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Factom wins second DHS SVIP award to develop blockchain-based anti-forgery solution

Tue, 19 Nov 2019, 09:38 am UTC

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has awarded $197,292 to Austin-based blockchain firm Factom to develop a blockchain security system for raw material imports.

According to a press release dated Nov. 18, the Phase 1 award was made under S&T’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP). This marks the second DHS SVIP award granted to Factom with the first one awarded back in 2016 for the use of blockchain to secure data collected by the U.S. Border Patrol’s sensors and cameras against spoofing, deletion or tampering.

The latest announcement follows a solicitation issued by the DHS last November for blockchain solutions aimed at “preventing forgery and counterfeiting of certificates and licenses.”

Factom will develop a blockchain solution that will enable agencies to create and verify identities and help detect fraud involving imports, such as raw materials. Through an open system, the platform will enable the management of certificates and licenses associated with tracking raw material imports, ensuring the provenance of issued credentials.

DHS said that 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.”

Factom said that Phase 1 of this SVIP award is expected to complete in the first quarter of 2020. Thereafter, it will have the opportunity to move on to three additional phases for a total reward amount of up to $800,000.

The company pointed out that besides verifiable credentials and digital identities, a major requirement of this award is interoperability between blockchains and systems. For this, it said that it will add support for identities and credentials stored on an additional blockchain, which will help circumvent concerns about vendor lock-in and enable cooperation among organizations that may be leveraging different blockchains.

“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. “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.”

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