Alternative formats will make CanCred badges more portable and flexible!

Nov 1, 2019

Adapted from OpenBadgeFactory.com

We are excited to announce an important new feature that will be released by the end of December 2019: you’ll be able to issue a badge on CanCred Factory both as a hosted badge that can evolve in Passport and as a standalone signed PDF certificate that is forgery-proof and can be used without a displayer service - all fully compliant with version 2.0 of the Open Badges standard!

How we got here

The Open Badge standard made the choice early on of baking badge metadata into image files (png or svg) and this has affected the way badges can be displayed and shared to the current day. Badge earners have had to create online accounts in “backpacks” or “passports” in order to display and share badges so they can be properly validated.

Clients have increasingly been asking for “standalone” badges that don’t have to be hosted. And many wanted these badges to be forgery-proof signed digital certificates verified on blockchains. To make things even more challenging, some clients wanted both solutions.

The OBF development team began asking themselves: “Could the format of a badge be something other than a png or svg image?” Then they realized that the answer was right in front of them: our old friend the PDF is an open standard (ISO 32000-2) that lives up to its name by being truly portable. PDFs support metadata and digital signatures and can also be self-hosted and are easy to share and view. It’s the perfect format for baking and issuing a badge and validating it with a digital signature!

Not to worry: the solution we’re implementing does not replace the baked Open Badge image you’ve become accustomed to - it just goes further. Not only can CanCred Factory issue the same badge both ways but the lifecycle of the badge has now been extended, as shown in the diagram: when a signed PDF badge is uploaded into CanCred Passport it transforms into a hosted living badge that can be enriched with endorsements and additional evidence. This same badge can later be revalidated in CanCred Factory with a new signature in PDF format.

Living badge and “laminated” certificate - the best of both worlds!