Badges, surely, are a way of recognising achievement. They don’t solve any problems, nor explain anything. What they do do is allow an alternative way of enabling people to feel motivated (and, in some cases patronised, but that is another matter), and an alternative way for onlookers to judge whether they believe the individual has the knowledge/skills required for a role.
a comment by @patparslow on a post Badges: talking at cross purposes? | dougbelshaw.com/blog
The whole conversation started by Doug Gaining Some Perspective on Badges for Lifelong Learning is fascinating (some flying over my head).