Talentchain Eases process of scholarships, stipends, grants, Student Loans for the Govt & Financial Institutions
Oct 12, 2018

Given the low literacy rates and earning disparity within the developed countries like the Indian subcontinent, govt aids and scholarships are boon for students belonging to the weaker sections of the society, who are unable to pursue their education for some reason or the other. Scholarship is an incentive as well as encouragement for students, who are talented, but do not have the means to study further.

Govt of India has a Central Sector Scheme of Scholarship for College and University Students, where it pays Rs. 10,000/- per annum for the first three years and Rs. 20,000/- per annum for the fourth and fifth year, for meritorious students having family income of less than Rs.6 lakh per annum. The current process to apply for scholarship is to use Aadhaar - the India specific Universal Identity and the associated certificate issued by the Govt. Department in a form in Government portals. Now if this is a continuing scholarship, the candidate needs to upload the last certificate (e.g. for obtaining the 4th year scholarship in an engineering college, the 3rd year pass certificate needs to be shared) to get the current year’s scholarship.

Now, managing this complex process of validating the certificate from the issuing authority and then validating the details of the candidate eligibility and finally paying the amount into the student’s bank account takes a very long time and many a times it doesn’t even reach on time, making it very tough for this candidate. Taking advantage of this complex business process that are not being in sync, students and even colleges try to fraudulently apply with dubious certificate to get the scholarship & grants from Govt.

Just a few months back a college from Ghaziabad, a city near Delhi, was suspected to have made crores after bagging government scholarships by producing lists of fake student certificates. In 2013, an investigation into a minor complaint of misappropriation of funds disbursed under the scholarship scheme meant for tribal students, exposed a multi-crore scam spanning across Madhya Pradesh, India. And this is not for developing countries, even in US & Europe, there are companies who fraud people by letting admitted students fall to the trap of too-good to be true scholarships. These companies take an initial fee/deposit and also a processing fee and after it has been deposited they just stop communicating or say that the scholarship application is rejected by the trust, which gives the scholarship.

We believe that through Talentchain we can stop this phenomenon. First of all, Talentchain can provide a single platform for issuance and storage of education certificates for a large number of institutes, education boards who can issue them through their own logins. As Talentchain is on public Ethereum with the security of private chain through IBFT and IPFS, we can have govt nodes as verifiers who can search for a certificate for its truthfulness and originality through a simple Yes and No and pass that that information to the financial authority who disburses the money. Through the carefully chosen notary manning the notary nodes, a certificate even when not issued by an issuer on Blockchain can be verified and shared with the scholarship issuing body. We see a large number of education loan providers to also use this function for granting education loans in the beginning of the course and then also use it later when they need to disburse loan instalment during the course of study as in many cases there are minimum grades that student needs to achieve to get the instalments.

Talentchain can even disintermediate the Scholarship orchestrating bodies (who in many cases don’t follow the right principles) if it can bring private charity and grants organization on its verified network and open its large network of verified students and their needs through a Scholarship Marketplace. It can even ask for Grants requested by verified Institutes for Labs, Centre of Excellence or Chairs. And with its TalentTo tokens the transactions can be made across geographies to make it a true decentralized talent scholarship marketplace.

Borderless Reach & Infinite visibility
Oct 03, 2018

When Anaximander, a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher who lived in Miletus recorded the idea of INFINITE, little did he know about the implications and fascinations the idea of it will bring with evolution. With unlimited progress being made in every field, industries and organizations now aim for limitless reach. So, can we really dream of a borderless world? Will it transform into reality?

To answer the above questions, we need to delve deeper. Humans divided the world into smaller units so that they can better manage it. But as the intellectual level of human beings and technology improved over the years, so did the concept of a world with borderless reach. It did not seem utopian or farfetched anymore.

‘Go Global’ is the trend almost everywhere but holds real significance in few industries especially the Education sector. Every renowned institution is aiming to go global and blur the borders previously eminent. International students now form a major chunk of any university student base. But there are numerous pitfalls the institutions face while attracting foreign talent. The major among these are the mushrooming of degree mills (fake institutes) who pose as real universities and trap unsuspecting students to its lair. The ease and penetration of internet has aggravated the problem. Not only student’s lose money and receive fraudulent degrees, but the real university stands to lose its credibility in the wake of these impostors trading in their name. In the long-term this fear results in a gradual reduction of the international student strength in institutes.

