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US Dept. Of Homeland Security To Probe Blockchain Transactions

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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is gearing up to develop applications for blockchain forensic analytics to investigate blockchain transactions. Though it has the capability to address Bitcoin analytics, DHS is more interested in acquiring skills to analyze newer cryptocurrencies, such as Zcash and Monero, which have inbuilt anonymity and privacy protection.

The DHS has released a pre-solicitation notice on various topics as part of its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program. Part of that is "Blockchain Applications for Homeland Security Forensic Analytics."

The DHS says this notice is merely an opportunity for interested small business concerns to comment on or request information about various topics. The Government anticipates release of the final solicitation on or about December 19.

With regard to the topic "blockchain," the objective is to design a product to support the implementation of blockchain-based forensics, data analysis, and information sharing. It envisages information on specific technology areas such as encryption, authentication, cyber security, internet of things, and data analytics.

This proposal primarily seeks applications of blockchain forensic analytics for newer cryptocurrencies, such as Zcash and Monero, which are newer projects with the capability for anonymity and privacy protection.

The DHS is interested in tracing and understanding transactions and actions on the blockchain of an illegal nature. This proposal calls for solutions that enable law enforcement investigations to perform forensic analysis on blockchain transactions.

Additionally, the DHS requires the proposed solution to either attempt to show generality or extensibility, or at least provide working approaches to treating newer blockchain implementations due to the proliferation of new blockchain variants on a daily basis.

The proposal also takes into account the proliferation of blockchain technology beyond the cryptocurrency arena for everything from banking, charitable donations, supply chain tracking, to automatically executing "smart contracts" as well as transforming operations in government and the private sector.

Blockchain forensic analytics for the homeland security enterprise can help the DHS law enforcement and security operations across components as well as state and local law enforcement operations.

Private financial institutions can likewise benefit from such capabilities of the DHS in enforcing "know your customer" and anti-money laundering compliance.

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