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DHS tackles counterfeiting with blockchain

November 15, 2019

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has awarded $199,984 (€181,326) to Digital Bazaar based in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA, to develop blockchain security technology.

The Phase 1 award was made under S&T’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP) Other Transaction Solicitation Preventing Forgery & Counterfeiting of Certificates and Licenses seeking blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) solutions to fulfil a common need across DHS missions, the announcement stated.

DHS operational components, such as US Customs and Border Protection, the Transportation Security Administration, and US Citizenship and Immigration Services, issue, validate and verify eligibility requirements; licenses and certifications for travel, citizenship, and immigration status; employment eligibility; and supply chain security. Current issuance processes are often paper-based, do not facilitate data exchange, and use among systems and could be susceptible to loss, destruction, forgery and counterfeiting.

S&T is exploring the application of blockchain and DLT to issue credentials digitally to enhance security, ensure interoperability, and prevent forgery and counterfeiting.

Digital Bazaar Phase 1 award project “Interoperable Enterprise Identity and Credential Life-cycle Management” will enhance their existing product offering that supports emerging global World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) security, privacy and interoperability standards such as Decentralised Identifiers and Verifiable Credentials with enterprise workforce and credential lifecycle management features. Digital Bazaar proposes to build out its digital credentialing and blockchain application solution to build a viable credentialing product for large organisations with the long-term goal to bring its customised solution to market.

“Deploying innovative credential issuance technologies within mature organisations requires integration with existing technology and processes to manage the lifecycle of digital credentials,” said Anil John, SVIP Technical Director. “Digital Bazaar building out the enterprise credential lifecycle management capabilities of their existing platform while utilising emerging W3C global standards mitigates enterprise risk in supporting and utilising these standards within and across organisations.”

SVIP is one of S&T’s programmes and tools to fund innovation and work with private sector partners to advance homeland security solutions. Companies participating in SVIP are eligible for up to $800,000 (€725,407) of non-dilutive funding over four phases to develop and adapt commercial technologies for homeland security use cases.

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