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Us homeland security holds competition for digital wallet

The designs will ideally be easy to reliable, intuitive, and capable of improving overall user experience

Homeland Security sign in Washington, DC
Homeland security is offering a total prize purse of $25,000.

The Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), the moonshots division of US Homeland Security, is currently working on crowdsourcing ideas for a digital wallet.

Officials from the directorate have announced through the official Homeland Security website that they will be giving away $25,000 in the new digital wallet challenge. This initiative is a user interface design competition that will complement the Department of Homeland Security’s work so far within the blockchain and decentralised identity space.

The S&T has explained that finalist wallets need to be able to demonstrate “ease of use and visual consistency, while supporting interoperability, security, and privacy.”

“Winning designs will be easy-to-use, trustworthy and improve the overall user experience and management of digital wallet-based credentials.” the announcement reads.

These criteria were explained by the technical director of S&T’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP), Anil John.

Digital wallets that qualify have the potential to be a part of the Department of Homeland Security’s growing blockchain project portfolio. John briefly mentioned one of their customers is currently working on the implementation of a decentralised credentialing system for issuing digital Green Cards.

Making Green Cards go digital can greatly help in making operations run in a more transparent and efficient manner, as the current process can take anywhere between seven to 33 months.

While S&T has been scouting for and funding blockchain companies through the SVIP for four years now, this is the first time that it has made a design challenge public. The Prize Program Manager of S&T, Kathleen Kenyon, revealed that they were working on reaching out to freelance designers. She explained that while the Directorate does have plenty of contacts within the software development industry, they have yet to establish a stable foundation in the graphic design community.

S&T is offering $5,000 to the three digital wallets that make it to the finals and an additional $10,000 to the overall winner of the competition.

Kenyon explained that the price point was meant to appeal more to community-level designers than to large corporations, and that it would also give the S&T leeway to organise more competitions of a similar nature in the future.

Applications for the competition will remain open until October 15, and finalists who have made it past stage one will be revealed at a virtual SVIP event on October 27. While the exact date has not yet been released, the winner of the competition will be announced sometime in December.

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