U.S. Customs Representative Identifies Use-Case for Blockchain in Travel Security


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A representative from the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency has espoused his views on blockchain technology and how it could be used for biometric tracking in the travel security industry, as per reports from Skift, March 21, 2019.

U.S. Government Not Going All-In on Blockchain

Speaking at the JetBlue Technology Ventures Blockchain in Travel Summit in New York City on Wednesday, Sikina Hasham, program manager at the CBP, stated that the government is very much interested in using blockchain technology in the area of biometric tracking.

Hasham’s statement was in response to moderator David Post’s question inquiring what CBP’s “killer blockchain app” would be to enable interaction with other international customs organizations.

Hasham said:

“One area we’ve seen a significant amount of success in is facial comparison and biometric data. There is a service we’ve created to verify who an individual boarding an aircraft who is as they’re seeking admission into the United States. If we could have more data for the verification from another government party – that would be really great for us.”

However, Hasham noted that despite the ability of blockchain to streamline the intra-governmental data sharing process, obstacles still persist due to a lack of inter-organizational communication standards.

She highlighted that just because something can be run on a blockchain, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it needs to.

The U.S. government is following the wait and watch approach when it comes to embracing the emerging technology, at least for the time being. It is waiting for other companies and international governments to take the lead in the nascent space and then take its decisions accordingly.

She added:

“We’re usually not first adopters… the value proposition for government is missing, but we’re hungry for new technologies. We enjoy partnering with startups, particularly in Silicon Valley.”

Blockchain Bypasses Travel Blocks

While the blockchain sees new and unorthodox use-cases almost every single day, its use in bypassing government-imposed censorship is somewhat intriguing.

BTCManager reported on recently that an anti-authoritarian group in North Korea called the Cheollima Civil Defence (CCD) is issuing 200,000 anonymous Ethereum blockchain visas to visit the future Free Joseon (present North Korea) for as long as 45 days.

According to their website, the dissident group will commence issuing visas on March 24, 2019, with validity until the year 2029.

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