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US Homeland Security in blockchain award to track oil imports

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The Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has awarded $182,700 to Toronto-based Mavennet Systems to integrate its blockchain solution for cross-border oil imports.

The blockchain technology will primarily be used for tracking the oil and gas flow into the U.S. from Canada by the Customs Border Protection (CBP).

The contract to Mavennet was awarded under S&T’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP) for ‘Preventing Forgery & Counterfeiting of Certificates and Licenses’.

“Mavennet’s platform could provide this digital auditability while ensuring broad interoperability by supporting emerging World Wide Web Consortium standards such as decentralized identifiers and verifiable credentials,” said Anil John, S&T’s SVIP Technical Director.

In the first phase of the project, Mavennet will enable CBP to track oil imports and also build an end-to-end platform that can be used for other imported commodities. The initiative covers automation, physical measurement (likely through IoT) and integrating APIs for Customs so the solution can work with existing systems.

Mavennet’s technology is based on the AION blockchain, and the firm offers various enterprise solutions. According to its website, the startup has previously worked with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, Deloitte, Vodafone, Moog and the Toronto Stock Exchange. Mavennet says it has implemented a natural gas trading and exchange platform for an unnamed client that involved programmable smart contracts “at every level of the supply chain”.

The two Mavennet leaders, CEO Peter Mandic and Chief Maven Kesem Frank, are ex-Deloitte, and both have links to AION as either former director or co-founder. In 2017, the AION blockchain conducted an ICO that raised $20 million, and its market capitalization is now $32 million.

Meanwhile, the DHS has been actively exploring blockchain applications for border security and customs. Last month, it granted a contract to digital identity firm Danube Tech for credentialing.

A few months ago, the DHS outlined its blockchain vision. The customs department is at the forefront of using the new technology to verify that shipments into the country comply with trade agreement such as NAFTA and CAFTA.

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