Target Working on Blockchain-Powered Supply Chain Solution

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Target is looking for new blood to boost development on its blockchain-powered supply chain management solution.

The retail giant has reportedly been working on the solution, dubbed ConsenSource, since mid-2018. According to the company’s career page, it’s now looking to hire a blockchain engineer and systems developer.

The new engineer will be working on both ConsenSource, which recently became open-source, and on Hyperledger Grid to develop “distributed ledger systems, protocols, smart contracts, CLI’s, and RESTful APIs in an open source environment.

Target had recently pledged support for the Hyperledger Grid supply chain framework. Joel Crabb, the company’s vice president of architecture, writes in an April 2019 post on Target’s corporate blog, “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.

Open source support

ConsenSource was originally focused primarily on providing certification of suppliers for Target’s paper manufacturing arm. Studying the technology and exploring what other data can be shared on a distributed ledger led to Target recognizing the benefits of open-source projects.

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

Open-source projects require all participating parties to define the governance model collectively from the outset, so companies then can focus their time working on blockchain-based solutions that will lead to greater speed, transparency and cost savings.

Stealthy development

Target has, until now, largely been flying under the radar when it comes to its blockchain projects. In 2016, it brought JPMorgan and IBM alum Aarthi Srinivasan as its director of product management for personalization, machine learning, and blockchain.

In December of last year, it was revealed that the retail giant had been working on a supply chain solution under the open-source Hyperledger consortium.

Emily Fisher, a spokesperson for the Linux Foundation, which oversees Hyperledger, has confirmed that Target has indeed made code contributions but emphasized that the company is not a Hyperledger member.

For its part, Target noted in its last annual report to shareholders that it intends to invest in supply chain movements. No mention was made of either blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT) however.