The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is seeking blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) based solutions from startups to enhance its anti-forgery and counterfeiting capabilities.
The Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) of the DHS announced in a press release earlier this week that they will be seeking counterfeiting solutions from startups with funding for start ups of up to $800,000 in non-dilutive funding. The solicitation from S&T is called “Preventing Forgery and Counterfeiting of Certificates and Licenses” and is part of the Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP).
The new funding program will be rolled out in four phases, with startups getting between $50,000 and $200,000 in funding for each phase. The phases are Proof-of-Concept Demo, Demo Pilot-ready Prototype, Pilot-test Prototype in Operation, and the final one being Test in Various Operational Scenarios.
The new solicitation is open to startups and small businesses that have not had a government contract in the past 12 months totaling $1 million or more and that have under 200 employees at the time of application. The proposed solution must be applicable to one of the use cases provided by the DHS: Identity Documents for Travel, Identity of Organizations and Organizational Delegates, Tribal Identity Documents for Travel, Citizenship, Immigration and Employment Authorization, Cross-Border Oil Import Tracking, and Origin of Raw Material Imports.
According to the press release, the solicitation was released in partnership with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). It is also the first solicitation released by the Silicon Valley Innovation Program that supports use-cases for USCIS. Anil John, the S&T SVIP Technical Director, said:
The broad Homeland Security mission includes the need to issue entitlements, licenses and certifications for a variety of purposes including travel, citizenship, employment eligibility, immigration status and supply chain security. Understanding the feasibility and utility of using Blockchain and distributive ledger technology for the digital issuance of what are currently paper-based credentials is critical to preventing their loss, destruction, forgery and counterfeiting.
This is not the only solicitation for small businesses and startups released by the Science and Technology Directorate. The first one was in December of 2015, named Innovation Other Transaction Solicitation (OTS) it was aimed at solutions to improve situational awareness and security measures for protecting Internet of Things (IoT) domains.