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Digital Recognition Networks – Architecture for Scotland’s Digital Economy

Defining a Self Sovereign Identity and Blockchain-based system for recognizing academic credentials across Education and Employment.

Through technologies like the Blockchain and Self Sovereign Identity (SSI), all aspects of how our currently paper-based economy works will be digitized, forming Scotland’s Digital Economy.

For example consider key documents like your passport, birth certificate and drivers licence. Most likely you have these in paper form, and for processes like opening a bank account, you must physically present these documents.

Digitizing these documents and the processes that call upon them are the building blocks for creating a digital economy.

Digital Recognition Networks

The idea of a ‘Common Blockchain‘ is a single platform that enables multiple applications for multiple industries and use cases.

Similarly the core dynamic of SSI is one of multiple organizations sharing identity data, known as credentials, hence why a Scottish credential sharing network is a key objective.

In his blog Amit Jasuja explains the core mechanics of this and how multiple organizations can share digital identity services, an ecosystem of ‘relying’ and ‘issuing’ parties.

Another great way of describing this ecosystem is “Digital Recognition Networks” – The ecosystem will be formed through organizations establishing agreements to share data and recognize the digital credentials of partners they work with to fulfill these processes, like opening a bank account.

Writing for the CPHR Terrahub explains the principle through exploring an excellent use case of how this will take shape and the economic benefits it will bring: Education and Employment.

“In a recognition network, skills and credentials are represented by digital badges that organizations use for achievement and an employee can us for permanent external branding during or post-employment.

As brands move global and geographical boundaries dissolve, these recognition networks enable talent to shift and move without having to re-qualify their competency, eliminating frustration for the employee, and inefficiency for the employer by getting the right people to work fast.”

Education and Employment is a great scenario as the core components are easily understood: The credential – Your academic qualification in certificate form, and the recognition – How employers seek that qualification as a requirement for employment.

Transforming Education on the Blockchain

This also highlights the value of the Blockchain in this scenario. Via their Medium article UniversaBlockchain explore Blockchain in Education, highlighting key problems like the high rates of medical school diploma falsification.

So technology innovations like ‘Blockcerts‘ will address this, an open source blockchain project for enabling a Universal Verifier that will verify any Blockcert issued by any institution, anywhere in the world.

Countries like the Bahamas are now issuing Blockchain-based academic certificates.

Digitary is one vendor specializing in this sector, offering a suite of features for managing academic credentials and digital badges, and has teamed up with Evernym to integrate these with Self-Sovereign Identity.

As this news highlights one of the first customers to harness this capability is the Association of the Registrars of the Universities and Colleges of Canada (ARUCC),  choosing Digitary as the solution provider for the Made for Canada National Network.

This initiative means the Canadian higher education community is creating the very first online platform and national credential wallet for post-secondary learners. Once fully operational, the Network will enable 3 million learners across the country to access and share their official digitized post-secondary transcripts and credentials online – anytime, anywhere.


To examine the employment aspect we can highlight a Scottish startup: APPII.

APPII harnesses the Blockchain to enable users to build a ‘Verified CV‘, a digital resume where your credentials have been validated with the issuing organization. A powerful example of a Digital Recognition Network.

Highlighting the potential of a common platform approach to enable multiple use case solutions, they’ve also applied their technology to offer Covid-19 verified ‘Digital Health Passports’.

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