US Retailer Target Open Sources Blockchain Application for Supply Chain Tracking

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This application serves as a common platform to verify and display supplier certifications and audit data between standards bodies, certification bodies and factories.

Blockchain digital technology concept

United States-based retail giant Target has developed an open source blockchain application for supply chain tracking.

In mid-2018, Target began a pilot test using blockchain technology to manage the certification of suppliers in its paper product manufacturing unit. This blockchain application has now been open sourced as ‘ConsenSource’ on GitHub.

According to the GitHub documentation, ConsenSource is built on blockchain platform Hyperledger Sawtooth, one of the Hyperledger projects hosted by the Linux Foundation.

ConsenSource is described in the GitHub documentation as –

ConsenSource is a blockchain application to help verify that products are sourced sustainably from certified factories. Specifically, this application serves as a common platform to verify and display supplier certifications and audit data between standards bodies, certification bodies and factories.

Exploring the Benefits of Blockchain

In an official blog post, Joel Crabb, Vice President of architecture at Target, explains the benefits of keeping enterprise blockchain initiatives as open source, saying:

“… the largest obstacle to implementing a distributed ledger is getting multiple companies to agree on which data are stored in the blockchain and how the system will be operated and governed. To achieve this close interaction among corporate entities, many companies – including Target – see the most potential for enterprise blockchain initiatives as open source. 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.”

The ConsenSource repository includes several components:

  • A transaction processor to handle the certification registry’s transaction logic
  • A custom REST API that provides endpoints for accessing blockchain data, user information and state data
  • An event subscriber that listens to blockchain events in order to parse this data to store this data in an off-chain reporting database
  • Multiple client web apps to give a sample of the interactions each entity may have with the ConsenSource application, including standards bodies, certification bodies, factories and retailers
  • A command line interface with basic initial commands to create state objects, including agents, organizations, certificates, standards and accreditations
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