Blockcerts for ARO and DSTO
Empowering our Community for Positive Change

Blockcerts for ARO and DSTO

Blockcerts for ARO and DSTO

Blockcerts for ARO and DSTO

This project utilizes the blockchain technology for student confirmations, verification of certifications and student CVs. By registering on the blockchain server, the documents are cryptographically signed, tamper-proof, and shareable. This will be an alternative “opt-in” service in addition to the current service.

SDG Goal 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

What is the problem this project is trying to address?

Digital certificates or transcripts need to be protected from alternately forged documents. To protect these documents, current technology requires authentication either manually or via an on-line site from issuing institutions. In fact, traditional certificates in printed format must be authenticated, using conventional methods – graduates must make a request and pay the institutions for reissuing more copies. This process is not only bothersome in terms of time for graduates and employers, but also harmful for the environment with great amounts of printed papers.

Blockcerts is an “open standard for creating, issuing, viewing, and verifying blockchain-based certificates.” Initially designed by MIT Media Lab and Learning Machine, this application is easily accessible for everyone to issue an online-verified document. To understand this application, we need to understand more about blockchain technology. Blockchain is a chain of blocks that are closely interconnected with information. As every block contains an information of the previous block, known as ‘hash’, this technology is error-prone and secure against third party hackers. Hence, digital certificates employing blockchain technology enable a third party such as an employer to verify the authenticity of the certificate easily, quickly and free of charge on the blockchain without contacting the issuing institution. The content of the official documents is saved in an electronic file in JSON format which can be verified and viewed (PDF/HTML format) at the HKUST official website:

How does this project support our sustainable smart campus as a living lab vision?

The main goal of this SSC project is to enable students to own and control the sharing of digital versions of all documents relating to their studies at HKUST in an accessible, secure, verified format. Blockcerts project efficiently utilizes blockchain technology to reduce the consumption of paper significantly, as a first step towards our vision of a “paper-free campus.” Thus, this technology eliminates the process of visiting the institute and issuing a verified document by hand, thereby creating a convenient, smart, and sustainable community. The approach will save time and resources by cutting the verification process down to a matter of minutes.

What's next?

The ARO has launched the information and verification webpage and issued Award Certification Letters in electronic format since August 2019.

This project is targeted to launch the co-issuing of paper /electronic verifiable copies of transcripts, certificates (degree diplomas) and award certification letters to all graduates in 2020.