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Business Transformation and Innovation Division

The mission of Business Transformation and Innovation Division (BTID) is to actively engage in the future strategic vision of the Office of Trade (OT) to provide strong foundations of future technology investments which will facilitate, secure, and reduce costs related to the movement of cargo.  Assessing and analyzing new technologies within the parameters of CBP’s business needs, providing a futuristic vision on products and software so that the agency can proactively pursue changes in the technical environment.

Proofs of Concept

CBP's OT, Trade Transformation Office (TTO), BTID develops blockchain proofs of concept (POC) with trade partners serving on the Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC).  A POC is a short assessment used to demonstrate the feasibility of a specific concept or theory, utilizing a fail fast methodology.  At the completion of a proof of concept, a 360 degree assessment is completed, evaluating four primary areas: Legal, Policy, Technical, and Operational.

Completed Proofs of Concept

NAFTA/CAFTA Proof of Concept - In September 2018, CBP conducted the North American Free Trade Agreement/Central America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA/CAFTA) POC, which tested the application of blockchain technology for the entry summary submission process for NAFTA/CAFTA entries.  Read the complete assessment and report of the NAFTA/CAFTA POC.

An assessment of the technology, along with the policy and legal issues raised by the POC, was conducted following the test.  It found that use of the blockchain achieved almost instantaneous communications between CBP and trade, improved documentation of receipt, and expedited processing for CBP.  Other benefits included:

  • Easier access to back-up documentation when required.
  • Easier access to importer/more direct communication; and
  • Enhanced targeting;
  • Full data (CO, entity data, etc.) received with initial submission of entry summary;
  • Potential issues captured early on;
  • Eliminated manual documentation requirements and duplicative data entry;

Intellectual Property Rights Proof of Concept - In September 2019, CBP conducted the Intellectual Property Rights POC, which tested a blockchain technology that facilitates shipments based on known licensing relationships (Licensor and sub licensee relationships)  Read the complete assessment and report of the IPR POC here.

In-Progress Proofs of Concepts

Verifiable Credentials - Study to look at legitimizing a business or person via automation

  • Blockchain Interoperability standard that will help ensure legitimacy of a business via 3rd party consensus
  • CBP acting in oversight role

DHS University Initiative on Blockchain - Study to look at Purchase Order to Entry

  • Architectural/technical implications
  • Combines shipping and entry data
  • Look at starting data from Purchase Order submission
  • Reverse engineer Entry/Entry Summary Processes to remove dependency on Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS)
  • All modes of transportation
  • The Borders, Trade, and Immigration Institute (BTI) of the University of Houston recently published its final report on "Transforming Trade and Ensuring Global Supply Chain Security with Blockchain and Smart Contracats." 

Projects in Collaboration with the Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP), DHS Science and Technology (S&T)


  • Looking to track oil from spigot to importation
  • Properly apply NAFTA/CAFTA
  • Tests may be applicable to other like commodities


  • Looking to track timber from foreign concession to the United States
  • Obtain harvest guide at time of production
  • Deters alteration of harvest guide through the supply chain
  • Proper determination of country of origin
  • Proper determination of HTS and collection of duties


  • Looking to track steel from foreign manufacturer to the United States
  • Obtain certified mill test report at time of production
  • Deters alteration of mill test report through the supply chain
  • Proper determination of country of origin
  • Proper determination of HTS and collection of duties

Upcoming Proof of Concepts

Food Safety (TBD) with SVIP

  • Enhance the visibility of food supply chains (from farm to point of purchase)​​​
  • Enable the application of appropriate duties 
  • Reduce spoilage and waste
  • Reduce paper documents 
  • Expedite inspection times
  • Enhance targeting


Upcoming Speaking Engagements

EY Global Blockchain Summit 2020


Recent Speaking Engagements

WESCCON – October 10-13, 2019

Past Speaking Engagements

Innovation Summit – August 6-7, 2019

  • BTID hosted an Innovation Summit where we discussed what we learned in the past year, and discussed what other partner offices and agencies are doing in the realms of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and data analytics   

10x10 Day – June 4, 2019

  • BTID hosted the first-ever Office of Trade Proof of Concept pitch event. The 10x10 Blockchain proposal day was a great success, and had a total of 13 companies participating in the event.  Presentations were scored by both the Government and trade member attendees.
  • Walmart’s pitch placed first and focused on Food Safety as well as collaboration with additional government agencies. The proposal ideas were rated on Impact, Viability and Strategic Alignment.
  • As next steps, BTID will develop the Food Safety program POC in conjunction with DHS through their Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP).  BTID is also considering combining ideas from the other presentations to create additional proof of concept tests that can be done jointly since several were similar.

Do you have feedback for the Business Transformation and Innovation Division? Or do you have an innovative idea or product that may benefit the trade mission? Please send ideas and feedback via email to


Last modified: 
April 27, 2020