The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP) has given a performance-based contract award to Factom Inc. The award will be used to develop cross-blockchain technology to help prevent the forgery and counterfeiting of certificates and licenses.
This is Factom’s second DHS SVIP award. The first award was in 2016 focused on using the blockchain to secure data collected by the U.S. Border Patrol’s sensors and cameras against spoofing, deletion or tampering. Factom continues to work with partners to roll out the internet of things (IoT) security technology at production scale.
Both DHS SVIP awards rely heavily on Factom’s blockchain-based digital identity solutions. The first award’s funding helped develop the foundation for that solution that was later commercialized as Harmony Connect, and the second award will be used to further develop Harmony Integrate.
In recent years, the evolution of digital identity technologies such as Blockchain, Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs), and Verifiable Credentials has laid the groundwork for software systems that can easily detect counterfeit claims. Delivered as part of the award will be an ecosystem for tracking and validating the claimed chain of custody of imported raw materials, including that those claims were made by verified members of the organizations within the supply chain. From the DHS solicitation, “Validating the point of origin for raw materials (ex., timber, diamonds, and precious metals) by [U.S. Customs and Border Protection] requires costly inspection and cannot be implemented at scale.”
While Factom Inc. focuses on building out the Integrate backend and web-based components, they have licensed the Off-Blocks mobile application, enabling users to easily manage their identities and issue claims. Built by Sphereon and Federate This, the Off-Blocks solution will communicate with Harmony Integrate, together delivering irrefutable digital evidence of raw material chain of custody.
In addition to verifiable credentials and digital identities, a major requirement of this award is interoperability between blockchains and systems. As phases progress, Factom will add support for identities and credentials stored on an additional blockchain. This will circumvent concerns about vendor lock-in and enable cooperation among organizations that may be leveraging different blockchains.
Phase One of this SVIP award is expected to complete in the first quarter of 2020, followed by the opportunity to move on to three additional phases for a total reward amount of up to $800,000.
For more information, the official press release can be found here.
Research reported in this blog post was supported by the Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate under award number 70RSAT19T00000006. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Department of Homeland Security.