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Singapore's Government developed OpenAttestation, an open-source framework to support endorsement and verification of documents using the blockchain. With this, an easy and reliable way to issue and validate tamper-proof certificates is readily available to the Government as well as any adopters locally or internationally.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

With the advent of digitalisation in all facets of life, we see a proliferation in document exchanges – be it education, health or even shipping. To respond effectively and efficiently to challenges, such as forgery or fraudulence, it was important for the public sector to explore an agile, seamless yet easy solution to tackle this issue. This resulted in the development of the OpenAttestation (OA) framework to reduce the possibilities of illegal or fake results as well as provide relevant authorities a means for verification.

OA by the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) is part of Singapore’s Smart Nation Initiative. It is built upon the Ethereum blockchain for veracity, simply checking against a blockchain hash value. It also enables trusted provenance to ensure that the document is validated against the authority of issuance. This makes OA a secure solution for issuance, authentication, and verification without the need for proprietary software of equipment. The fundamental framework was developed by a lean team of six developers, designers, and managers in a span of three months through agile methodology and application of cryptography that was inspired by the possibilities of blockchain. The first practical innovation that catalysed and was built upon the OA framework began with OpenCerts, tamper-proof educational and vocational certificates. This stemmed from a conversation with an institute of higher learning that was looking at reducing administrative burden for its staff. The project was ambitious, not just in terms of technology but in regards to the transformation of the certification paradigm. To drive global adoption and allow anyone to freely participate in using the framework it was imperative that OA provided a decentralised database with no single point of failure; without a centralised server or need for backend integration.

The maritime industry has also benefited from such developments through the TradeTrust project, where digital bills of ladings can be exchanged through inoperability between government and businesses. More recently in 2021, stirred by the pandemic and to support safe reopening of borders, a team of eight at Singapore's Government Technology Agency also embarked on the HealthCerts initiative, which authenticates and endorses Covid certificates – Pre-Departure Tests, Vaccination and Recovery Certificates. It is arguably the world’s first health certificate built upon the blockchain. It has also been made interoperable to be recognised by the European Union’s standards as well as 45 non-EU countries. In addition, HealthCerts can be verified online at It can be read by any QR reader or camera-enabled mobile device without the need for proprietary software to render a human-readable, authenticated certificate. Countries’ border authority would simply require internet connectivity and whitelist the domain. In the case of TradeTrust and HealthCerts, the adoption must (and has) spread beyond Singapore. This is achieved through public-private partnerships that help drive the “global recognition” facet. There was also interest from other countries for adoption.

As OA is open source, the private sector can easily incorporate the technology into its products, driving usage outside the public sector. One example is the joint release between GovTech and Ministry of Health on standards and schema for digital documentation Covid test results through HealthCerts. A common framework avoids the need for organisations to reinvent the wheel and achieve faster time to market as well as develop marketplaces to the fit the local context. The objectives of OpenAttestation:

  1. Reduce transaction and submission of fraudulent documents
  2. Ensure document integrity
  3. Check issuance status

Innovation Description

What Makes Your Project Innovative?

This is the first blockchain or cryptographic-based innovation in the Singapore Government at scale and is also open-source. Compared to other emerging solutions, OA allows for decentralised verification, and there is no need for integration with a public key directory. It contains advanced features that also allow selective disclosure and rendering documents with custom templates.

What is the current status of your innovation?

As a ready and available product, it’s currently at the growth stage as we engage more countries and cities, while simultaneously enhancing the service offering and user experience. Essentially, with such a framework in place we can ensure scalability and base integration quickly, without the need for complex infrastructure. And by aligning with international standards, as well as open sourcing our codes, we are able reduce the barriers to entry and integration.

Innovation Development

Collaborations & Partnerships

OpenAttestation is built around the notion of a “cohesive ecosystem” and innovation. Among the collaborators and partners were government officials from Health and Education agencies who provide tech solutions, guided by public policy, to their perceived problem statements. Private companies were key partners as they brought their expertise in technology and their extensive global network to provide support. Finally, engaging with citizens allowed for developing research and community engagement to better enhance the user experience.

Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries

Products built using OA framework, like OpenCerts and HealthCerts allowed to make certificates easily retrievable and disseminated, while ensuring credibility and authenticity to the document. Citizens were benefitted from this heightened accessibility, documents can be accessed on digital wallets as well. The innovation allowed the government to save significant resources previously dedicated to human resources. For example, in the case of HealthCerts, the annual saving is roughly about S$400,000. Finally, companies benefited from the innovation because of new business opportunities, faster time to market, and additional opportunities to innovate.

Innovation Reflections

Results, Outcomes & Impacts

Some 18 local institutions are benefiting from OpenCerts in terms of manpower and resources. Students now are better able to share their academic and training documents with potential employees, whether in the local or internationally recognised context. The GovTech innovation has allowed for additional product development into major or critical industries including education, health, and maritime which is a bedrock to Singapore’ success. Successes have been measured in terms of adoption by end-users as well as private companies. The interest from foreign nations as well as media coverage amplifies the positive results and successes of the initiative. This can point towards the idea that the Singapore Government’s direction is steadfast towards ensuring digital innovation. To-date more than 5m certificates have been issued and we also have 14 technology providers onboard with issuance, in over 30 locations, and across 700 medical institutions.


Challenges and Failures

There are inevitable teething issues when organisations with differing motivations come together. After all, the public sector is guided by public policy while private entities are profit driven. This can lead to a different prioritisation of product roadmaps and extra effort must be put in to understand the perspective of each side for smoother coordination.

Conditions for Success

While products based off OA have seen wide success in Singapore and overseas, the team continues to explore ways to inspire and expand globally, while retaining the founding principles. We aim to encourage partnerships and drive adoption, our engineering principles on using open standards will be key to success and adoption.


There has been private sector application of the OpenAttestation framework internationally, such as towards issuing academic certificates and a pilot on helping farmers deliver sustainable cashmere by companies like Trybe.ID. Such innovation is only possible through the internal capability building of the Singapore Government. As part of the roadmap, the team will look to expand Open Attestation’s utility to enable the Singapore public sector to quickly create, maintain, and disseminate verifiable digital certificates. The team is also exploring other industries and sectors, such as charity, that could benefit from such an endorsement and verification framework, along with few interested agencies in the pipeline.

Lessons Learned

As the proverb goes, no human is an island and the same can be said for successful innovation. The reach through tripartite efforts of policy, communications, and technology was paramount to success. It enabled the network to reach other governments, technology providers, and citizens and to proliferate the use, adoption, and acceptance of the framework.

Anything Else?

OpenAttestation has been reviewed by the Digital Public Goods Alliance (DPGA) and discerned as a digital public good in alignment with the Digital Public Goods Standard. The DPAG is an initiative jointly supported by the current co-hosting entities, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), UNDP, and UNICEF.

Supporting Videos

Year: 2019
Level of Government: National/Federal government


  • Implementation - making the innovation happen

Innovation provided by:

Date Published:

25 July 2023

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