PDFs are not the same as digital certificates


A document is converted to a Portable Document Format (PDF) to preserve its layout and securely distribute it. People often mistake an educational PDF document or a scanned educational certificate to be a digital certificate/credential. This is not the case at all and let me explain why.

One can add a password to a PDF to limit viewing, editing, or printing access. Yet, if a certificate is scanned and saved as a PDF along with password protection it does not serve the purpose.

Why are educational PDF documents not considered as digital certificates?

For many reasons, let us take a look.

You convert a paper certificate into a PDF because you believe that a paper certificate can be damaged, misplaced, or even forged. But surprisingly, PDFs can also be edited and forged. All one needs is the right editing tools, which are readily available online.

Digital certificates are those educational documents that are issued on a secure platform. Not scanned documents, converted to PDFs. So, instead of issuing paper certificates that students can laminate and hang on the wall. A digital certificate is issued directly to a student’s email account. It holds:

  1. Name and details of the certificate-issuing authority
  2. Name and details of the student receiving the certificate
  3. Verifiable links. Anyone with access to a certificate can click on the links and validate its authenticity immediately
  4. A QR code to scan and assess the credibility of the document

PDFs are not the same as digital certificatesDifference between a PDF and a digital certificate

Verifiable and Secure

PDFs can be easily stored on your system, email, or even cloud. Most times when you share a PDF with a potential recruiter or bank personnel for a loan, they will request you to provide the original paper documents for verification. Moreover, if you have misplaced or lost your paper certificate, getting a replacement certificate is a hugely time-consuming task.

In this case, if we look at a digital certificate issued online. They can always be accessed on the platform it was issued. When you share it with a potential recruiter or even a higher education institute, one can verify the certificate instantly using the QR code or the links. The document verification process is reduced to the minimum. You can access it anywhere at any time and feel confident that it is secure.

Non-tamperable and non-forgeable

A PDF or paper certificate can be scanned and modified using tools like MS Paint or Photoshop. If a student modifies his papers and uses it, the institute will not even know about such malpractices. But what’s much worse is that an institute will not even know if someone is issuing fake paper certificates on their behalf.

This issue is solved by digital certificates issued on blockchain technology. A digital certificate issued on the blockchain cannot be modified, forged, or tampered with. Once an institute issues a certificate:

  1. It will be forever present in the blockchain network
  2. The institute can track the digital certificates issued
  3. Anyone with access to the certificate can verify immediately
  4. Nobody can issue fake paper certificates on your behalf and claim that it is legitimate

Easy to share

To share paper certificates is difficult, you will have to post them. Once you scan the papers and convert them to PDFs. It is easy to share via email or upload them, I agree. The only issue you may face is while uploading a PDF is that some portals have a PDF size limit.

With digital certificates, you will not have to face the same issue. You can just share the link with whoever and have it verified. Even if you share a low resolution (size) image, the QR code can be scanned and verified.

PDFs are great for generic documents. When it comes to educational or academic certificates, PDFs will not be enough.

Related Article: Find out how digital certifications impact placements – Read More: https://www.nationalskillsnetwork.in/find-out-how-digital-certifications-impact-placements/

A blockchain-powered platform to issue digital certificates

A platform that you can use to issue digital certificates to your students is Certif-ID. It is built on blockchain and acts as a dedicated skills community.

After you issue digital certificates to your students, they can use the platform to not only show off their digital certificates but also their skills, work experience, record video CVs and more. So, Certif-ID is not merely a certificate issuing tools but a platform that offers a range of features, from batch management to advanced data analytics.

I am sure you have many questions to ask. Just write to me here and I will get back to you. Or you can also schedule a quick 10-minute call to discuss further.

Author | Rakshit Manga | Sales Director| Certif-ID

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