Blockchain is spreading beyond finance: Now it's killing off fake QA certificates

Norwegian firm DNV GL is shifting its quality-assurance certificates to a private blockchain to cut out counterfeits.

In what is being described as one of the first blockchain applications outside the finance industry, Norwegian company DNV GL has begun digitizing its quality-assurance services, by transferring all the 90,000 certificates it has issued into a private blockchain.

DNV GL, the company that came out of Det norske Veritas and Germanischer Lloyd, is a big player in the world of certifications.

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In its 150-year history, the firm's core business has always been certifying ships, and later other maritime and industrial installations, as well as quality-assurance services. In the IT industry, the company is well known for issuing ISO 9000 and ISO 27000 certifications.

Blockchain technology is a distributed ledger, in which records, or blocks, are linked and secured through cryptography.

According to DNV GL, the move to blockchain will stop counterfeit certificates, as well as allowing companies to communicate their certifications in a transparent and secure way.

This implementation has been developed by DNV GL in partnership with Deloitte EMEA Blockchain Lab, which describes it as the first live blockchain solution in the certification industry.

"This is one of the first blockchain applications outside the finance industry," Deloitte partner Martin Bryn said in a statement.

"It shows the limitless possibilities this technology provides. In not too long there will be concepts, prototypes and investments emerging in every major industry."

When a certificate is issued, it is assigned a digital identity, the data is digitized, and sent to the blockchain. All certificates are uniquely tagged and traceable and the original is stored in a network of computers instead of in a central repository.

The use of blockchain technology makes it possible to uncover fraud. By scanning a QR code on the certificate, anyone can look through the blockchain to verify that a company is certified.

DNV GL global digital transformation director Renato Grottola said putting certificates in the blockchain is the first step towards building a new digital-assurance concept.

"Our objective is to use blockchain and other technologies to provide new services and continue to create value for our customers," he said.

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DNV GL and Deloitte say the move to blockchain will put a stop to counterfeit certificates.

Image: DNV GL

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