Today PwC announced its new “Smart Credentials” blockchain platform. It enables individuals to take control over their qualifications and share them with those they trust. From an employer perspective the ability to verify credentials adds credibility. PwC Research found that 37% of “bad hires” are the result of skill or credential misrepresentation.
Just yesterday Fujitsu and Sony launched a blockchain trial because foreign staff hires often have Japanese language skills which are weaker than the proficiency certificates provided.
As a trial of the Smart Credentials solution, PwC staff who qualified in the past two years with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) are sharing credentials using blockchain.
Talking to different clients, for PwC credentialing emerged as a common use case. “We’re seeing high demand for verified, trusted and irrefutable identities from many different types of organisations, but a common challenge for employers is ensuring that an applicant holds the credentials listed on their CV,” said Steve Davies, global blockchain leader at PwC.
He noted that with blockchain “no one party has central ownership, so individuals get more control over their personal data. In this first project with ICAS, the data is a Chartered Accountant certificate. But you can also see the potential in any case where credentials are earned and continually updated – such as medical professionals, pilots or safety engineers.”
In many ways credentialing is a sensible match for PwC. “It’s a good example of where blockchain helps us in the trust agenda. And that’s close to our brand and what we’re about in the marketplace,” said Davies.
ICAS CEO Bruce Cartwright commented that “the technology allows instant verification of their credentials, putting an end to the back-and-forth involved in establishing good standing and ensuring our members can get on with their jobs.”
There’s also a bigger picture aspect. Davies commented: “My experience for those in the blockchain space, over the last couple of years we may have lept all the way to the end of what the ultimate use case is. And I think there’s merit in doing something that’s more fundamental, people can grasp quickly, and then building off the back of it.”
PwC’s application would be considered as self sovereign identity. There are several technology players in the sector including Sovrin and uPort. PwC have created their own solution on a permissioned version of Ethereum.
Credentialing is a high priority blockchain application. Examples include in the US verifying qualifications of foreign nurses and in Switzerland ensuring railway construction workers have appropriate certificates.
In the US health insurance sector, medical credentialing is an industry in its own right and there are already at least three blockchain projects. The Synaptic Health Alliance has some of the biggest US insurers including Humana, UnitedHealth, Aetna and Ascension. ProCredEx, a Hashed Health initiative, approaches credentialing from the hospital angle so it’s not competitive with Synaptic. And IBM recently announced a health consortium which plans to target credentialing.
The article has been updated with additional quotes and Ethereum as the technology.