With Talentchain we aim to create a platform for all students, corporates, institutes in such a transparent and secured manner that from students to universities to organizations, everyone will be able to tap into the unlimited possibilities offered by it.

Universities will be able to upload Accreditation Certificates, Registration documents, videos and store them on Blockchain, thereby creating a trusted institute dossier. Prospective students and guardians will be able to view and verify Blockchain verified institutes. With the trusted provenance of educational institutes being created, this would result in an automatic brand perpetuity and pave path for the institute’s borderless reach.

Eligibility of students for admission can be cross-checked by verifying against the Blockchain Verified certificates and mark-sheets by the University admission cell. A win-win situation will result where student can place trust on The University’s veracity and vis-a vis universities can be sure of enrolling genuine candidates. Thus, a smooth, transparent and secured admission process would ensue. Students will now live the dream of being able to study abroad from prestigious universities without being duped by unscrupulous agents and intermediaries.

Even corporates will easily be able to verify the claims of a prospective job-seekers and leave behind the fear of making bad hires. Using Talentchain, we thus will create a truly borderless world with infinite visibility for the education and verification industry.

Digitally notarised certificates - from the comfort of your smartphone
Sep 27, 2018

Have you ever dreaded Notarizing a document? Everyone does, because Notarizing any document means long lines in the court corridor, showing a smiling face even when sweating profusely, giving all the documents to the pie, jostling around in the crowded entry and then returning after hours to collect the Notary certificate with stamp. It’s nothing short of sheer torture. But this is a necessity nonetheless. As we know, when applying for visa in a foreign country and more so when planning to open a new company, the owner being an Indian, one must notarize every document that needs to be produced to the foreign authorities - there are different notaries e.g. Apostille appointed by Govt. who gets the original documents apostilled by Ministry of External Affairs, for a fortune. While govt would charge a minuscule amount, the total bill with courier pick up and drop comes to a minimum of Rs. 7000. You bet that is an extravagant amount and think of that kind of spending needed to be done by a student who is going for a post graduate course to Europe. And if you ever though that is this fool proof pause and think again, does the Notary really do their job? Yes, but when a client wants to befuddle them, they also go for a ride. Numerous cases of forged document were notarised, and nothing could be done as there was no photography or video evidence of this notary process.

In a recent case for opening of a company in Europe which prides itself in digitalization, notary verification was conducted fully digital over a skype call. What was done was the notary verified the face pattern in camera with the passport of the company owner held over the camera and in a jiffy, the process was complete. Similarly, it was done for address proof through portal with the consumer ID, scanning the document and then verifying the same printed document held over the camera. With simple pattern matching software, good camera and internet call over Skype the Notary process was completed. Even the whole verification was recorded so that there is video proof of each item of the conversation. Even countries like Estonia’s e-residency program is all dependent on digital notary.

Talentchain brings these digital notaries with the security of Blockchain and that too in a smartphone. In many a case the Talentchain user may earn a certificate from an institute which doesn’t issue a certificate on Blockchain. But as a user he needs to be provided the verified version of this certificate for a job interview. He just invokes the Notary node of Talentchain. Certificates that are self-uploaded by students goes to a notary and can be attested by notary through video call. Notary will approve the documents if all criteria is met and sign off with a digital signature. Notarized certificates get uploaded to Blockchain and the customer can share it with his interviewer just through an email or WhatsApp message.

Weed out fake candidates with Talentchain verified profiles
Sep 19, 2018

Here is an age-old problem, to distinguish between real and fake.

Fake profiles have become a way of dismissing inconvenient truths. Employers today place a premium on degrees for fulfilling open positions. A profile is an advertisement of your brand and we are experiencing a surge of misinformation without an efficient system to corroborate the truth. The crisis around counterfeiting is a technology story in the current generation – be it tangible resources like food, fashion or intangibles like news or human profiles. Access to the internet and high tech enables both the worlds of authentic and fake to proliferate exponentially. LinkedIn and Indeed have been looked upon as first level verifiers, but it still hasn’t come close to what recruiters actually need.

With increasing global workforce, increased mobility and cross border movements, the challenges related to hiring are manifold. Michael Clemens, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, a strong proponent of regulated international migrations estimates that free movement of people across borders would elevate 100% of the world’s wealth [Clemens, “Governments need better ways to manage migration”]. This great power comes with the greater responsibility of identifying legitimate profiles in the shortest possible time.

