The U.S. Department of Homeland SecurityÃ¢ÂÂs research and development wing, the Science & Technology (S&T) Directorate, on Friday awarded $817,712 in total to five blockchain startups in a bid to reimagine the federal governmentÃ¢ÂÂs anti-forgery and counterfeit prevention operations.
From creating digital Social Security Number alternatives to building e-commerce tracing systems, the winners have up to six months to develop blockchain proofs-of-concepts for DHSÃ¢ÂÂ client agencies. S&TÃ¢ÂÂs Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP), essentially an equity-free tech accelerator within S&T, is funding the round.
- Spherity GmbH received $145,000 to develop a Ã¢ÂÂdigital twinÃ¢ÂÂ record of inbound e-commerce packages. The German companyÃ¢ÂÂs system would share critical information among parties without compromising privacy, SVIP said. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the client.
- New Zealand-based MATTR LIMITED will build U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services a digitally issued essential worker license using its $200,000 prize. S&T officials said COVID-19Ã¢ÂÂs work shutdowns have proven the need for distributed, verifiable digital credentialing systems that get essential staff back to work.
- Mesur.IO will retrofit its Earthstream environmental analytics platform for CBPÃ¢ÂÂs food-tracing efforts. With $193,612, the North Carolina firm plans to identify and track toxins, pathogens and other undesirables across the supply chain.
- SVIP veteran SecureKey Technologies has now won an additional $193,000 to create a digital alternative to the Social Security Number that gives its holder full informational control. DHS is already under departmental order to phase out the highly insecure SSN, and Toronto-based SecureKey could play a part in that.
- Mavennet Systems, also an SVIP regular, this time won $86,100 to digitally trace natural gas shipments between the U.S. and Canada, its home country. CBP said it aims to use MavennetÃ¢ÂÂs Neoflow platform to give regulators a better look inside cross border gas exchanges in accordance with the USMCA trade agreement.
- S&T said it chose the five winners from 80 applicants who competed for funding following the directorateÃ¢ÂÂs June industry day.
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