Official records — birth certificates, academic records, professional licenses, and more — form the legal basis of who we are and what we have accomplished. Despite the critical role they play in our lives, legacy practices for creating, storing, transmitting, and verifying these records is sorely out of date, resulting in unnecessary time, expense, and sometimes even catastrophic loss.
It’s time for a change. The maturity of the web, mobile, and now blockchain networks have come together to make it possible for people to own their official records in a digital format that can be shared peer-to-peer and instantly verified anywhere in the world.
Creating a new normal for official records that contain all of the convenience we expect is going to require effort on multiple fronts, including standards bodies, open source communities, and commercial offerings that make everything easy to deploy. So today, Learning Machine is excited to announce that we’ve raised funding with strategic partners to bring about this new reality.
Learning Machine was incubated within a previous company specializing in university admissions software. During that time, we saw firsthand the wasted time and expense of trying to get official records in place and validated. So, we began collaborating with the MIT Media Lab on an open source project that illustrated how to anchor digital records on a blockchain. Using the blockchain means that a decentralized network with APIs can provide reliable verification of any record’s authenticity in place of expensive middlemen or central authorities. Blockcerts was launched at the end of 2016 as an example of a technical standard aligned with other standards to ensure the approach to this new type of record wasn’t proprietary.
We deeply believe that digital records belong to those who have earned them and should have no ongoing dependence upon any vendor or the original issuer.
After Blockcerts was released, Learning Machine used 2017 to develop enterprise software for governments, companies, and school systems to easily deploy records anchored to any blockchain in a way that is standards compliant. The system is intended to work across any market that contributes to records of identity, learning, or achievement. With this approach, we empower individuals to become their own lifelong registrar of official records, which together form the basis for legal identity.
We’re excited to announce that Learning Machine Technologies, Inc. has raised a $3M funding round to expand our product and service teams to more rapidly enable institutions to issue official records in this new digital format.
The round was led by PTB Ventures, and joined by Omidyar Network and Learn Capital, all of whom share our vision and validate our current progress. We are excited to have such enthusiastic partners who will be instrumental in helping us to grow both internally and through the strategic relationships so critical for social adoption.
Learning Machine is working to expand its commercial offering for issuers of official records to support identity documents like electronic IDs, transcripts and stackable certificates for academic records, as well as various types of civic records.
We believe this future of recipient-owned records depends on issuers having convenient software for creating and issuing these records, paired with mobile apps for recipients with beautiful design and simple usability.