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Privacy-promoting techniques for digital credentials




MAS: Media Arts and Sciences

Faculty Supervisor:

Andy Lippman

Faculty email:


Apply by:

July 15, 2020



Project Description

We are seeking a UROP student to work on a joint project of the MIT Digital Currency Initiative and MIT Office of Open Learning. If you're interested, please email us a CV and a short paragraph describing your interest in the project and relevant experience (including your preferred programming language). MIT Open Learning is developing a new system for digital academic credentials that will be used for a variety of academic credentials at MIT as well as by partner institutions that are members of the Digital Credentials Consortium. A core principle behind this effort is to provide credentials that promote learner control and privacy. We use a standards-based approach, relying on W3C Verifiable Credentials and Decentralized Identifiers. We are looking for students who are interested in researching and/or implementing privacy-promoting technical approaches to credential content, use, and management. This research will be co-supervised with the Digital Currency Initiative, Some example use cases include: - Cryptographic accumulators (e.g. Merkle Tree-, RSA-, ECC-Based) for implementing credential status checks (such as whether a credential has been revoked) - Zero-knowledge approaches to attribute proofs (e.g. using CL signatures) - Methods for recovering control over a Decentralized Identifier (e.g. Shamir secret sharing)


Candidate should have a solid foundation in Math/C.S., an interest in cryptography, and proficiency in a programming language such as javascript, python, go, or c/c++. Coursework in crypto and systems security (6.857, 6.875, 6.858) is a plus. Experience with a smart contract programming language like Solidity is a plus.