Target Makes Strategic Move with Open-Source Blockchain Solution

target and blockchain
Target has been working on a blockchain-powered solution for supply chain management, dubbed ConsenSource, with an eye on open source. | Source: Shutterstock; Edited by HVY Journalists

By HVY Journalists: Retail giant Target has flown mostly under the radar in terms of building its enterprise blockchain. However, they are no strangers to the industry. The Minnesota-based retailer has been working on a blockchain-powered solution for supply chain management – dubbed ConsenSource – since mid-2018.

Moreover, they have pledged to support the Hyperledger Grid project. The Hyperledger Grid project is a Linux Foundation ledger-based solution for all types of cross-industry supply chain scenarios.

The Hyperledger Grid is an open-sourced solution to building a robust and functional distributed ledger supply chain network and is in line with Target’s decision to recently make its ConsenSource product open source.

Additionally, the eighth-largest retailer in the U.S is looking for a blockchain engineer and systems developer. Their role will be to contribute to the recently opened ConsenSource as well as Hyperledger Grid.

It is an interesting approach taken by Target. Retailers of this magnitude, which also include blockchain-vested Walmart, are highly competitive. By working on blockchain solutions with an open source mindset, Target will share in the innovation but potentially benefit elsewhere.

Target’s Blockchain Aim

Blockchain is advancing in the realm of supply chain management at an exceptional rate. There has been mass involvement from significant enterprises in a bid to take advantage of the technology in shipping and logistics.

Walmart has famously joined IBM’s Food Trust to ensure the tracking of food from farm to plate on the distributed ledger.

ConsenSource, as a solution for Target, has been focusing in on certification of suppliers for the company’s paper manufacturing. Joel Crabb, Target’s vice president, explained in a blog post:

“Working directly with the forest managers and certification boards” studying the technology and trying to figure out what data can be shared on a distributed ledger.”

Open Source Approach

Target’s move toward blockchain technology came about from seeing what their food partner Cargill was doing with the technology. Crabb added:

“I’m proud that Target will support the Hyperledger Grid project, and that we’re committing dedicated engineering resources to build out components in the Grid architecture.”

It is clear that Target, having seen and learned from its partners, understands the power of collaboration in a nascent space. Additionally, there are consortiums and groups, like HyperLedger, that propagate an open source approach.

While this new blockchain edge may be a vital tool for any significant corporation using supply chain, it is applaudable that Target is not going the way of patenting and corporate monopoly.

Blockchain is inherently open sourced and thrives under those situations. It will be interesting to see how far Target can move the needle of the blockchain supply chain space with this approach.