Users of Open Badges are faced with two major problems. The first is receivers keeping track of where all their badges can be found. Everyone can issue badges, which can either be given directly to someone (a signed badge) or hosted on the website of the issuer (a hosted badge). This places a burden on the receiver who must safekeep their signed badges and the links to hosted badges. Also, issuers of badges must inform user they issued a badge, otherwise users may never be aware they own a badge. The second problem is issuers must keep hosting the badges for as long as their receiver need them, which is typically their entire working career. Even for signed badges issuers must make it clear the signing key used belongs to them. Should badges or issuers be no longer available, either because of link rot or because the issuer is no longer around, the badges are lost.
Benefits of using Open Badges on Validana
Validana Badges is an open blockchain that everyone can receive a copy of and store their badges on. This goes hand in hand with the open and decentralized nature of Open Badges. However, receivers of badges need not worry about safekeeping the badges, as the blockchain will do this for them. In addition, they can find all badges they own in a single place without worrying that they are not aware of some of the badges they own. And even if issuers disappear a valid copy remains available at any of the other nodes in the blockchain. Privacy is maintained because users are only identified with their public wallet address instead of name and personal info.
Advantages & Disadvantages
Blockchains solves various problems. First, it provides transparency as every node receives a full copy of the data. Second, it provides tractability and verifiability. A full list of all changes that were made, when they were made and signed by who made the changes is provided to all nodes. In addition, all rules that were in effect at the time of the change are recorded as well. Thirdly, it also enforces compliance through smart contracts. This removed the need for auditing, as all nodes will automatically verify everyone followed the rules.
However, blockchain is not without its own problems. The popular proof of work algorithm requires a lot of computing power, which translates into high energy usage. The inability to modify or remove data without breaking the ‘chain of blocks’ makes it hard to fix mistakes and remove privacy sensitive data. Its transparency can also make privacy a challenge.