On 20 September 2020, Etisalat Digital, the digital arm of UAE telecommunications firm Etisalat, announced its partnership with technology services firm Smartworld for a blockchain-based credential solution. The solution, Shahada, is targeted towards educational institutions in the UAE. Smartworld itself is a joint venture between Etisalat and Dubai South, a project aiming to create a self-sustained city around the Dubai airport.
Launched this February by Smartworld and blockchain firm Grape Technology, Shahada is a SaaS blockchain-based solution that creates, stores, and verifies academic credentials through a web platform and app. It aims to bring those involved in the UAE education sector together in one platform, while also allowing the government to certify credentials that are issued internationally. Education institutions of all levels will be able to issue credentials, securely preventing paper certificate forgery. Students can share these credentials with third parties who can verify their authenticity. Etisalat Digital’s role is to help Shahada with its infrastructure, operational competences, and market reach.
Smartworld has previously delved into EduTech, partnering with UAE’s Higher Colleges of Technology for a blockchain-based e-credential solution in July 2020. With the platform, alumni of the colleges could access their documents and qualifications. Employers and third parties could then verify these.
Last July, Etisalat, a member of the global Carrier Blockchain Study Group, announced their blockchain trade finance platform to digitize trade in the UAE. The platform doesn’t just leverage blockchain, but also AI, machine learning, and robotics.
Blockchain solutions for credentials in EduTech are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. too. Earlier this year, the American Council for Education announced it received funding from the U.S. Department of Education to explore the use of blockchain in education. In particular, to explore how to use credentials to share data amongst education institutions, students, and employers. Three months later, the University of North Texas adopted Greenlight Credentials’ blockchain platform, enabling students to store and share their academic records with entities worldwide. Leading blockchain-solutions provider IBM has also launched a blockchain credentials platform for academic and professional qualifications.