It is commonplace for talents having academic and professional experience spanning across multiple geographies. Companies like HireRight does help fix the issue but only post the hiring process that too at a substantial fee. Talent acquisition require investment of time and resources, so it makes sense to do due diligence before bringing a new hire on board. The cost of bad hire goes beyond the financial setbacks to workplace violence. Employees are legally obligated to create safe, diverse and inclusive workplaces that are sustainable.

Talentchain nips this problem in the bud. The solution is two folds, one on the supply side for educational Institutions and another on the demand side for Corporate Employers. Universities affiliated to Talentchain can issue digital certificates on blockchain to their students. A consent mechanism enables each student to control sharing of certificates with the relevant stakeholders like Employers, Banks, Government bodies and Educational Institutions for verification. But then one might ask, how inclusive is the system with regards to the alma matter. Here comes the good part, Talentchain makes it possible even for ex-students to take advantage of this potent platform. Old students can send a request with their identifiable credentials to the university for verification – on approval the certificate will be uploaded to blockchain.

Talentchain has collaborated with public notaries to validate self-uploaded certificates widening the reach and empowering the talents to carry a true unified Talent passport. Hereafter all your certificates will be at your fingertips 24X7 accessible from anywhere in the world.

Companies enrolled with Talentchain can issue experience certificates, awards and accolades thereby building an immutable employee dossier that is shareable, circumventing all the fraudulent experience certificates circulating in the hiring ecosystem.

This amalgamation of immutable and authenticated information encompassing all your accomplishments in academia and in corporate world will become your ‘Talent passport’. Recruiters therefore can instantly validate candidate credentials during the shortlisting process even before scheduling an interview.

Not only will fake certificates and fictitious job experiences be a thing of the past, it will be the nemesis of unrated and unrecognized institutions mushrooming across economies. This would give way to deserving and genuine candidates, benefiting all stakeholders who will be incentivized by promoting transparency and a trust inspiring ecosystem.

Our way forward to a transparent talent ecosystem is to disentangle myth from fact, ideology from honest inquiry of professionals all-round the globe. Immutable trust habitats and autonomous verification is a necessity with burgeoning educational institutes, ivy league colleges providing alternate channels and courses to attract talent volumes at a fraction of the cost. Much like fake news will never go away, fake & doctored profiles will not disappear either. But here is an affordable & potent platform for the masses and the developing economies need not be behind the technology curve.

References:
https://www.economist.com/briefing/2018/08/25/governments-need-better-ways-to-manage-migration

Enhance Trust factor through Tamper proof, verifiable certificates on Blockchain
Aug 24, 2018

Counterfeit degree certificates in the education industry has been a constant area of concern. The repercussions are faced by students, guardians, universities and companies alike. University reputation comes at stake, student careers fall in jeopardy, even companies stand to lose face in the wake of such events by hiring individuals with fake degrees.

In the last few years this issue seems to have intensified like an epidemic. A growing number of degree mills operating and even flourishing by making huge money out of this fake degree scam. Where does the problem lie? Can this problem be eradicated? Experience certificates too get faked by unworthy job seekers.

It’s a multifaceted complication. Non-existent institutes especially distant ones bearing name and resemblance to licensed university fool prospective students in enrolling for their non-existent courses. Unscrupulous individuals obtain fake degrees/experience letters through agents with the intention to con somebody or further their career.

So how do we make the certificates trustworthy? Certificates and degrees need to be stamped and sealed with the label of authenticity and, also be hack proof. Blockchain technology presents a wonderful opportunity in this regard.

Data kept in the Blockchain is impossible to tamper with and when a certificate gets created and stored in the Blockchain, it automatically becomes immutable. With no single point of control for Blockchain, data once written cannot be altered. This ensures that a certificate is not a counterfeit one.

Traditional databases being centralized in nature, meet the storage and other needs but if the security of the authority is compromised, data can be altered, or worse even be deleted. A key property of Blockchain technology, which distinguishes it from traditional databases, is public verifiability, which is enabled by integrity and transparency.

Talentchain, a start-up based in Malta, identifies these concerns and addresses them through its tamper proof platform where immutable Talent Passports are created to separate the Genuine from the Fake.

Integrity: every user can be sure that the data they are retrieving is uncorrupted and unaltered since the moment it was recorded.

Transparency: every user can verify how the Blockchain has been appended over time.

