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US Homeland Security in Factom blockchain grant for securing credentials, imports

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Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) awarded $197,292 to Texas-based Factom to develop a blockchain security system for imports such as raw materials into the country.

The award was made by DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) to create and verify digital identities of importers and detect import frauds. The aim is to issue credentials to enhance security and prevent forgery and counterfeiting.

Factom’s project is focused on interoperability between blockchains and systems. Factom’s own public blockchain not only stores any type of data but also cryptographically anchors itself to the public Bitcoin blockchain. It’s not dissimilar to adding a digital fingerprint. The number of nodes in the Bitcoin blockchain is so much bigger that’s it’s almost impossible to tamper with it.

“Data-centric blockchains that can work with any type of data are useful in enterprise contexts such as those of U.S. Customs and Border Protection for understanding the origin of raw material imports,” said Anil John, S&T’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP) Technical Director.

John 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.”

The Phase 1 award was made under S&T’s SVIP Other Transaction Solicitation for ‘Preventing Forgery & Counterfeiting of Certificates and Licenses’. Under the SVIP program, companies are eligible for up to $800,000 of funding over four phases, with $200,000 in each. The goal is to develop commercial technologies for homeland security use cases.

This is the second grant for Factom from the DHS, previously receiving $192,380 to develop a digital identity for the Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The first project in 2016 was for border protection devices such as cameras and motion sensors to ensure the device data was not tampered with.

The DHS has been actively exploring blockchain applications and has made several grants in the past few weeks.

Company Grant type
Danube Tech Credentialing for customs and immigration
Transmute Industries Credentialing and digital identity for raw material imports
Mavennet Systems Tracking cross-border oil imports
Digital Bazaar Interoperable identity and credential management
SICPA Product Security Decentralized digital identity