Big Four

PwC launches Smart Credential blockchain platform

PwC claims it has “transformed” the way chartered accountants share their credentials by using blockchain technology to issue staff with digital versions of their certifications, kept in virtual wallets.

PwC said its Smart Credentials platform gives the owners “complete control” over sharing their credentials digitally, with reduced exposure to fraud. It is being trialled by PwC staff who have qualified with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) in the last two years.

Smart Credentials is a platform, underpinned by blockchain, that gives the owner of a credential control of their data, while also simplifying the process for regulators or institutions who issue credentials, as well as the reviewers who need to check them.

In the pilot, the owner is a recently qualified chartered accountant at PwC; ICAS issues the digital certificate to that person and it will then be part of their digital wallet and can be updated with ongoing personal development and be shared with others on request in a safe and secure way.

For employers PwC adds it allows for someone’s credentials to be validated more simply and could reduce both risk and cost in the qualification screening process.

Steve Davies, global blockchain leader at PwC, said: “The ability to prove your identity online is critical in today’s digital world and the same is true of the qualifications you hold. We’re seeing high demand for verified, trusted and irrefutable identities from many different types of organisations, but a common challenge for employers is ensuring that an applicant holds the credentials listed on their CV.

“Like many others, I take pride in the certificate hanging on my wall but cannot take it down and share it when I need to, or keep a digital record of my ongoing professional development. Blockchain is traditionally associated with financial uses given its link to cryptocurrencies, but there are a wealth of potential use cases for this emerging technology and one of them is in overcoming the challenges of digital identity.”

He added: “Blockchain was designed to allow participants to share data without needing intermediaries. No one party has central ownership, so individuals get more control over their personal data. In this first project with ICAS, the data is a Chartered Accountant certificate, but you can also see the potential in any case where credentials are earned and continually updated – such as medical professionals, pilots or safety engineers.”

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