View of a Blockchain title with 0 and 1 data flying over. Production Perig / Shutterstock.com
View of a Blockchain title with 0 and 1 data flying over. Production Perig / Shutterstock.com

A Cape Town blockchain-based startup, Registree, has partnered with the University of Cape Town (UCT to create blockchain-based records for thousands of UCT students.

Over the past two years, a group of the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) students and their professor quietly built Registree, a blockchain-based student registry to address one of the country’s most pressing problems: the coexistence one of the world’s highest youth unemployment rate with a massive and persistent skills shortage across all sectors of the economy.

“We started Registree because we realized that universities struggle to fully use of the vast amount of student data, they collect due to information sensitivity. The consequence is that students sometimes fall through the cracks and struggle to find suitable employment,” explained Co-Pierre Georg, associate professor at the University of Cape Town and co-founder of Registree.

“Employers also struggle to find the ideal graduate, which in turn can hinder their ability to attract great talent.”

To solve this issue, Registree uses a combination of traditional databases and the Ethereum blockchain, a system deployed directly on the university’s infrastructure.

Sabine Bertram, Chief Technology Officer of Registree and Ph.D. student at UCT explained why Registree uses blockchain as a key component of its technology stack. “Protecting student’s privacy was paramount for us when we designed Registree. By using blockchain we are able to strike a fine balance between the universities’ responsibilities as data custodians, the students’ right to privacy, and third parties’ demand for these data.”

Georg echoes this sentiment, adding “The way some sites and search engines, harvest and monetize user data can infringe on privacy, which is unacceptable. We wanted to prove that you can provide world-class data analytics while respecting users’ privacy. In essence, we want to be a successful data company without having any data ourselves.”

To demonstrate how the blockchain-based student registry works, UCT in conjunction with McKinsey & Company, hosted an event that invited students to register via Registree, which provided blockchain-verified digital transcripts.

A platform like Registree could enable organizations to effectively manage their recruitment drive.

Registree allows employers to efficiently search thousands of students through filtering by degree, grades, and other factors to identify the right talent while providing students with unparalleled privacy protection and control over their personal data. Through the blockchain-based platform, students have full control over their personal information and can choose to remain anonymous.

“We are very excited to show that blockchain can solve real-world problems in a very practical and user-friendly manner,” said Co-Pierre Georg.

Fintech.
Fintech. Wright Studio / Shutterstock.com

“South Africa is an amazing place for FinTech innovation with strong institutional support and a deep skill base. We are already working with other universities in the country to create a truly inclusive data ecosystem and help more universities to provide the best possible support for their students.”

Registree’s innovative, immutable privacy-focused platform allows the universities to integrate sensitive student records into larger data ecosystems while guaranteeing complete control over their personal information.

The Registree platform also allows employers to identify the great talent from thousands of graduates, eliminating major search friction in the labour market. This pilot is the epitome of a decentralized public ledger implemented in a practical, related and user-friendly way, thus demonstrating the true potential of blockchain.

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