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How Does Blockchain Secure Digital Credentials?

Blockchain security can be a tricky subject to understand and is often questioned in terms of transparency and safety of data. 

In simplest terms, a blockchain is a type of database that stores transactional information. Similar to the way a spreadsheet can be managed by a group of people from a central location, blockchain records are stored across a wide-spread network of computers, individually known as nodes.

However, unlike a spreadsheet, once a transaction has been recorded to a blockchain it cannot be amended or deleted. This prevents spoofed data from being recorded or implemented by simultaneously cross-comparing the information across all the other nodes. If the match fails, the node that tried to submit this information is then blocked from the network entirely. 

Additionally, the decentralized nature of blockchain technology implies that records are fully transparent. Anyone can view the transactions that have been recorded to a blockchain using a blockchain explorer or via a personal node. Digital credentials written to the blockchain have their information encrypted, preventing visibility and extraction of data without prior consent from the owner. This ensures that while the recorded transaction is always visible and can be easily verified, there is no risk to recipient information.

How does blockchain provide security to digital credentials?

When a digital credential is awarded to an individual, this is a type of transaction. An organization gives a certificate to an individual upon completing a specific task. The details of this transaction can be recorded to the blockchain for additional security against fraud, removal, or unauthorized amendments. 

Unlike a traditional ledger which stands alone and is physically maintained, the transaction recorded to the blockchain is written to all the nodes within the network once it is authenticated and authorized. In August 2020, the number of secure servers hosting a full copy of the blockchain (known as full or super nodes) numbered over 10,000. This doesn’t include the nodes that contain a partial record of the blockchain, known as light nodes, which together with full/super nodes number over 100,000. 

A node is any device that is connected to the internet including servers, phones, personal computers, IP webcams, etc. For full/super nodes to store blockchain records, they require lots of available storage as a complete copy of the blockchain ledger is estimated at over 200GB in size. 

How does blockchain improve security?

To provide security, transactions recorded on the blockchain are written to over 100,000 digital ledgers (nodes), but how does blockchain improve security? By utilizing the decentralized nature of these nodes. They act as independent ledgers. If someone attempts to amend, remove, or falsify a record on the blockchain, they simultaneously need to hack or gain access to the majority of nodes that hold a copy of the blockchain. This is equivalent to hacking over 100,000 banks all over the world at the same time. 

Transactions are only written to the blockchain if the majority of nodes agree that the transaction is valid. This is known as consensus. Node owners are incentivized to authenticate and authorize a transaction by way of reward (cryptocurrency). This process is called the ‘proof of work’. In regard to security in blockchain for credentials, it is an assurance against individuals attempting to fraudulently record their own credentials on behalf of an issuer. 

Credentials delivered in higher education are high-stakes and without a trusted method of verification can cost recipients job and education opportunities. 

Blockchain-secured credentials provide security and an always-available method of verification. This means if the issuing school, college, or university closes, the digital credentials are still live, valid, and can be verified. But how does blockchain keep data secure?

Data that is written to the blockchain is encrypted in the same way most data is encrypted – using a public and private key or an encryption algorithm and an encryption key. This process takes plain text such as the sentence ‘his name is Harold’ and makes it unreadable except for those with the correct decryption key. 

Transactions that are recorded on the blockchain are completely transparent and available for anyone to see. It is the data within these transactions that can only be viewed when authorized by the involved parties, i.e. the issuing body and the recipient. 

In Summary

What is digital credential blockchain security? 

Once issued, digital credentials are written to the blockchain where they are protected against amendment, removal, or falsifying of information. 

How does blockchain improve the security of digital credentials? 

Blockchain security comes from the decentralization of ‘digital ledgers’ known as nodes that store copies of the blockchain. The information stored on the blockchain can only be amended if the majority of nodes are changed simultaneously – the equivalent of hacking over 100,000 banks at the same time. 

How does blockchain security protect private data? 

The digital credential data stored within the recorded transaction is encrypted against unauthorized access, ensuring the protection of personal data. The encrypted data is accessible but only when authorized by the owners of the data, in the example of credentials, this is the issuing body and the recipient. 

How does Hyperstack store credentials?

Hyperstack automates the generation of digital certificates, badges, and credentials and validates the authenticity of the credentials on the blockchain. Hedera Hashgraph is an advanced enterprise Blockchain infrastructure that enables the no-trust authenticity requirements for Hyperstack. 

How does a blockchain record get verified?

When clicking the ‘verify’ button on a blockchain credential, the Accredible platform compares the number generated on the live credential to the number previously written to the blockchain when the credential was first created. 

Using Hyperstack’s platform, digital credentials can be written to the blockchain with the click of a button, there is no extra fee, and no additional work is required to provide extra security for digital certificates and digital badges. 

Looking for a way to provide your organization with secure, authentic and customizable digital credentials? You found us just in time. 

Join Hyperstack and create your first credential in as little as 15 minutes, and start your digital journey today!

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