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SBIR Phase II: International Blockchain-Backed Financial Transactions in Low-Bandwidth Environments

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2112021
Agency Tracking Number: 2112021
Amount: $855,394.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: DL
Solicitation Number: NSF 20-545
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-02-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-01-31
Small Business Information
United States
DUNS: 117060584
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Nathaniel Robinson
 (719) 338-6451
Business Contact
 Nathaniel Robinson
Phone: (719) 338-6451
Research Institution

The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project is to facilitate access to banking services through use of blockchain/distributed ledger technology, even with limited internet access. The proposed technology can make transfers more affordable and convenient. Digitizing transfers increases speed, reduces exchange and transfer fees, and lowers the risk associated with carrying cash.This proposed technology enables access for the 13 million people currently underserved by the financial industry.If successful, this technology could improve efficiency and resilience of transfers worldwide. The project's anticipated results include 60% cost reduction compared to traditional transfer systems,less than 30 second transaction completions, and an anticipated 0% fraud rate.This SBIR Phase II project proposes to research and develop a blockchain-based solution to store, send, and make transfers without a smartphone or internet. The proposed core technology includes a blockchain back-end that powers an Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) front-end, allowing mobile devices to securely send and receive data without an internet connection. This project’s intellectual merit lies in (1) developing the first-of-its-kind blockchain-based system for international transactions with access even in low bandwidth/no bandwidth environments; (2) creating a digital identity protocol that is distributed, accessible offline, and usable by any entity without exposing personally identifiable information (PII); and (3) developing the first machine learning-based microlending algorithms using offline behaviors to predict, prompt, and automate actions.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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