A Big Win for LearnerShape with Cardano Project Catalyst and Universal Skills Authentication

November 11, 2021

I had a secret up my sleeve when I wrote my last blog about blockchain and education.

LearnerShape has been working with Project Catalyst, part of the leading Cardano blockchain project (one of the world’s largest, with cutting-edge third-generation blockchain technology), on a proposal to build a universal skills authentication protocol and application.

We are delighted to announce that funding for this project has just been approved.

This is an amazing opportunity for LearnerShape. We will be leveraging our AI-based technology for flexible management of skills alongside Cardano’s Atala PRISM authentication technology to enable authentication of any set of skills on a public blockchain, using an open protocol delivered with open-source software.

Open-Source, Open-Protocol Skills Authentication

Robust authentication is fundamental to online activity, but has lacked reliable global solutions since the early days of the internet, despite many initiatives to do so (such as X.509 certificates). Lack of reliable authentication is a huge contributor to the ongoing flood of advanced viruses, ransomware and other malware.

In LearnerShape’s sector – education and reskilling – authentication of learners is crucial to delivery of trusted online qualifications. And our proposed universal skills authentication framework has the potential to deliver solutions with far broader scope than that. We believe that the opportunity to build this with Cardano, which is making a big commitment to authentication via Atala PRISM, can be transformational.

Right now, platforms like LinkedIn allow people to record skills and experience in a template and share them inside that platform. But imagine a world in which skills information can be:

That’s our vision, and we are certain that the vision will expand as we walk down this path.

What We’re Building with Cardano

Let me give you a brief summary of our project with Cardano (registration required to view), in both technical language and a translation for less technical people – like my mom, who is really proud of this idea.

The project will deliver a proof of concept, with four key components, all of which will be open source:

  1. Skills framework: flexible data structure for storing individual skills in a graph-based format (a ‘personal skills graph’) on any platform. Mom translation: We’ll create a simple framework for a “universal digital CV”.
  2. Individual authentication: protocol and REST API for self-sovereign authentication of a personal skills graph to an individual, using Atala PRISM. Mom translation: You’ll be able to reliably tell the world (or just those people you choose) as much as you choose about your experience, skills and qualifications.
  3. Skills authentication: protocol and REST API for a third party (e.g. a university, course provider, examination institute or another individual) to certify that an individual has a skill on their personal skills graph, using Atala PRISM. Mom translation: You’ll be able to ask others (like universities, companies, colleagues and friends) to vouch for abilities you select.
  4. Application for skills entry, certification and verification: simple web application for accessing the above, including (a) building and certifying a personal skills graph, (b) third-party certification of a skill in the graph and (c) viewing / confirming a personal skills graph. Mom translation: We will make it easy for anyone in the world to use this technology on the devices they already access.

We are very excited to be building a universal skills authentication application and we want to make it huge, which means help is more than welcome! If any aspect of this project is of interest to you – either from a technical or common-sense perspective – please get in touch with us. Further, we are actively looking for partners who are interested in building skills certification applications using our protocol.

And please stay tuned to our blog or sign up for our newsletter (in the footer below or at the top of our blog page) to hear more about this project as it progresses.

Maury Shenk, Co-Founder & CEO, LearnerShape