It was announced September 25, 2017, by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), that software company Digital Bazaar Inc. has been awarded a contract of $749,241 from the Small Business Innovation Program (SBIR) to develop blockchain-based identity and access management solutions. The SBIR is designed to create more innovation among small businesses that support the DHS's mission, and has funded other blockchain projects in the past.
Digital Bazaar will develop and implement a software ecosystem encompassing a blockchain protocol that interacts with digital credentials and wallets, that is fit to meet various use-cases for the Homeland Security Enterprise. The project will go forward under the management of Cyber Security Division's (CSD's) Identity Management project.
“Blockchain technologies have the potential to revolutionize the way we manage online identity and access the internet,” explained CSD director Douglas Maughan. “This [research and development] project will help bring this potential closer to reality.”
Digital Bazaar's project titled "Fit-for-Purpose Blockchains/Identity and Access Management" will endeavor to generate standards for digital credentials that work with a customized "fit-for-purpose" blockchain. Intended to be positioned as a "Ledger as a Service", the platform will be deployed to several HSE pilot projects for testing.
According to S&T Identity Management program manager Anil John, existing blockchain models lack open standards. He said:
“Current blockchain implementations do not use any type of open standards to describe the data they work with. At the same time, scalable deployment requires such interoperability. This blockchain project will deliver a solution that uses open standards developed via existing worldwide standards development organizations to ensure interoperability across blockchain implementations.”
Blockchain technology can provide an integral tool for the CSD's continued efforts to develop security enhancements for the resilience of the nation’s critical information infrastructure, in accordance with the organization’s mission.