California State University, Los Angeles , California
April 4, 2019
April 4, 2019
April 6, 2019
Pacific Southwest Section Meeting Paper Submissions
The concept of blockchains started around 2008 with Bitcoin, which is a cryptocurrency. More recently, the application of Blockchains has been expanded well beyond cryptocurrency. As part of a capstone project for the Master of Science in Computer Science, a Blockchain that holds student transcript information and/or diplomas was created. The information is stored in a digital format that is immutable and can be retrieved easily by any authorized student, faculty, or interested third party. Having immutable records in a digital blockchain format allows students to have an official record that cannot be changed yet be publicly available for authorized viewers, satisfying the need for secure communication channels. This is beneficial for the student, the university, and any prospective employers. Creating and storing records in this way also ensures the digital transcripts and diplomas cannot be altered in any way. Additionally, Blockscripts provides non-repudiation and a more secure platform for storing transcripts due to the nature of decentralized data storage. As such, if one node in the blockchain network goes offline, other nodes in the network will persist and maintain accurate copies of the transcript ledger data. This also negates the risk associated with a data center, especially in regard to disaster recovery (i.e. fires or earthquakes) which could potentially have the capacity to destroy localized data. Another benefit to be realized from storing transcripts and diplomas on a blockchain is the processing time saved. Time is saved for the person requesting the transcript, the registrar's office producing it, and the third party receiving the transcript. In many universities, a transcript request can take up to three weeks to be fulfilled; by using blockchain technology it is likely that requesting parties can receive a requested transcript the same day. A user interface (UI) has been created that allows a student to request his/her transcript to be viewed by a particular entity. Blockscripts also enables agencies or universities to verify a degree or degrees that may be held by a particular student or graduate. The student’s transcripts/original data is owned and initially published to a blockchain by the university they attended. It is made viewable by encrypting with either the student’s public key or the public key of a third party; the student is able to decrypt his/her data with their private key and a third party is able to decrypt the transcript data with their private key. This ensures that the transcript will be publicly available, yet the contents will remain private and available only to authorized parties. If the student wants to send their transcripts to someone else, they include those parties’ public keys in the transcript request. Each transcript request can include a fixed fee for processing; the university administration can take a portion while the validating network node (miner) takes the remainder for providing the service of validation, data storage, and transmission costs.
Uhlig, R. P., & Yonts, R., & Cashman, B. W., & Clark, R. S., & Nieman, B. (2019, April), BLOCKSCRIPTS -- A BLOCKCHAIN SYSTEM FOR UNIVERSITY TRANSCRIPTS Paper presented at 2019 Pacific Southwest Section Meeting, California State University, Los Angeles , California. https://peer.asee.org/31816
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