DHS Science and Technology Directorate Pursues Blockchain Interoperability Infrastructure

September 27, 2019

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) awarded $143,478 to Danube Tech GmbH, a company based in Vienna, Austria, to develop blockchain security technology, the agency reported in a statement. The award was made under S&T’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP) Other Transaction Solicitation Preventing Forgery and Counterfeiting of Certificates and Licenses. The agency has identified blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) as a priority solution fors DHS missions.

DHS' U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Transportation Security Administration, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services can all benefit from DLT solutions, the agency noted. They all 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," an agency official stated. "S&T is exploring the application of blockchain and DLT to issue credentials digitally to enhance security, ensure interoperability, and prevent forgery and counterfeiting."

Under the contract award, Danube Tech will integrate interoperability support for multiple credential data formats, blockchain platforms and standardized and open application programming interfaces into their existing decentralized identifier (DID) registrar and DID resolver products for credential issuance and identity verification, DHS stated.

“Danube Tech is building core interoperability infrastructure for issuers and verifiers,” said Anil John, SVIP technical director. “Interoperability between blockchains is enabled by using emerging World Wide Web Consortium standards to globally resolve and find information where it exists on a particular blockchain.”

DHS S&T is relying on the SVIP contract vehicle 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 of non-dilutive funding over four phases to develop and adapt commercial technologies for homeland security use cases, the agency specified.

For more information about future SVIP solicitations, visit  https://www.dhs.gov/science-and-technology/svip or contact dhs-silicon-valley@hq.dhs.gov.

For more information about S&T’s innovation programs and tools, visit https://www.dhs.gov/science-and-technology/business-opportunities.

Enjoyed this article? SUBSCRIBE NOW to keep the content flowing.