From security standpoint, no other technology can vouch to be as failsafe and full proof as Blockchain. Hence, when employment and academic records become Blockchain certified by the university and employers themselves, recruiters can always verify and trust an applicant’s claim on the physical resumes. Talent hunting automatically becomes much smoother for recruiters with easy filtering of genuine profiles.

By enabling registered and unregistered educational institutes to upload Accreditation Certificates, campus images, videos and storing them on Blockchain, a trusted institute dossier can be created, thus bridging the lack of trust between prospective students or guardians and universities.

With the establishment of this ecosystem of trust between students, universities, companies and job-seekers, the universal dream of a secure, transparent and reliable world does not seem daunting. Visit us at www.talentchain.com to know more.

Reliable Certification and Verification using Blockchain
Aug 13, 2018

In a rapidly changing environment such as ours, where the job market is constantly evolving with its own dynamics, entering and sustaining in the job market becomes a tremendous challenge. Skill sets that used to be relevant and in demand few years ago becomes outdated in the present day. As a result, job-seekers need to continually improve themselves and keep abreast with latest trends.

Moreover, in recent times, a person is likely to change jobs frequently with an average tenure of 2.8 years, as per reports. With this ever-expanding career profile, it becomes difficult for recruiters to perform background verification of all individuals against all provided details to verify the legitimacy of information.

According to HireRight’s 2017 employment screening program, 85 percent of employers caught applicants fibbing on their resumes or applications, up from just 66 percent five years ago. These inconsistencies come in varying proportion ranging from exaggeration in skill sets, modifying roles in projects to even producing fake certificates.

At the end of the day, organisations incur huge costs as well as time by engaging in background verifications. Not every company can employ such means, sometimes due to monetary and at other times due to time constraints. As a result, falsifications of claims do go unnoticed, depriving deserving candidates from the right opportunities.

Along with the current dilution of resumes, another growing concern is the production of doctored professional as well as academic certificates. With easy availability of internet, it becomes too easy to procure them. At the same time, there is no tell-tale way to compare the value of different certifications from various institutions all over the world.

Talentchain is a platform wherein Universities and Institutes will be creating, maintaining and issuing digital certificates on the Blockchain for students. Every individual will have their very own tamper proof and trusted certificate vault. Corporates and recruiters can easily check for authenticity of an individual after getting the necessary permission for verification from this trust habitat.

With Talentchain, we thus dream of a world where from issuing to storing to sharing to validation of certificates will be a seamless, transparent and more importantly, a secure process.

Harnessing the power of Blockchain in Education Industry
Aug 06, 2018

Talent pool transparency and an authentic projection of a state’s skills inventory that could be verified on the go could be the foundation for attracting businesses and investments. Maintaining a secure and permanent registry of educational qualifications, certificates and degrees at an individual and aggregate level is a must for any state or country to be competitive.

Typically universities have been low when it comes to adopting technology aside from online learning. Educational institutes need a platform where they can issue certificates digitally, more importantly securely to individuals that is shareable and instantly verifiable by recruiters, higher educational institutes or govt. This is achievable via a shared peer to peer network based on Blockchain technology.

All the records will be cryptographically signed. Hence both the recipients and third parties can be entirely sure that a document is authentic and have not been altered since it has been issued.

Background verification is time consuming and inefficient as much of the information is not verifiable. This Blockchain system would eradicate the problem of fake certificates and dubious degree, thus building a trust based ecosystem between the students, universities, employers and recruiters.

At an individual level, an immutable and indestructible vault of skills and credentials that provides a multi-faceted projection of one’s talent will be created. A one of a kind verifiable dossier containing record and evidence of all learning and employment records. Each student can share his or her details through a proper KYC and give consent to share the necessary certificates to a verifier for authentication purpose. Hence, credibility of students in the eyes of recruiter and future employers would automatically rise.

A trust exchange between educational bodies also could be made available wherein portability of certificates is outright easy thus facilitating in a transparent admission process too. This should enhance placements and build a brand perpetuity with its borderless reach and infinite visibility.

From the recruitment standpoint, talent hunting should become much smoother with pin point searches of profiles that can drill down to specific verified accomplishments like exam scores, professional certifications etc. An easy method of showcasing the whole talent journey of an individual starting from school to higher education to professional life.

In the projection of this transparent Talent Spectrum for a state or country, ideally, the trust deficit should be bridged. Even external enablers like Banks and Government get a transparent risk assessment while disbursing Loans, Scholarships & Stipends. An undisputed trust habitat thus forms which would enable India to lead the way to building a talent platform that promotes ethical sourcing while retaining the authenticity of professional claims.

