Japanese university starts issuing NFT certificates

Chiba Institute of Technology’s website

A Japanese university has started issuing NFTs as certificates to students who have completed two courses, a move towards digitalising academic qualification in the Web3 era.

Chiba Institute of Technology has started issuing NFTs to certify those who completed and received credits for the classes “Principles of Awareness” and “Media and Culture” offered by the institute’s Center for Transformation in the first half of the year, the institute said on August 19.

The courses were taught by Professor Tenzin Priyadarshi and research fellow Mitsuhiro Takemura, respectively.

The digital certificates were developed in collaboration with PitPa, a company which supports business marketing using podcasts. Turning certificates into NFTs is part of the institute’s efforts to develop tools for global human resources in the Web3 era, and is the first phase of its project.

The NFT certificates are created on the Polygon blockchain based on the Blockcerts technology, a global standard for blockchain credentials. The technology prevents its data from being tampered with. 

The digital records can be displayed on NFT marketplaces such as OpenSea and on the online chat app Discord, making it easy for students to reach employers and institutions from overseas.

To reduce the risk of information leakage, details such as grades and credit units are stored outside the blockchain. On-chain and off-chain data are separated, with detailed information displayed only when employers make an enquiry.

Joichi Ito, director of the Center for Transformation at Chiba Institute of Technology, said: “Blockchain is one of the most suitable applications for offering degrees. I hope that other universities will use it as a starting point.”