The story of Block.co can be traced back to 2014, when the University of Nicosia (UNIC) in Cyprus identified a need for secure and self-verifiable credentials on the blockchain.
A growing market in forged credentials and the vulnerability of certification documents in the face of man-made and natural disasters meant a solution was increasingly necessary.
Given UNIC’s early immersion in the blockchain world with the launching in 2014 of the first Master’s degree globally in Digital Currencies and Blockchain technology, it was clear to them that blockchain technology was best suited to fulfill that role. Why? “We had to find a solution with certificates that would be vendor-independent and without a central point of potential attack/hacking, and that would outlive the issuing institution itself,” explains Block.co CEO, Alexis Nicolaou.
So, in 2014 UNIC became the first university globally to experiment with the deployment of blockchain in the issuance of academic certificates. They were confident there was no safer or more secure application than that of blockchain technology and particularly no safer blockchain than the Bitcoin blockchain.
It quickly became clear that it was not solely academia that could benefit from the reliable credential authentication that blockchain technology offered. Block.co was born with the objective of taking the initial learnings and expanding the product beyond education to other industries as well as government – indeed to any organization or sector that issued certificates whose authenticity and immutability they wanted to secure.
“Look at the potential of blockchain in the shipping sector for example,” says Nicolaou. “Imagine you’re a shipping company and you employ a crane operator that stacks up the containers on the deck. The certificate he is furnishing however is a fake and he is not qualified to do the job. During the journey, the ship gets into rough seas and an accident happens, with the containers going overboard. There’d be millions in damages that could have been avoided had there been an easy way for the company to verify the authenticity of that certificate.”
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Block.co leverages product innovation and cutting-edge cross-collaboration through a partnership with the Institute for the Future (IFF) and UNIC.
The former is a vibrant think tank of leading blockchain experts dedicated to preparing the C-suite for the game-changing technology which is swiftly shaping our world. It boasts more than 40 faculty and staff working exclusively on research and deployment of Blockchain, AI, Data Forecasting.
The award-winning university cultivates international cooperation and knowledge exchange through multiple EU and domestic research projects and membership of industry consortia. Engaging peers with its leading blockchain conference, Decentralized, and a network of international student-led chapters, it fosters a fertile community which Block.co both contributes to and taps.