How Blockchain will Revolutionise the Recruitment Industry
Jul 23, 2018

There is something terribly wrong with our hiring process. Recruiters are not able to find the right talent for a particular skill set in real time, however thorough and intensive the process might be. There is fraud in the recruitment supply chain and there is communication gap between companies, recruiters and job seekers. Recruiters face hurdles when they are provided with false information from job seekers be it educational or be it in their work experience.

To deal with this, background verification is done by outsourced background check provider companies which is a time consuming, elaborate affair and usually happens at the end of the hiring process. In the past few years, the nature of work in a person’s career graph has drastically changed. Previously a person used to have degrees from one or two universities and clearly defined roles with maximum one or two previous employers.

In today’s landscape a person is likely to have more jobs and with more diverse job roles and personal learning experiences than before. As per the report of U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2016 the average job tenure for millennial workers from ages 24 to 35 was 2.8 years. Education profile too has become more dynamic and is now much harder to track and validate.

Also the same verification for the same individual happens over multiple times by multiple companies in a particular timeline.

We have already mentioned in one of our previous blogs of how to make educational certificates tamper proof by keeping in Blockchain. In this blog we would be taking this a bit further by even documenting the employment history of an individual in Blockchain.

Data kept in the Blockchain is impossible to tamper with and any information provided is immutable thus, when the employment records are certified by the employers themselves, recruiters can always verify applicant’s claim on physical resumes. Blockchain provides a way in which there is a public part of the applicant’s profile and a private part which will be shown only when the user gives access to the profile.

Blockchain updates all the educational and employment history from payroll, work performance, to employee workplace character thus eliminating the redundancy that has plagued the recruitment industry.

For example HireMatch.io is the first Decentralized App (DApp) that eliminates the friction and costs of third party intermediaries like expensive recruiters during the talent hunting process.

APPII has become the world’s first Blockchain career verification platform. Blockchain would enable the verification of CV credentials by educators and employers and match those verified CV details to job requirements.

References:

http://searchhrsoftware.techtarget.com/feature/Why-blockchain-for-recruitment-might-be-a-future-HR-trend https://medium.com/@jobeum/how-blockchain-can-help-solve-the-recruitment-problems-be72ce62ae17

Tamper proof education certificates in an easy to forge digital world
Jul 09, 2018

Imagine you get treated to a doctor who has never attended any medical classes. Or the guy in your neighbourhood who has zero physical disabilities get through a big-ticket government administrative exam with a lower score just by the virtue of a fake disability certificate. Fake Certificates are creating a havoc and consequences could range from inefficiencies in state administrative functions to loss of lives. There have been reports in Tanzania where 10,000 ghost workers have looted the Government of $2Mn a month, with grants being credited to fake individuals. In India’s flourishing medical fraternity, recent reports cropped up of fake doctors employed to top hospitals and living a swanky lifestyle started careers straight after failing at high school as distributors of medicine before donning the hat of a doctor.

We used to detest the process of getting our school and college certificates attested by Certifying authorities in the 90s. But now we see the necessity of that. It is impossible to verify a certificate unless there exists a national background and certificate checking platform for every person working in the organized sector.

The corporate industry too is a victim of this viral practice of dealing with fake professionals. In spite of costly background checks by investigating agencies, the hiring process is costly and this is a real HR issue that no water tight systems exist to curb this.

According to The Telegraph, UK, Higher Education Degree Datacheck (Hedd) has identified 220 bogus higher education institutions universities which sell fake degree certificates and non-existent courses (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2017/01/03/dozens-fake-degree-certificate-websites-shut-amid-crack-bogus/). Nasscom has an initiative to check the fake certificate for the IT Industry with over 16 lakhs registered profiles, 148 registered companies and 19 background checkers. Although these are commendable initiatives, they are siloed and would need mass adoption and constant monitoring to achieve considerable success.

Being a global problem, the world needs a global database that is immutable and tamper proof to verify professionals at any corner of the globe in a secured manner. We need a credentialing system that is globally available and provides irrefutable proof of the authenticity of any certificate. MIT has started adopting it, Melbourne University is piloting it - why not universities in other parts of the world join hands to create a credentialing system that is globally available and provides irrefutable proof of the authenticity of any certificate.