Cardano founders say on their website that they use scientific philosophy and research-driven approach when it comes to developing their own cryptocurrency and their blockchain projects. This is one of the reasons why Cardano has partnerships with universities all around the world and has an entire team of Ph. D. scientists working on developing the network.
On its website, Input Output Hong Kong has an entire library of scientific papers. The papers cover the Ouroboros algorithm, the treasury approach to cryptocurrency development, a study of smart contracts and more.
Cardano’s relations with academia resulted in the first use case of Cardano blockchain through a partnership with the Greek Research and Technology Network (GRNET). GRNET provides Internet service and electronic infrastructure for the scientific, educational, research and academic community of Greece. The goal of the network is to give its members full access and ability to participate in the latest scientific discoveries and research. In addition to this, GRNET creates software that helps optimize the workflow of the Greek government, including modernization of services, structures and procedures available to the public. GRNET provides support to all universities, technical education institutions, research centers and close to 10,000 schools, thus helping over a million people get better education.
Together with Cardano, GRNET is working on building a blockchain that will allow its users to verify diplomas of graduates of schools in Greece.
The Equifax hack of 2016, during which hackers were able to get access to over 140 million personal records of US, UK and Canadian residents, illustrates perfectly the issues with storage and access to highly sensitive personal information.
Today, when a person needs to provide proof of identity or credentials on the Internet or offline, he or she may be forced to share all kinds of sensitive information, and then have to trust a third party with storage and protection of this information.
History shows again and again that neither the governments nor the private organizations are doing their job well when it comes to taking care of sensitive information.
According to CNBC (source: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/05/congress-addresses-cyberwar-on-small-business-14-million-hacked.html), over 14 million small businesses in the United States had their computer systems hacked in 2015 and 2016, which is over 50% of all small businesses in the country. Big businesses also often become victims of attacks. In 2013, Target had a data breach during which hackers gained access to personal information of over 70 million people. In 2014, attackers stole from Yahoo data associated with over 500 million accounts. Many of other large corporations, including LinkedIn, Uber, and others, have also experienced breaches on a large scale.
The argument for keeping sensitive information on the blockchain is about giving users more control about what information about them is out there and about the ability to verify data while not exposing a lot of sensitive information.
The issue is similar to the issue of a cryptocurrency network being able to verify transactions from other networks. In one of their research papers, Cardano founders argue that such a verification can occur using only a short string of data, without having to access the entire blockchain.
Today, the process of verification of school credentials works in the same way all over the world: a student graduates from a school and gets a piece of paper with a seal and a signature. The data about the student becomes part of school’s database. Both the piece of paper and the database can suffer from errors and damage. There is no easy way for students to access their official records. They may be able to access a student portal and get an unofficial printout of their grades and degrees, but to get an official record they have to wait and pay.
To confirm that students have the degrees that they are claiming to have, students need to submit an official letter from a school, or an official transcript to the potential employers. This process, including storage of diplomas and collection of transcripts, is long, time-consuming and inefficient. After a student submits the documents to a potential employer, the employer also needs to contact the school to verify the credentials and information, which is also time-consuming and inefficient. This is one of the reasons why many of the employers don’t even bother with asking prospective employees to have their schools send transcripts to the prospective employer.