U.S. Department Of Homeland Security After Blockchain Proposals To Improve Government Processes


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently published a solicitation call that seeks proposals from companies that can leverage blockchain technology to improve government processes.

In its November 15, 2018, Other Transaction Solicitation (OTS) Call, the federal government promises to grant winning proposals funding of up to $800,000.

U.S’ biggest department sees value in blockchain

It’s a big move for the DHS, with the U.S government’s largest department already launching efforts to improve its work. As one of the most important federal government agencies, the DHS is responsible for the critical sector of public security.

Its mandate, therefore, includes key dockets like customs, immigration, border security, anti-terrorism, and cybersecurity among other functions.

As detailed in the OTS call for blockchain companies, the agency is keen on working with projects that would help develop solutions to problems the government faces concerning government-issued certificates, licenses, and attestations.

Areas of great concern will be in storage and management, issuance and verification, and ease-of-use of government credentials.

Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) can have a positive impact on the government’s programs and in effect be beneficial to the public.

In the OTS, the DHS states that emerging technology will enhance transparency and play a significant role in the “auditing of public service operations.”

Blockchain also gives the citizenship greater visibility into government operations, especially where the processes concerned are from different parties in the department.

“Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology, from a government perspective, hold the potential…to improve delivery of services to organizations and citizens.”

With the solicitation call, the agency hopes to have blockchain-based solutions deployed in all of its key areas, including customs, border protection, and immigration.

DHS also notes that the government can use blockchain and DLT to address challenges of forgery in certification in diverse fields, including education, travel, training, affiliation, and delegated authority among other areas.

Big chance for blockchain and DLT companies

According to OTS document, the DHS will fund the projects in four phases, with projects receiving between $50,000 and $200,000 in the first phase that will last three-to-six months. After that, successful projects will be eligible for additional funding in subsequent stages.

It means that a project that receives all four funding awards will have received between $200,000 and $800,000 in total over two years.

The solicitation call notes that the DHS will review all the applications at least three times, with potential winners picked at each review cycle.

The first review takes place on January 11, 2019, by which time all interested parties should have submitted their applications. Other reviews will be conducted on March 13 and May 23 next year.

The DHS has plans to have the future programs written in widely used programming languages and thus be available to the public.

Accordingly, such solutions “will be publicly documented, patent-free, royalty-free, and available to all.”

Other than offering to award $800,000 to selected projects, the DHS has expressed its willingness to fund successful projects throughout commercialization and implementation phases.

The U.S government department’s move is validation enough that blockchain has immeasurable value to the society, and could receive a major boost with similar governmental projects.

Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile assets and are very risky investments. Do your research and consult an investment professional before investing. Never invest more than you can afford to lose. Never borrow money to invest in cryptocurrencies.

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