Blockchain Tech And The Internet Of Careers

This article from Dror Gurevich, CEO of Velocity Networks, discusses the universal database of career records Velocity is building on the blockchain. Dror describes what this public utility infrastructure will look like—a sort of internet of careers on the blockchain.

Velocity Network™ is built to be the world’s network for verifiable and trusted career credentials,
designed for the digital age. It’s governed by a membership nonprofit, set out to put people back
in control over their career assets and build a globally accessible, trustworthy utility layer that
connects the world of work.

It’s powered by blockchain, making it trusted, private, and effortless for people to claim and take
ownership of their career credentials. People can privately store them, choose whether to share
them, decide how others use that data, and in the future even sell it and earn income on that sale.
This creates an economy around the ownership and transfer of valuable career-related data.
At the same time, employers and education providers can rely on trusted, immutable, and verifiable employee, student, and candidate data. The verifiable data seamlessly and cost-
effectively eliminates hiring risks, boosts productivity, improves the employee experience, and achieves regulatory compliance.

In @TalentTechLabs latest trend report, the focus is on #Blockchain tech. See how Velocity Network uses blockchain to build out a database of #career records: Click To Tweet

A Glimpse At What It’s Like To Use Velocity Network™

We developed the notion of the self-sovereign career identity to solve major problems. We wanted to fix the broken data layer underlying the global labor market while at the same time addressing people and regulators’ heightened concerns about private data ownership, storage, and access to this information.

We started wondering, what if we could turn career achievements into digital credentials that will be immutable and verifiable so trusted by the relying party? What if people could claim their credentials, exclusively own them, carry them on their digital wallets, and share them with whomever they decide to?

Velocity Network™ allows individuals to use their digital wallets to connect via a secured peer-to-peer network with their past and current employers, education providers, licensing processors, etc.

With Velocity Network™, individuals can claim their career and education records. The Foundation has a robust onboarding program for vendors and organizations. Individuals will be educated by the different stakeholders offering credential wallet applications. Any wallet out there can use the Velocity open-source SDK to integrate into the network enabling its users to hold career credentials.

These issuers sign and issue these records to the individual’s device as verifiable credentials. In parallel, the issuers also write a unique cryptographic key for each of these credentials to the network’s immutable blockchain ledger.

When the individuals present and share their credential with a relying party (e.g., prospective employer), the relying party, once in possession of the credentials, can access the ledger, retrieve the keys associated with each of the credentials, and verify that the credentials are legitimate and were not tampered with.

This rich verifiable, self-sovereign career identity will be the “great transformer” of the global labor market. It will change the way people navigate their careers and livelihoods and how employers make talent decisions.

Healthcare workers and teachers will be deployed wherever they are needed, without waiting for weeks until their credentials are reviewed and approved. 95% of truck drivers move between trucking companies every year. They all must wait until their credentials check out before they can start. The “great transformer” of the global labor market will enormously impact the global supply chain.

Dror Gurevich, CEO of Velocity Networks, discusses how #Blockchain tech helps you organize #CareerCredentials in this digital age. Read more on @TalentTechLabs latest blog: Click To Tweet

Another use case for self-sovereign career identities is refugees, immigrants, and displaced populations who cannot verify their experience and skills from their countries of origin. Since they cannot verify their expertise and skills, they must settle for the lowest levels of jobs. With self-sovereign career identities, which they can carry with them, their situation will be completely different. Today, there is no efficient way to verify contingent and gig worker identities and credentials without going through days/weeks of background screening processes. This is the biggest impediment to the vision of open, on-demand, and talent markets— Velocity Network™ solves this challenge by allowing immediate verification of the individual’s identity and career credentials.

Inspiration For The Internet Of Careers

Career Credentials Data is key to sustaining labor markets’ efficiencies and has enormous potential and upside for both individuals and businesses. As Artificial Intelligence solutions in HR develop, we expect to see incredible new opportunities to leverage career data, which further increases its importance and value.

Now more than ever, with the effects of COVID and the 4th industrial revolution crushing job markets across the globe, we need to accelerate our ability to develop and deploy human capital on a global scale. But the reality is, although huge investments have been made in HR tech in the last decade, nothing seems to move the needle and create real change. The root cause is the broken data transfer system that is underlying the labor markets.

Efficient development and deployment of human capital requires a free flow of trusted data on people’s skills, education, and credentials. Employers are struggling with this because with all of the amazing tech that we now have in HR, we still rely on self-reported records, resumes, or LinkedIn profiles that individuals share with employers.

Organizations have made significant progress in their ability to manage data regarding their employees, but individuals may divide their time working for two or more employers, take gig assignments, and move between jobs more frequently than before. In this environment, no single employer has a holistic picture of an individual person that is needed to drive personalized solutions and value through analytics and AI. To add to this complexity, as individuals’ concerns about data privacy grow and new regulations such as GDPR are introduced, it is reasonable to expect that we will gradually face a reality where employees and alumni will demand increasing limitations on the processing of their records by employers.

Our vision for the future is to harness distributed ledger technology to build a global Internet of Careers®, a blockchain-based, open-source verifiable credential exchange utility layer that provides standardized communication protocols, governance, compliance, and payment rails. This blockchain-based exchange will enable a trusted, private, and secured exchange of verifiable career and education credentials between individuals and organizations on a global scale.

