DHS Awards Small Companies to Explore Blockchain Technology

August 16, 2016 10:52 UTC

In a bid to tap into the blockchain technology, the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has awarded small businesses with the task of supporting identity verification.

Four small businesses have each been awarded $100,000 in preliminary funding through the DHS S&T Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. In a statement, the DHS revealed that the four companies involved are Digital Bazaar, Inc., Respect Network Corporation, Narf Industries, LLC, and Celerity Government Solutions, LLC.

As well as the initial $100,000 funding, each of the four companies are entitled to further funding based on the initial results they produce and its scientific and technical merit and perceived commercialization potential.

With more organizations turning to blockchain they are realizing the benefits that the technology can present. For example, it can deliver a high level of security and privacy in addition to storing a wealth of information in a secure environment.

As a result, the DHS directorate has been working with blockchain technology in inventive ways over the past year. In June, it awarded a $199,000 contract to Austin-based Factom Inc., with the task of utilizing blockchain to advance the security of digital identity for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Last year, CCN reported that the DHS was accepting proposals from small companies with less than 500 people covering ten areas, which include blockchain technology.

In addition to the four companies focusing on blockchain technology, the DHS also awarded $100,000 to nine other companies. Three focused on remote identity proofing alternative to knowledge-based authentication and verification; four worked on developing the capability to predict and prevent malware; and two dealt with real-time assessment of resilience and preparedness.

Introduced in 2004, the DHS S&T SBIR Program is a competitive contract awards program aimed at increasing the involvement of new and imaginative small businesses in the U.S. in federal research and development initiatives. It also works at increasing private-sector commercialization of SBIR-funded solutions.

Featured image from Gil C via Shutterstock.