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United States’ DHS awards firm ~$200K to track raw materials using blockchain

Manu Naik

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In a press release published on its website, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that its Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has awarded $197,292.00 to Factom, a purported blockchain innovations company in Austin, Texas, to develop a blockchain security system. According to the press release, this system will enable agencies to create and verify identities, while aiding in the detection of fraud involving imports such as raw materials.

The DHS also announced that S&T is currently exploring the blockchain applications of the digital issuance of credentials, “to enhance security, ensure interoperability and prevent forgery.”

In its Phase 1 award project, ‘Applying Cross-Blockchain Technology to Help Prevent Forgeries or Counterfeiting of Certificates and Licenses,’ Factom proposes a platform that would help organizations manage certificates and licenses associated with tracking raw material imports. The release also claimed that the platform will run via an open system through which the provenance of issued credentials will be ensured. Additionally, the DHS said,

“This approach will provide mechanisms to ensure that any relevant business constraints are not violated, allowing for the selective disclosure of process-relevant information and improving auditability, accountability, transparency and efficiency.”

The Phase 1 award was made under the S&T Silicon Valley Innovation Program’s (SVIP) ‘Other Transaction Solicitation’ call to the ‘Preventing Forgery & Counterfeiting of Certificates and Licenses’ federal contract opportunity.

In a 2017 report, ‘Big Four’ accounting firm Deloitte had spoken of how sharing a unique blockchain across different stakeholders of the supply chain would ensure exchanged and manipulated wares are authenticated, making information accessible, while preventing potential fraud.

In the DHS release, Technical Director of the SVIP at S&T, Anil John, spoke of how data-centric blockchains are capable of working with any type of data and are useful in enterprise contexts, such as the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, for understanding the origin of raw material imports. He added,

“Factom is addressing this business and technical problem in a manner that supports global interoperability by adapting their existing Harmony products to support emerging World Wide Web Consortium global standards such as decentralized identifiers and verifiable credentials.”

Manu is a full-time journalist at AMBCrypto covering the US and Indian markets. A graduate in engineering, he writes mainly about regulations and its impact with a focus on technological advancements in the crypto space.