Target Makes Moves to Use a Distributed Ledger in Supply Chains

By Landon Manning

Retail giant Target (TGT) is planning to develop a blockchain-powered solution for the supply chain issues it deals with on a grand scale.

Forbes broke this news on June 10, 2019, claiming that the conglomerate is working on ConsenSource, a distributed ledger protocol powered by Hyperledger Sawtooth. Target has been planning such a move since 2018, but, until recently, these plans were kept largely under wraps.

ConsenSource is currently open source, however, showing a new willingness for the company to become increasingly public with this plan. In an official press correspondence in April, Target announced its support of Hyperledger Grid, an effort to make blockchain-powered supply chain solutions more accessible across a wide number of industries. According to this announcement, some of Target’s engineers will be working to build up Hyperledger Grid’s architecture.

This is not the first contact that Target has had with the Hyperledger Grid project, however. Cargill, one of Target’s largest food suppliers, has been involved with the project since January. According to Target’s blog post, this company was involved with the initial drive to turn Hyperledger Grid into a greater cross-industry blockchain project.

At this point, Target is showing a clear commitment to trying to develop these types of blockchain solutions and incorporate them into its own massive international supply chains. The company’s corporate site has posted an opening for a blockchain engineer position, claiming that this engineer will work with both ConsenSource and the Hyperledger Grid project to “build infrastructure to support blockchain and distributed ledger technologies” and “develop the blockchain roadmap and meet with partners.”

As of yet, the company’s most direct relationship between blockchain technology and the shipping of physical goods has been in its massive consumption of paper. In the blog post, the company’s Vice President of Architecture Joel Crabb described its attempts to create a “proof of concept to help manage the certification of suppliers in our own branded paper product manufacturing,” which worked “directly with the forest managers and certification boards” involved from the earliest steps of this long chain.

With more resources devoted to the project, Target will ideally be able to construct a clear precedent for blockchain technology’s use on a massive scale.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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