Progress To Date

The most prominent HR and Education software vendors in the world signed up to use Velocity Network™ to seamlessly enable employers and education providers to issue and validate credentials. These Vendors represent roughly 30% of the global labor market, processing career-related records for more than 1B lives. These vendors build their credentialing functionality on top of Velocity Network blockchain and announced the release of this new functionality to their constituents (i.e., employers and education providers) later this year. We expect millions of users within the next 12 months.

Network Ownership And Governance

Velocity Network™ is completely decentralized and controlled by no single entity. Software tools are open source and royalty-free. Pre-vetted members of the network are running the distributed ledger, forming the fabric of the Internet of Careers. Not only is the infrastructure decentralized, the network is also governed by its members.

The Velocity Network™ is governed by the Velocity Network Foundation®, a Delaware non-stock corporation. The Foundation is a membership nonprofit established to promote and support a globally accessible, trustworthy Internet of Careers®. The Foundation’s membership comprises Velocity Network participants and users, diverse labor market stakeholders from across HR Tech, Education Tech, gig and freelance platforms, contingency workforce, job search platforms, background providers, assessment processors, nonprofit and multilateral organizations, employers and educational institutions. The business and affairs of the Foundation are managed by the Board of Directors. Elections to the board by the general membership are held annually. Elected member organizations appoint a single member of the Board of Directors.

Winning The Mindset Of Participants

One of the reasons we were able to have the largest HR tech and Staffing providers in the world participate in the network is because the need for such a solution was clear to everybody. The problem was how do we achieve global interoperability. Today’s “portfolio career” style of work means that an individual will have a dozen or more employment and education experiences over their lifetime. All those organizations will need to be able to issue their constituents their credentials to support individuals’ curation of comprehensive career-related credentials.

Employers utilize many different HCM technology vendors, and the education providers use many different types of Student Information Systems and Learning Management Systems. Those technology vendors will be required to enable interoperability across their user organizations but also with organizations that use different HR and education platforms, otherwise resulting in siloed ecosystems with limited value to its constituents. The problem was that these vendors were reluctant to build on centralized proprietary platforms.

We now have over two decades of evidence that centralized/proprietary platforms follow a predictable life cycle. When they start out, proprietary solutions do everything they can to recruit users and third-party partners to make their services more valuable and grow engagement on their platform. As these platforms mature and see increased adoption, their power over users and third-party partners steadily grows.

When these proprietary platforms achieve a level of maturity, one where even industry late majority and laggards are joining the ecosystem, their relationships with the original partners often change. Cooperative partners become competitive rivals. Friction in the form of higher costs or access restrictions comes into play. Overall, the rules of engagement change. For the participants, this transition from cooperation to competition can feel like a bait-and-switch.

A common complaint we see from third parties about platform businesses is they see what succeeds on their platforms and then enter the most profitable areas themselves, often decimating third parties in the process. Using proprietary platforms can limit competition — there is a conflict of interest that undermines competition.

The only way to avoid this predictable scenario is to move to a vendor-neutral, open-architecture network governed by its members for the benefit of its constituency. That’s why we say that the future belongs to distributed, open, collaborative networks.

CEO of Velocity Networks, Dror Gurevich, says the future of organized #CareerRecords relies on support from #Blockchain tech. See more in @TalentTechLabs latest trends report: Click To Tweet

Community-Owned And Run By Its Members

Velocity Network’s vendor-neutral infrastructure is distributed and run by network members. No single entity has a finger on the power switch and no single point of control or failure. The decentralized peer-to-peer network prevents any participant or group of participants from controlling the underlying infrastructure or undermining the entire system. Participants in the network are all equal, adhering to the same protocols.

The tech stack underlying the Velocity Network is developed under an open-source framework. It will be licensed to be freely used, modified, and shared by the Foundation, its members, and other network participants. This new way of governing and operating the network was the breakthrough and convinced the most significant vendors in our space to join and develop their solutions on top of the Velocity Network™.

Velocity Network™ Goals

Velocity Network™ is built to be the world’s network for verifiable career credentials. It’s open-source and fully decentralized, so trusted by all participants, individuals, and businesses. It fixes the biggest hole in the labor market infrastructure and eliminates the most significant impediment for the actual digital transformation of this space. Most importantly, it puts people back in control over their career assets and has the potential to radically change how people navigate their careers and livelihoods.

This vision is backed by dozens of the largest tech vendors in the employment space that chose to use Velocity Network™ as the utility layer for credential issuing and verification processes and opted in to participate in the governance of the network.

We expect dozens of millions of users and thousands of businesses to sign up to use the network in the next five years. We believe the Velocity Network™ will radically improve time-to-hire, time-to-onboarding, regulatory compliance, and create an efficient deployment of talent, candidate, and employee experience.

To learn more about the use of blockchain technology or the future of work with blockchain, download our latest trends report.

About the author

Dror is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Velocity Career Labs and the Velocity Network Foundation. These organizations co-exist to reinvent how career records and credentials are shared across the labor market, empowering individuals, businesses, and educational institutions through transformational blockchain technology. Before his current work, Dror served as Co-Founder and managing partner of AKT Solutions, LTD, one of the largest HR Tech system integrators across EMEA, working with the largest corporations in the region on transforming their HR infrastructure.

With his +25 years of experience, Dror is a frequent speaker on innovations in HCM processes and technology and the future of work.

Connect with Dror on LinkedIn.

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