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EdQ, the world’s first blockchain education credentialing platform launches

World’s first blockchain education credentialing platform launches.

Announcement 10th February 2021.

IOB with Bank of Ireland, AIB, Ulster Bank and Deloitte today announced the launch of a unique blockchain-based education credentialing platform for financial services. It is the first in the world in production.

Known as EdQ, the platform provides real-time access and an unalterable, trusted store of education qualifications, regulatory and other professional designations, micro credentials and continuing professional development (CPD) records. More than one million data items have been migrated to the new platform.

For financial services firms, EdQ reduces operational and regulatory risk along with the manual effort and related costs in respect of managing compliance with the Central Bank of Ireland’s Minimum Competency Code and Fitness and Probity regimes. In 2020 University College Dublin completed a successful pilot using EdQ. The new blockchain platform, which is highly scalable, offers exciting potential as a credentialing platform to the higher education sector and will also be of interest to other professional membership bodies. IOB is a Recognised College of UCD.

Mary O’Dea, Chief Executive, IOB, said:

“IOB is delighted to have led the collaboration with the banks and Deloitte in developing EdQ, this innovative blockchain education credentialing platform which is the first of its type in the world in operation.

More than 23,500 members hold a professional designation with IOB and EdQ speaks to the heart of our purpose which is to educate, enable and empower those working in financial services to sustain the highest professional standards for the benefit of customers. We are also delighted to have worked with our colleagues in UCD in a pilot which highlighted the potential application of the platform in the education sector,” Mary said.

The collaboration, led by IOB and involving the three banks and Deloitte, is an example of innovation in the Irish financial services and education sectors. Deloitte’s European blockchain lab is based in Dublin. The idea originated from a Bank of Ireland innovation programme which completed a proof of concept with Deloitte. An industry solution was identified and IOB agreed to lead the collaboration and the development of the blockchain platform. From concept to final production, the project has taken three years to complete.

Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe TD said:

‘I commend the teams at Bank of Ireland, AIB, Ulster Bank, Deloitte and IOB for their successful collaboration on this initiative, the first of its type in operation worldwide. The EdQ platform will deliver tangible benefits for financial services firms and is another key milestone in the development and adoption of new technologies like blockchain in Ireland. It’s an excellent example of how innovation and collaboration can deliver real change and help prepare Ireland for the future, which very much aligns with the Government’s Future of Jobs initiative and the Ireland for Finance strategy.”

Minister of State with responsibility for Financial Services, Insurance and Credit Unions, Sean Fleming TD said:

“This is an exciting project and a perfect example of local innovation contributing to the growth of the international financial services sector in Ireland. The EdQ platform is a great example of disruptive technologies being harnessed to provide compliance solutions that reduce risk for regulated firms. As part of our ambitious Action Plan for 2021 under Ireland for Finance, we see great potential for these projects to build further resilience in the financial services sector here in Ireland and make a positive contribution to the EU’s Digital Finance strategy.”

Francesca McDonagh, CEO of Bank of Ireland said:

“I am delighted to see this initiative, which was initially developed by my colleagues in a Bank of Ireland innovation programme, come to fruition. This new education platform shows the benefit of collaborative working and will help to enhance learning and increase standards across our sector, in a secure, efficient, and user-friendly way.”

Colin Hunt, CEO of AIB said:

“AIB is proud to have supported this initiative led by IOB which is a great example of collaboration and innovation across the financial services sector in Ireland. The EdQ platform will ensure that those working in the sector are further supported in their learning and empowered to progress their career aspirations and ambitions, which in turn benefits our customers.”

David Dalton, Head of Financial Services & EMEA Blockchain Lab, Deloitte said:

“We are delighted to support IOB and the banks involved in this project and look forward to the results that this initiative will deliver. This is an excellent example of collaboration by the IOB and Irish banks to create a very innovative and world leading solution in Ireland and a great application of blockchain technology to help digitise educational and professional qualifications.”

Jane Howard, CEO of Ulster Bank and IOB President said:

“As President of IOB, I am proud to be involved with this innovation and the break-through solution using blockchain technology which supports lifelong learning, professional standards and the management of regulatory compliance. The launch of the platform is a result of substantial work from the teams in IOB, my own Ulster Bank, AIB and Bank of Ireland over the last three years. It shows the power of collaboration”.

In a next phase of the development plan for EdQ, individuals will be able to avail of functionality where they can hold their education qualifications, transcripts, professional designations, micro credentials and CPD records in a digital wallet on their smartphone.