Don’t trust, verify! 

 

This famous phrase has been adopted as a motto by the blockchain community to showcase this technology’s key fundamentals: Transparency, trustability, and immutability of information. 

 

Innovation done right.

 

In a world where every institution and company wants to be an innovation driver, few understand that this pursuit, to be successful, should be based on the creation of solutions for everyday problems. However, when it comes to the University of Nicosia (UNIC), in Cyprus, we can say that this concept has been learnt by heart. 

 

UNIC has been one of the world’s leaders in cryptocurrency and blockchain innovation, running programs centred around the technology since 2013. With Block.Co, the university started a unique program dedicated to exploring the blockchain’s use for certificates and validation of information, tested directly in its diplomas. Ever since, it became apparent that providing this sort of self-verifiable records was of great value in a variety of contexts outside Academia. 

 

To talk about Block.Co, certificates on the blockchain, and their overall impact, we invited George Agathangelou, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Block.Co.

 

Enter George Agathangelou. 

 

George was one of Cyprus’ early adopters/believers for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Having discovered and mined Bitcoin since 2013, and building a career in the islands’ financial industry, he’s not one to shy away from discussing Cyprus’ strengths and challenges in regards to financial industries: 

 

The Forex industry (which is predominant in Cyprus) hasn’t really changed much in the last years. There are still struggles with market manipulation, most traders losing money, companies unable to deal with compliance, and mergers and acquisitions leading to the space’s uber-centralisation. It’s now, of course, a pleasure and a great sensation to be working with something that helps prevent fraud and make our lives easier.”

 

You can also watch the full interview with George and Carlos from D-CORE on our Youtube channel!

 

He also expands about the history of Block.Co, and the path that lead to its development:

 

“This started back in 2014, when UNIC saw a gap in the market, in need of a decentralised validation solution. All the certificates issued by the universities are now sent to the students, anchored in the Bitcoin blockchain, so they’re self-verifiable. This makes it so that, whenever a student applies for a job, for example, the employer can directly use this to verify the student’s credentials, completely eliminating the chance of running into a fake certificate. We then took this solution, since it was working, and expanded it into other industries, such as insurance, software providers, shipping, and even the public sector, in the Police force, company registry, and even marriages. Frauds cost billions of dollars worldwide every year, and this utterly helps prevent them.”

 

To drive this point across, he points to one of the most critical implementation cases of blockchain certificates:

 

“For example, in the shipping industry, when you have a big ship of cargo coming in, you require over 40 different certificates. Now, if anything goes wrong while you verify each one of them separately, you risk damaging millions of dollars worth of assets. This, as well as bureaucracy, pollution risks, direct risks, security, time-consuming operations, etc., can be avoided by setting up a system in the blockchain that allows users to use and validate only one certificate.”

 

Bitcoin for more than money.

 

One of the most interesting technical points that George mentions is that Block.Co uses the Bitcoin blockchain, not as a means to create or use its financial asset, but to share and protect information:

 

“We decided to use the Bitcoin network, since, in the end, it is the most secure not only crypto, but computer network in the world. It is, practically, impossible to alter or destroy the information in it, and it is fully decentralised. This creates many exciting possibilities, for example, for copyright. If you, say, write a song in your room, you can upload it to the Internet, include it in a transaction hash within the Bitcoin network, and it will get encrypted, timestamped, and be there immutably for you to access it and decrypt it with the right keys. A concept so simple, yet so powerful, eliminates the need for a lot of intermediaries, simplifies labour, costs, and eliminates fraudulent actors”.

 

George also optimistically adds:

 

The general response to this solution has been really interesting. You take many people that have heard negative things about the financial aspect of the blockchain and Bitcoin, and, once you expose them to a use case such as this, they start learning more. They become enthusiastic about it, its potential, and the technology underneath it. We really believe we’re helping educate those around us in this space while doing something worth doing.”

 

Thanks, George, for joining us for this interview! And, if you’ve read this far, we recommend you to check out the rest of the interview on our Youtube channel. You’ll find us covering a broad array of topics, such as educating regulators, Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision for Bitcoin, eliminating intermediaries and databases, and a lot more. 

 

See you next time!