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.
Blockchain has achieved enough recognition and use so it no longer is a fad, but neither is it a panacea. Companies and organizations are discovering limitations to its usefulness as they embrace what they originally thought was the answer to all their concerns. While some of these hopes have been found wanting, the new cryptographic record-keeper is still evolving, and it ultimately may develop into a tool with utility far beyond current expectations.
Blockchain, the digital ledger technology, offers an immutable record of a transaction based on a distributed consensus algorithm. The technology gained notoriety through the use of bitcoin, the digital commodity. However, experts say that the blockchain technology has moved well beyond its initial underpinning role. “Bitcoin is basically like the Model T of blockchain technology, because it was the first one,” says Lee McKnight, associate professor, School of Information Studies, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York.
Officials with the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate are exploring the potential for blockchain technology to prevent fraudulent government documents as agencies consider transitioning from paper-based processes to digital. And they’re not interested in cheap imitations.
Congressional leaders guiding the Congressional Blockchain Caucus are finding that part of their informative role necessitates distinguishing between the infamous dark web capabilities of digital commodities and the groundbreaking capabilities that a blockchain platform can offer as an advanced technology.
Blockchain, also described as a distributed cryptographic digital ledger, provides a verified record of transactions that is immutable or unchangeable. Legislators purport that the powerful capability, which some say could transform the economy, can be applied well beyond digital commodities for use in such sectors as healthcare, defense, supply chain management and cybersecurity.
A prototype U.S. Navy program is turning to blockchain technology to help track aviation parts throughout their life cycles. The approach automates what is now a mostly manual process and provides aircraft maintenance personnel with accurate, detailed information about each part’s origins and order/reorder status.
As the tentacles of technology reach further and deeper into mainstream uses, their influence on the job market, man-machine interactions, government agencies and the military will grow exponentially. Capabilities once thought of as fodder for science fiction have become science fact at such unpredictable speeds organizations will need to understand the implications quickly if they hope to take advantage of the benefits they offer and not fall behind the curve.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has awarded $192,380 to Factom, Inc., a start-up based in Austin, Texas, to begin beta testing of a capability that uses blockchain technology to secure Internet of Things (IoT) data, according to a DHS announcement. The award was part of the fourth and final phase of S&T’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP). Factom will explore the opportunities to use blockchain technology with sensors, cameras and other critical infrastructure, to protect the integrity and authenticity of data collected by the devices.