

TAGS: mdi-pound Blockchain
About the Author
Aimee Wu
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Aimee Wu is a journalist and business news translator with a keen interest in sharing innovative technologies developed by Taiwan-based companies. She is pursuing a master’s degree in translation and interpretation at National Taiwan University.

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