The New Blockcerts Mobile App
Self-Sovereign Identity just got easier.
Learning Machine is proud to introduce the new Blockcerts Wallet mobile app (iOS/Android) for people to easily receive, store, and share their official records. These might include electronic IDs, academic records, workforce training, or even civic records.
Blockcerts is the open standard for how to create, anchor, and verify records using any blockchain in a format that is recipient owned and that has no ongoing dependency upon any vendor or issuer. This is what we mean by Self-Sovereign Identity, the ability for people to control their own identity records without paying rent to central authorities for transmission or verification. Instead, people can receive their records once, then share them online or directly with third parties like employers whenever needed. Even if vendors or institutions cease to exist, people never lose the ability to use their official records and prove their identity.
Blockcerts are recipient owned, meaning that the app produces the public/private key pairs that are necessary to demonstrate ownership of records. Since most people don’t fully understand the technology behind these concepts, it is paramount that the app be educational and that the entire process be easy to use. The new version of this app includes the following usability improvements:
- More explicit onboarding screens and instructions
- More convenient options for backing up the passphrase
- Native face ID (iOS) to view chosen passphrase
- More colorful palette
- Larger tap-targets, like the list of issuers
- Subtle transitions and animations for friendlier experience
- Better performance within low bandwidth situations
- and more …
The Blockcerts Wallet is positioned to be a lifelong portfolio of official records, a personal repository from across disparate institutions in one convenient location. This means that individuals can become their own lifelong registrar of learning and achievement. So, it’s critical that the Wallet remain free and friendly to use, with plenty of accommodation for people who may lose or transition devices.
An Overview of Blockcerts
Here’s an illustration of the issuer-initiated process for sending official records, with the mobile app at the center of the recipient’s experience.
First, an institution (issuer) must invite the recipient to download the mobile app. Next, the recipient has to accept their invitation to receive records by adding them as an issuer. This can all be accomplished with a single click, which also sends the recipient’s public key back to the issuer. The public key is a unique identifier which is inscribed into the digital records that are about to be created and sent.
To provide a more concrete visual aid, below is a screenshot of how the Learning Machine Issuing System has pulled the Blockcerts branding into email templates for inviting recipients to receive official records. For those projects and vendors that decide to use the Blockcerts app without modification, we are sharing this as a best-of-breed example for how to keep the entire process consistent for recipients by including the Blockcerts branding through email touchpoints.
At the top, the issuing institution’s name is included to inform the recipient who is trying to issue records.
The next step is to send the recipient to the iOS or Android app store with a single click, so they can download the app.
Once they have the app, they can return to this email and add the issuer by clicking the green button at the bottom. This populates a one-time code for adding the issuer, which is a security precaution against leaked emails being abused.
Additional security measures can be added as well. For instance, MIT added an additional authentication layer. To successfully add MIT as an issuer, students must also enter their MIT Campus credentials into their student ID system called Touchstone. This is a great example of the fundamental flexibility of Blockcerts to support how institutions establish the identity of their recipients.
We’re excited that the Blockcerts standard and mobile app are gaining such deep traction across education, industry, and government — and for the additional features that are to come.
For those interested in learning more about Blockcerts from a recipient’s point of view, here is a short video:
Additional reading about Self-Sovereign Identity:
Self-sovereignty isn’t automatic; it must be explicitly architected into any blockchain-based social infrastructure.medium.com