Retail Giant Target Hits Bullseye with New Blockchain Initiative

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Minnesota-based retail giant Target has now locked into a blockchain project earlier used by one of its suppliers as it shows a greater willingness to come on board with the new technology.

This now means that the international retailer, which remains the 8th largest in the US operating 1,851 stores across the country with 300,000 team members around the world, has officially entered the blockchain space.

Its two current supply support networks, ConsenSource and Hyperledger Grid, require hiring blockchain savvy staff to boost its distributed ledger technology-related work across the US, developing “distributed ledger systems, protocols, smart contracts, CLIs, and RESTful APIs in an open source environment”, according to recent employment opportunity advertising.

“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,” said Joel Crabb, Target’s vice president of architecture, adding:

“Many companies – including Target – see the most potential for enterprise blockchain initiatives as open source.”

He explained that open-source projects required all participating parties to define the governance model collectively allowing companies to “focus their time working on blockchain-based solutions that will lead to greater speed, transparency and cost savings”.

Target plans to join the Sawtooth Supply Chain project, which is currently working on documenting the provenance of food and other assets using the Sawtooth implementation of Hyperledger, although the retail giant is not yet a member.

Rival Walmart uses Food Trust for its tracking, also a Hyperledger implemented project developed by IBM. Target’s use of blockchain had been low key up until recently until hiring Aarthi Srinivasan from IBM as its director of product management for personalization, machine learning, and blockchain, in 2016.

With Sawtooth, Target is clearly showing its intention to conduct what it calls “a broad migration of many mainframe-based systems and middleware products to a modern platform” relating to supply chain management.


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