Blockchain is all the buzz in the tech industry right now. Nearly every major corporation is eyeing blockchain for prospective use cases and realizing its disruptive potential.
But what exactly is blockchain? Simply put, blockchain is a distributed, public ledger that maintains a continuously growing list of verified, time-stamped transactions recorded on what are known as blocks. A block contains the hash (like a digital fingerprint) of the transactions recorded on that block, as well as the hash of a previous block, forming a chain — hence the name blockchain.
The blockchain ecosystem is entirely decentralized and comprises nodes (computers) that verify transactions, each with its own copy of the blockchain. Because no centralized version of the information exists, and only the hash of a transaction is recorded on the blockchain, the information can’t be altered — i.e. it’s not vulnerable to hackers — records are easily verifiable, and sensitive information is protected.
As part of its ongoing innovation around blockchain, the SAP Innovation Center Network have introduced TrueRec, a secure and trusted digital wallet for storing professional and academic credentials.
These credentials could include anything from IDs, such as passport, driver’s license, or voter ID, to educational credentials like university degrees and employment certificates.
As most of you know, credentials are not always easy to verify. They can be easily faked, stolen or lost, and are tedious to authenticate. A pilot, for instance, has to frequently authenticate their license, or a prospective employer has to initiate lengthy background checks to verify a candidate’s credentials.
In a world where identity theft is a very real threat, TrueRec, one of SAP’s first blockchain applications, allows users to maintain sole ownership of their information, easily prove the legitimacy of credentials, collect them in one central location, and securely share them with anyone.
Whenever a new credential or document is issued through TrueRec, the user receives the credential as a TRU file and the digital fingerprint (hash) of the credential is recorded on the blockchain. This ensures that the privacy of the individual is protected because the credential itself isn’t stored on the blockchain. At the same time, with the blockchain as the single source of truth, anyone can instantly verify the validity of the credential upon receiving the same from the user.
TrueRec also does not store the certificate; you’re free to store it wherever you like, for example, on your phone. You can view the TRU file in the TrueRec app and easily share it from the app with your current employer, other institutions, or whomever you choose — anytime, anywhere. They can verify your credentials by simply comparing the documents with the hash on the blockchain.
TrueRec is powered by Ethereum, an open-source, public, blockchain-based distributed computing platform that features smart contract (scripting) functionality, which facilitates online contractual agreements.
TrueRec was recently made available to anyone enrolled in the “Touch IoT course for SAP Leonardo” offered by openSAP, an online learning platform and provider of massive open online courses (MOOCs). Over 4500 students currently enrolled in the ”Touch IoT” course will receive and can manage their certification for the course through TrueRec.
TrueRec by SAP is just one more example of SAP’s ongoing work toward unlocking the full potential of blockchain. The SAP Innovation Center Network is excited to continue pushing the boundaries of this groundbreaking technology.