From ePortfolios to OpenLedgers — via OpenBadges and BlockChains

  • Each piece of evidence that will be submitted to get a badge is recorded in the ledger
  • When all the criteria are covered by sufficient evidence (produced over time in a range of different contexts, etc.) the candidate claims the badge
  • When the assessor is satisfied with the quality of the evidence produced, a new entry is added to the ledger (as representation of the badge).
  • issuing a badge: add an entry to the ledger
  • endorsing a badge: add a BitofTrust to the account associated with the entry
  • revoking a badge: erase an entry in the ledger

We pack a lot of meaning into [the] open badges federation, what we really mean is “distributed badge storage that gives users choice and opportunity to be discovered for their achievements.” Federation means more backpacks, more user choice and more user benefit. (Chris McAvoy, 2014, source)

A Personal Ledger is the record of the trust bonds we have established within the community. I can endorse a plumber or an electrician who can endorse me as a good client. Personal Ledgers could be used by the self-employed and voluntary workers to build their professional and social reputation.

  • The blockchain is the taxonomy: each time a badge is issued, it makes reference to criteria. Now imagine that when a new badge is created, through the user interface, the creator has access to all the vocabulary already used in previous blockchains. This could seriously reduce the number of redundant criteria and badges by displaying all the existing badges using a particular criterion group of criteria.
  • The blockchain is open knowledge: imagine that someone creates a new badge describing emerging competencies related to new knowledge, e.g. data scientist, this could be valuable information for training bodies and employers.
  • From search to discovery: with blockchains it should be easy to find all the people sharing the same badge (or collection of badges) while ensuring full anonymity. For example, someone willing to quit drinking could claim an AA badge in order to be discovered by the local chapter or another local AA badge holder.
  • What body should be responsible for creating and maintaining this new infrastructure? The Badge Alliance is fit to maintain a standard, which is about documentation. With a blockchain infrastructure the business model would have to include software development and maintenance, scalable servers deployment etc. A whole new ballgame!
  • What will happen to the legacy system? It should not be too difficult to write a programme transforming “pictures with metadata” into “Personal Ledger entries”…
  • What consequences for existing businesses (issuing platforms) and what new businesses could emerge?




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Serge Ravet

Serge Ravet

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