The South Korean tech behemoth Samsung, which is the country’s largest R&D center, it has its own private army, but it is mostly known for its commercial smart hand-held device series “Galaxy”, is set to become a global leader in blockchain technology, without leaving cryptocurrencies outside, as most hi-tech firms have reported doing.
We previously saw a series of speculations about Samsung partnering with S. Korean messaging giant Kakao to deliver instant cryptocurrency payments using blockchain technology, but the latest revelations point that Samsung has its own ready-to-use crypto wallets implanted in its latest Galaxy smartphones.
More specifically, the new international flagships Galaxy S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra will bare build-in Bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrency wallets, similar to the domestic version of S10 series which offered crypto services to Korean users.
In addition, the whole S20 range will also support 5G networking and the latest data from Statista indicate that Samsung sold over 300 million devices just last year, making up nearly 20% of the global smartphone market.
Visiting Samsung’s portal for the newly introduced S20 series we can see public documentation about the crypto-features this new range of smartphones will offer.
“We created a secure processor dedicated to protecting your PIN, password, pattern, and Blockchain Private Key…Combined with the Knox platform, security is infused into every part of your phone, from hardware to software. So private data stays private.”
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Furthermore, Samsung’s Blockchain Keystore that was introduced earlier last year, will be most likely found in the S20 series as well, offering support for Ethereum-based ERC-20 tokens, Ether itself, as well as BTC which was added August last year.
While I haven’t tested a Samsung device with the Blockchain Keystore myself, I asked a friend who told me that the wallet is pretty much similar to the traditional Blockchain wallet, while the private keys are stored securely in the device, although there is an option to export your private keys and/or seed phrases to connect your wallet to web-based wallet handlers and dapps.
Forbes writes that “If bitcoin or cryptocurrencies are stored on a smartphone-based wallet that gives users control over their private keys it removes reliance on external exchanges.” – which is partially good I guess, yet a third-party custodian, cryptocurrency exchange, DEX, or a wallet-to-wallet exchange would be mandatory to work around with the holding crypto.
Nevertheless, Samsung’s move is one that embraces cryptocurrencies, and regardless of how innovative blockchain technology is just by itself and the infinite possibilities it presents to a private company of the likes of Samsung – for example, it could create its own token similar to Facebook’s Libra – Samsung chooses to roll with the already established public cryptocurrency domain attracting a new wave of micro-investors in the scene.
How Samsung Differs from Apple and Huawei on the matter
Of course, whether the wallets will be compatible with crypto exchanges or not, Samsung aims to create a platform that will be used similar to PayPal and WeChat, one that you could use to send, receive, and pay for goods and services using cryptocurrencies.
Now, there is always a technopolitical debate when it comes to blockchain-powered finance and hi-tech players.
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On one hand, you have the US and Apple, which cited they’re keeping an eye on cryptocurrencies, yet Tim Cook categorically said that the company has no interest in creating its own cryptocurrency nor utilizing existing cryptos for the time being.
On the other hand, we have China, with domestic tech giants such as Huawei, the bringer of 5G, and Xiaomi, the company many refer to as the “new Apple”, who may not have their own cryptocurrencies or provide build-in custodian wallets, yet all of them are utilizing and promoting domestic payments apps such as TenPay, WeChat, AliPay, and UnionPay.
While the Chinese counterparts are not directly promoting cryptos, all of the above apps are among the 7 distributors for China’s upcoming national cryptocurrency, the DC/EP, meaning that Chinese telecom manufacturers will be on their own turn, the providers of CBDCs (central bank digital currencies).
Yet again, in Samsungs case, there’s neither a negative stance against public cryptos nor a plan to promote S. Korean CDBCs through its devices. As a matter of fact, Samsung showcases to the skeptics that public cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum are here to stay and Samsung will not be a barrier for their adoption. If anything it will bring some multi-million users in-game.