PwC Pilots Blockchain Projects for Validating Credentials of Job Candidates
Looking to impact human resource departments of the future, PricewaterhouseCoopers started experimenting with blockchain technology for credential verification, reports Sara Castellanos of the Wall Street Journal. The immutability offered by blockchain technology powers the ability for streamlining data to verify the claims of a potential candidate while allowing that candidate to protect who can access the specific personal data they allow and for how long.
“Global brands are struggling to identify, attract and retain talent. One of the real pain-points is around the ability to validate [a candidate’s] credentials,” said Seamus Cushley, director of the PwC UK team tasked with helping companies understand and apply blockchain technology, “Issuing a credential on a blockchain provides proof of when, where and by whom that credential was issued and can’t be changed, unlike a photo of someone’s certificate which could quite easily be digitally altered.”
Blockchain, or distributed ledger technology, allows for data to be stored in an immutable way. Any update is represented in future blocks as previous blocks can not be altered. As well it is readily accessible, whether for a public blockchain or with the permissions granted to a private blockchain. In this case, the blockchain being trialed is private so only credentialed actors can participate in its ecosystem.
They hope that information such as school records or licensing can be verified in mere moments. Currently, the verification process is both time consuming and costly. Many entities must coordinate to pull records to ensure an applications validity. Blockchain technology can be used as the backbone for a system that can automatically and accurately verify records.
For instance, if one claims to be a licensed attorney, and the BAR association were to participate by informing the blockchain on the status of their member’s licenses, any HR department using PwC’s blockchain solution could immediately verify the applicants claim.
Currently, the Journal reports that Mr. Cushley and his team are officially testing their “Smart Credential” project with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland which “has more than 21,000 chartered accountant members world-wide.” Using the blockchain, an accountant can grant an employer access to the specific information they need. As well access can be time restricted.
As blockchain technology continues to find its place in this ever-globalising world, projects such as these are key to taking it there. Whether public or private, more use-cases for distributed ledger technology helps us better understand the technology and how it can be better utilized. Some might take issue with the claim of immutability for a private blockchain. When compared to a public blockchain, private ones are much more susceptible to attack as the nodes are centralized. At an enterprise level, however, this may be a risk that is still more secure than current practices while also providing an industry specific platform that streamlines procedures and mitigates costs.