PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has claimed to be transforming the way professionals share their credentials by using blockchain technology to issue staff with digital versions of their certifications, kept in virtual wallets.

The new Smart Credentials platform, trialled in Scotland, could, it said, significantly reduce employers’ screening costs.

It also gives the owners complete control over sharing their credentials digitally, with reduced exposure to fraud.

Global blockchain leader at PwC, Steve Davies said: “The ability to prove your identity online is critical in today’s digital world and the same is true of the qualifications you hold. We’re seeing high demand for verified, trusted and irrefutable identities from many different types of organisations, but a common challenge for employers is ensuring that an applicant holds the credentials listed on their CV.”

Blockchain is traditionally associated with financial uses given its link to cryptocurrencies, but there are a wealth of potential use cases for this emerging technology and one of them is in overcoming the challenges of digital identity.

PwC believes that the new system — which has been used by its staff who have qualified with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) in the last two years — has the potential to expand to other identity use cases such as for medical professionals, pilots and safety engineers.

Given that many organisations spend significant amounts of time and money every year contacting universities and institutions to double check qualifications listed on CVs, this new blockchain platform offers both reduced risk and costs, Mr Davies concluded.

Comment from Peninsula Employment Law Director Alan Price

When recruiting, it can be crucial to ensure that the individual has the relevant qualifications.

Placing the wrong person in a job role, especially if that role involves the caring of others, leaves employers with added headaches of performance management and potentially repeat recruitment costs.

While the use of blockchain technology is not compulsory and there are currently no plans to enforce this, employers may find it useful in terms of the time and resources it saves them in the normal pre-employment check process.

Last reviewed 12 March 2019