Over the past few weeks, AmaZix team members have been porting over their occupational details online to the beta platform of the SpringRole decentralized professional network.
At first, signing up for SpringRole is not any different from opening an account in another career-based social platform. Users enter personal details, describe their education and professional skills, or choose to import all their LinkedIn details. After reserving a personal URL and creating a profile, they’re credited with 100 SPRING, the platform’s native ERC20 token.
However, AmaZix professionals aren’t simply opening up another digital Rolodex. They’ve chosen to be part of an exciting initiative. A decentralized professional network of the future, built on the blockchain. SpringRole allows users to reliably verify their professional profiles and provide skill validation through attestation from educational institutions, employers, colleagues, and managers. All that, while keeping complete ownership of their data.
Sharing data, retaining ownership
The issue of data privacy was recently thrust into the public eye with the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica data scandal last year. It revealed a painful truth about most social platforms online: that they collect, store, share and sell your personal data, often without your knowledge.
AmaZix employee Carlos V, who’s been a Community Moderator for eight months, believes that using a platform like SpringRole allows users to take control over their digital identity, especially in regards to professional data. The “super easy” signup, according to Carlos, was a pleasant surprise
“Data privacy is a human right… I believe that blockchain offers that right. Trusting centralized platforms isn’t a breach of trust waiting to happen. It’s happened many times… Facebook is just one big example we know of. As Web 3.0 is developed, and privacy and integrity become more ingrained into the fiber of the new web, companies like SpringRole offer solutions that hold users and companies more accountable. The more honest people we have on platforms, the better the entire ecosystem behaves as a whole.”
— Carlos V, AmaZix Community Moderator
When 117 million LinkedIn passwords went on sale on the black market in 2016, from a hack that happened in 2012, it was yet another demonstration of the vulnerabilities of legacy databases. The hack was a result of poor security. Commonly used encryption practices aren’t enough when hackers are often many steps ahead of security measures. This is a problem LinkedIn and others continue to stumble upon whenever their centralized databases and servers are compromised.
“Security, especially when dealing with the digital version of your professional persona, is of utmost importance — people haven’t forgotten about what happened to LinkedIn all those years ago. Identities were stolen, profiles were used to commit fraud, and some people didn’t know about it for years. Like us at AmaZix, SpringRole places trust in blockchain technology, which is all about secure design: immutable, tamper-proof and democratic.”
— Kenneth Berthelsen, AmaZix CMO
Berthelsen points out that blockchain-grade cryptography and distributed form of security has stood the test of time. Ten years at least, by the standard of Bitcoin’s longevity as a tamper-proof database.
“Even if you believe in the quantum computing threat, a computer capable of cracking Bitcoin is still at least a decade away and it’s more than plausible that Bitcoin’s security algorithm would have seen several upgrades by then,” said Berthelsen.
While professional networks like LinkedIn continue to be popular among job seekers and headhunters, there is a growing trend for fraudulent users and scam profiles on the platform. Fake member invitations to connect, fake job offers and phishing emails are some of the common scams found on these platforms. The fact that testimonials and endorsements on these platforms are easy to obtain means that information can be very hard to verify on fake profiles. To prevent these situations, AmaZix plans to use SpringRole’s unique verification technology as an attestation process in its recruitment processes.
“The use of a public ledger and reputation scores in SpringRole creates a more reliable method for verification of professional skills, qualifications, and experience. It would be extremely valuable for us to be able to authenticate and validate a resume quickly and reliably.”
— Henriette Busk, AmaZix Head of People Operations
Promoting trust among people and companies
According to SpringRole founder Kartik Mandaville, the platform will have two key aspects. The first will use institutional attestations like universities or companies to verify academic qualifications and career experience. The latter attempts to use crowd wisdom in endorsing skills.
“Verifying skillsets can be particularly complex, which is why we have designed the Spring network to crowdsource user reputations on particular skills. People in a user’s network can endorse her proficiency in a skill — the number of endorsers and their scores allows the network to compute a score for each skill, ultimately, assessing the person’s skill level. The network’s ability to capture nuance in skill level is quite remarkable.”
— Kartik Mandaville, SpringRole Founder
The SpringRole team acknowledges that the network effects for older existing platforms may be hard to compete with, but there are advantages to being an early adopter on a platform that aims to bring more transparency to the world of professional profiles.
Early adopters at SpringRole will be able to earn SPRING tokens for various actions on the platform such as responding to messages, endorsing and completing profiles, and get daily rewards just for logging in daily. A full platform is due Q2 2019.