US Homeland Security Challenges Freelancers to Design It a Digital Wallet

DHS officials are putting up $25,000 in cash prizes to designers who win the month-long competition.

AccessTimeIconSep 17, 2020 at 4:32 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 9:57 a.m. UTC
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U.S. Homeland Security’s moonshots division, the Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), is trying to crowdsource a digital wallet.

  • Directorate officials are putting $25,000 up for grabs in their new digital wallet challenge, a user interface design competition to pair with DHS’s work in the blockchain and decentralized identity space.
  • Finalist wallets must demonstrate “ease of use and visual consistency, while supporting interoperability, security, and privacy,” said Anil John, technical director of S&T’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP).
  • Winning wallets could find a home inside DHS’ growing blockchain project portfolio. John mentioned how one DHS customer is implementing a decentralized credentialing system for issuing digital Green Cards. 
  • Though S&T has been finding and funding blockchain companies through SVIP for years, it has never taken a design challenge to the public like it's doing now, Kathleen Kenyon, S&T prize program manager told CoinDesk. 
  • “We’re trying to reach that freelance designer,” Kenyon said. She noted that while S&T has plenty of contacts within software development, it has less of a foothold in the graphic design community. 
  • For a freelance target audience, S&T is offering a freelancer’s stipend: $5,000 to the three finalists and an additional $10,000 to the competition winner.
  • Kenyon said the rather low trove is sort of the point; it will appeal more to the community-level designers than it might to big corporations, and it also will let S&T run these kinds of competitions more often, she said.
  • Applications are open through Oct. 15 and the stage one finalists will be announced at a virtual SVIP event on Oct. 27. Judges will announce the winner sometime in December.


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