- Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will begin to use blockchain technology to verify NAFTA and CAFTA certificates of origin next month, American Shipper reports.
- Speaking at a conference on Wednesday, CBP Business Transformation and Innovation Division Director Vincent Annunziato reportedly said that the pilot aimed at free trade agreement certificate verification will begin in September, but he also explained several other applications for the blockchain that CBP is exploring.
- Annunziato added that if blockchain gets the buy-in from all players — which include the private sector and CBP's 47 partner government agencies — it could lead to paperless borders.
Since foreign documents carry a plethora of seals and marks to prove their authenticity, a central, incorruptible distributed ledger that can prove the authenticity of the document itself could grease the skids at borders.
In addition to more effectively and efficiently verifying physical documents, blockchain technology could also increase the security of CBP's data and networks. And the agency also hopes the technology will be helpful in identifying trademark violations and other intellectual property abuses.
In June, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate awarded a Texas blockchain startup, Factom, $192,000 to begin beta-testing its software with CBP, reported NextGov. The award was part of DHS's Silicon Valley Innovation Program, which is designed to help speed the development and adoption of technologies that could contribute to the U.S. national security.
Factom is using blockchain software to secure CBP's cameras and sensors from duplication or "spoofing" in an ongoing pilot study.
It's yet unclear if Factom is involved in next month's pilot and CBP did not respond to Supply Chain Dive's request for more information regarding technology partners for the September pilot in time for publication.