Five retailers/brands that are all about the blockchain right now

These retailers and brands are leading the way in the blockchain/crypto space

1. Target

Target is working on a blockchain-powered solution for supply chain management, dubbed ConsenSource. And it has also announced support for the Hyperledger Grid project.

The retailer is in the process of looking for a blockchain engineer and systems developer. “I’m proud that we will support the Hyperledger Grid project, and that we’re committing dedicated engineering resources to build out components in the Grid architecture,” Joel Crabb, Target’s Vice President of Architecture, wrote in a blog post.

He noted that in mid-2018, the company began a blockchain proof of concept to help manage the certification of suppliers in its own branded paper product manufacturing. “In working directly with the forest managers and certification boards, we learned that standing up a blockchain is simple from a technology standpoint, but difficult in deciding what data should live on the distributed ledger. This work on a certification blockchain was recently open sourced as ConsenSource,” Crabb said.

“As ConsenSource progressed, Cargill’s (one of Target’s suppliers) work in creating supply chain middleware to store data and transactions on a blockchain came to our attention. As we learned more about the effort, Cargill and Intel took the project to Hyperledger, an open source collaborative hosted by Linux Foundation, and it became Hyperledger Grid,” he added.

Crabb concluded: “Maturity in this space will take time, but we’ll only get there when enterprise partners like Target and Cargill dive in together.

2. Cash@Maxx

Welsh High Street retailer, Cash@Maxx, has installed Lightning Network-powered Fastbitcoins PoS terminals across four of its locations in Wales.

The terminals let merchants print redeemable prepaid Bitcoin vouchers and take Bitcoin payments. Amit Mohan, Director at Maxx Group says: “Fastbitcoins have given us a slick piece of kit. A lot of customers have started talking to us about Bitcoin recently, which is why I began to look at how to use it and get ahead of the curve.”

“There are a lot of Bitcoin technology vendors out there but Fastbitcoins stood out. Their front and back-end technology was slick and not bulky like the ATM machines; the offering was transparent and easy to understand, and their team were friendly and knowledgeable. I’m excited to finally start offering this futuristic payment method.”

3. Dixy

Russian supermarket chain Dixy is onboard with a recently launched Ethereum-based trade finance platform.

Developed by blockchain startup Factorin, this will allow Dixy’s suppliers to receive payments within one business day instead of the previous two weeks. The platform connects with several banks and factoring companies (which facilitate the settlements between the retailer and multiple suppliers) via a single interface. Alfa Bank and Pervouralskbank are among the first participants, alongside several factoring companies in the country.

The product has been in the pilot phase since December and has run 12,000 test transactions over the period. Dixy’s Chief Financial Officer, Julia Zhuvaga, said in a statement: “Tech visionaries like to thrill the public with stories of a beautiful future, but in reality, top management in any company wants to see better results not in a couple of years but as soon as possible. This platform allows us to see the change here and now.”

4. Walmart

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working with Walmart, IBM, KPMG and Merck to apply blockchain technology in the drug supply chain.

A pilot programme, tied to the US Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA), will develop a blockchain network to identify and trace the distribution of prescription medicines and vaccines. The aim is to address multiple issues, including the time it takes to track and trace inventory, the accuracy of data shared among members of the supply network, and the integrity of products in the distribution chain.

“With successful blockchain pilots in pork, mangoes and leafy greens that provide enhanced traceability, we are looking forward to the same success and transparency in the biopharmaceutical supply chain,” says Karim Bennis, Walmart’s Vice President of Strategic Planning and Implementation, Health and Wellness.

“We believe we have to go further than offering great products that help our customers live better at everyday low prices. Our customers also need to know they can trust us to help ensure products are safe. This pilot and US Drug Supply Chain Security Act requirements will help us do just that.”

The pilot project is scheduled to be completed in Q4 2019, and results are expected to be published in an FDA DSCSA programme report. The participants will then evaluate next steps.

5. Benfica

Portugal’s Benfica has become the first major European football club to accept cryptocurrency payments.

A partnership with UTRUST means that supporters can now use the venture’s native token (UTK), in addition to the likes of Bitcoin and Ethereum, to purchase match tickets and merchandise through the official Benfica online store.

“Our benfiquistas make Benfica the unique and special club it is and we recognise that many of our supporters are now digital users first, so we want to be ahead of the curve when it comes to adopting novel technologies and giving our supporters the best online experience,” says S.L. Benfica CEO, Domingos Soares de Oliveira.

“We are very excited about the possibilities that this partnership with UTRUST presents in the evolution of our e-commerce strategy and we look forward to accepting our first cryptocurrency payment.”

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author should not be considered as financial advice. We do not give advice on financial products.

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