The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has awarded as much as $600,000 in grants to six companies working on blockchain applications for the government.

According to a press release from earlier this week, the department’s Science and Technology Directorate has parceled out $3.1m in grants to 29 small businesses based in the US in areas focused on data analytics, connected devices and blockchain. Each company received about $100,000, the government said.

The funds came from the agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, following a solicitation period that began in December.

For the “applicability of blockchain technology to identity management and privacy protection”, grants were awarded to four companies: Digital Bazaar, Inc., Respect Network Corporation, Narf Industries LLC and Celerity Government Solutions LLC.

Two additional grants, for “blockchain applications for homeland security analytics”, were given to BlockCypher and RAM Laboratories LLC.

The grants come as governments worldwide, including the US government, look at the idea applying blockchain-based solutions to various areas.

Government interest grows

In April, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced that it was seeking a “secure messaging system” using a “decentralized ledger” for broadcasting encrypted communications.

Military alliance NATO has also indicated interest in this area, announcing a technology innovation contest in May. At the time, the agency said that this system would hypothetically see battlefield applications, as well as broader use for functions within the Department of Defense.

Other governmental organizations globally have pursued similar projects.

Last month, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the executive arm of the 53-member Commonwealth of Nations, unveiled a messaging app designed for law enforcement applications that uses the technology for establishing identity.

Image Credit: Mark Van Scyoc /

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