Hertzberg Announces New Blockchain Legislation Creating “California Trust Framework”

March 4, 2022

SACRAMENTO – With new legislation announced Friday, California could soon lead the nation with blockchain-based credentialing. Senate Majority Leader Emeritus Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) introduced a bill to establish the California Trust Framework to provide industry best standards for implementing blockchain use in credentialing. The bill also launches a five-year pilot to use blockchain technology in California schools for sharing student transcripts with community colleges.  

“The California Trust Framework is about building trust where it matters most: credentials,” Majority Leader Emeritus Hertzberg said. “From high school transcripts to university degrees to medical licenses, credentials are all around us. Pioneering the use of blockchain technology in credentialing puts California on the front lines of technological innovation and puts security and trust front and center as we explore more ways to adopt blockchain in government.”

Senate Bill 1190 continues California’s effort to safely and securely incorporate the use of blockchain technology into essential government functions. Specifically, SB 1190 requires the California Department of Technology (CDT) to create the California Trust Framework to provide industry standards and best practices in issuing credentials to verify information about a person or legal entity.

SB 1190 also requires CDT to collaborate with the Department of Education to develop and oversee a five-year pilot program using verifiable credentials for high school transcripts. This pilot will allow participating high schools to enter into agreements with community colleges for the usage and acceptance of student transcripts as a verified credential.

“The Blockchain Advocacy Coalition and our members are excited to work with Senator Hertzberg on delivering a trust framework for California, which will create standards for verifiable credentials,” Ally Medina, Executive Director of the Blockchain Advocacy Coalition, said. “As digital identity becomes part of day to day life, it’s important for California to lead on setting privacy-preserving standards that will allow our state agencies to create safe, innovative products for consumers across the state. We are thrilled with the Senator’s leadership as he takes this important step to implement a key recommendation coming from the Blockchain Working Group he helped create.”

Verifying credentials is often a time-consuming, paper-based process. Without adequate security, electronic credentials can be too easily forged and thus unreliable. The result is a time-consuming, unsecured system that adds friction to many business and government functions.

Blockchain-based credentialing systems saves time and enables secure showing of online credentials, verified for proof and under the individual’s control. A handful of universities and other institutions of higher education are exploring using blockchain to verify digital education records to help improve degree completion and student services.

Blockchain is a decentralized, online record-keeping system – or ledger – maintained by a network of computers that verify and record transactions using established cryptographic techniques. Each “block” in the “chain” contains a number of transactions, and every time a new transaction occurs, a record of that transaction is added to every participant’s ledger, thus making the data resistant to modification. In other words – blockchain is a system of recording information in a way that makes it difficult or impossible to change, hack, or cheat the system.