Certificates, Reputation, and the Blockchain
MIT Media Lab

I attended yesterday a meeting with people working on blockchains, and what did I discover? A number of the ideas I wanted to develop based on the Open Badge Passport (as services exploiting the content of badges metadata) were already in full development. That was some reality check! Suddenly Open Badges gained the status of a parochial technology, something educators are so good at: take the concept of a content management system (Joomla, Drupal etc.) put it into the hands of educators and you have this thingy called Moodle which is a crippled content management system. In short, (some) educators are good at spoiling good things. I’m afraid that it’s what is already happening with Open Badges. For example Mozilla recently decided to fund the improvement of the backpack (an idiosyncratic silo where Open Badges an be hosted) when the only reasonable thing to do would be to get rid of it together. In the world of blockchains, something like the backpack would sound like a ludicrous idea. In that world, we can build a bottom-up trust ecosystem without a surrogate parent. The Mozilla foundation has done great things and will continue to do so, but “improving” the backpack is just one more hurdle on the way of building badges on a general purpose technology and not something “just for educators.” Let’s move the content of our backpack into our wallet!