arol.dev: Pioneering the Use of NFTs in Edtech
At arol.dev we believe in celebrating our students’ success in a special and modern way. When they complete the program, we don’t just give them a regular paper diploma. We award them with a one-of-a-kind NFT certificate. This digital certificate is special and represents their hard work. In the ever-changing world of tech, we get that it’s important to recognize our grads with more than just a traditional certificate. So we talked to one of the founders of arol.dev, Arol himself, about why we’re redefining the way academies honor their graduates. What are NFTs? But before we get into that, what exactly are NFTs (non-fungible tokens)? Think of them as digital certificates of ownership for items or content. They use blockchain technology to keep track of who owns what. As NFTs are content, they can represent anything like artwork, videos, music, and even virtual items in video games and anything you can imagine. Here's an example: Imagine you create a digital piece of art on your computer. You could create an NFT for it (tokenize it), which would prove that you own the original and it's unique. Even if people can make copies of the art, only you would have the official NFT to show that you're the original owner. It’s a proof of authenticity. NFTs have become popular because they give creators a new way to sell and share their work directly with fans, which lets them prove ownership of assets. This is especially useful in the digital world where you can just make copies of things and share them. But it's not limited to art. They're actually a great way to proof authenticity in an open and decentralized way. Why use NFTs as graduation certificates? Apart from the fact that graduation certificates as NFTs give students a reliable and modern way to celebrate their achievement, there are other unique benefits that traditional certificates can’t offer: With a PDF or paper, you can send it off or show it to people but it’s not really the most credible option to prove that you’ve completed a course. This idea made sense in the past when you’d go to a job interview and give them a certificate to show your experience. If we’re being honest, those documents can be easily forged and it’s harder to verify that they’re actually real. Trustworthy On the other hand, NFTs make your certificate more credible. With the special tech behind these “non-fungible tokens”, you can prove that it’s the original, not a copy. In the way we have them configured, the NFTs allow for graduates to share their certificates and anyone can check with arol.dev that they’re real. For example, potential employers can check with us to confirm that the NFT is issued by arol.dev and connected to the blockchain. They can even verify it themselves without going through us and just checking the blockchain platform directly to see the transaction and the wallet with all the information proving that the student graduated from our program. Secure With an NFT, it’s stored digitally so there are no worries about the document getting lost or damaged like a physical paper. It’s safe and reliable. Plus, your certificate can’t be faked. Future-proofed Your NFT certificate will be stored on the blockchain indefinitely, meaning you don’t need to worry about degradation over time, it’ll still be preserved. Even if arol.dev ceased to exist (let’s hope not) the NFTs would still be accessible. Personalized What we embed in each NFT is the graduate’s name, when they graduated, their GitHub handle, what class they were in (to foster a community) and what the certificate is for. How does an NFT certificate work? We burn the NFTs manually with our team and then create a wallet with the certificate on the Polygon blockchain, which we then send to the graduates. Basically it’s like a transfer, like how anyone sends Bitcoin or money but in this case it’s a non-lucrative NFT certificate. How do we make sure that they’re valid and secure? We have different levels of security: we program the NFTs so they cannot be transferred to just anyone: they can only be given to a student, canceled, removed, or transferred only back to the original wallet but never to another address. Plus, the NFTs are stored on the Polygon network, a blockchain platform (backed by the Matic cryptocurrency) which also has its own security measures to protect the information. Endless possibilities What else could we add to the NFT certificates? Well, we’re open to ideas, of course, but it’s nice to keep it simple. NFTs offer endless possibilities but we’re also looking at how to use it internally. We like to stay connected with our alumni and are already publishing content for our community of graduates. Currently we’re working on being able to implement NFTs as an authentication for a future platform where we will publish all this content in a more centralized space. You log into the platform and instead of using a username and password, you connect the wallet with the NFT and gain access to all the material. Bridging innovation and education Our software engineering academy is all about the latest tech and staying ahead in the field including finding new ways to celebrate achievements. We teach students to think ahead and give them an edge in the tech world. What makes us special is our focus on new ideas and staying up-to-date with the newest technologies. Our learning experience is engaging and keeps going even after graduation. It’s not just an academy, but a community of software engineers who help each other learn and create unique solutions in the world of tech.