What Samsung is Actually Doing behind the "Samsung Coin"?

By Matthew Lam   Apr 25, 2019 3 Min Read

“Samsung Coin” is coming to town? As reported from CoinDesk Korea on Tuesday, the South Korea electronic giant Samsung is developing its own blockchain network and a possible launch of “Samsung Coin”!

 “The blockchain network of Samsung can be a combination of public and private blockchains. This is not yet confirmed. Besides, the market expects Samsung Coin to come out, but the direction has not been yet decided.” Said a person familiar with Samsung’s internal situation. The person added that Samsung’s blockchain task force is building their own blockchain mainnet on Ethereum, which is still at the internal experimental stage.

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Samsung Galaxy S10 launched in March 2019.
Image Credit: CNet

Samsung Galaxy S10: The First blockchain application in Samsung’s mobile!

The crypto community was surprised by the introduction of Samsung Galaxy S10 in March 2019, which Samsung adopted two blockchain applications!

Firstly, Samsung announced the inclusion of cryptocurrency wallet in its flagship phone, which is compatible with Ether (ETH) and other ERC-20 based tokens. The dubbed “Samsung Blockchain Wallet” also supported four decentralized applications (Dapps) at launch, namely Enjin (Gaming), Cosmee (Beauty), CryptoKitties (Collectibles) and CoinDuck (Payment).

Secondly, Samsung Galaxy S10 is built with Samsung Knox, which includes private key storage for blockchain-enabled mobile devices. These private keys are encrypted using a government-certified encryption module, which can be completely isolated in a secure place on device. In this way, users can keep their sensitive privacy away from others.

Samsung aims to strengthen its research and development (R&D) in crypto privacy with its recent investment on Ledger for 2.6 million Euro. We believe a number of Ledger’s expertise can be leveraged to Samsung’s mobile devices. For example, Ledger externalized the list of ERC20 tokens on Ledger Nano S to drastically reduce the size of Ethereum application by half. If this technique is applied to Samsung mobile devices, this leads to massive memory space savings for installing Dapps built on Ethereum.

The investment on Ledger also paves the way to a more advanced solution on Samsung’s crypto wallets: Digital Asset Custodian Solution. We believe that the partnership between Legacy Trust and Ledger helps integrating an institutional-grade custodian solution into Samsung’s crypto wallet in the future. Utilizing the technology behind Ledger Vault enables the offering of custodian services to ERC-20 tokens held in Samsung’s mobile devices.

One limitation on Samsung Galaxy S10 is that it doesn’t support Bitcoin. This certainly limits the adoption for users in crypto trading as Bitcoin accounts for over 30% trading volume among all cryptocurrencies to date.

Blockchain-enabled Mobile Phones to Go Viral?

Not necessarily. Despite the promising blockchain features in mobile devices, all these hypes may not turn to reality for mobile phone manufacturers.

Ahead of Samsung’s flagship model, Sirin Labs and HTC have already tapped into the battlefield of blockchain mobile phones. However, the first mover advantage is not applicable to them in terms of mobile sales. Take Finney blockchain phone of Sirin Labs as an example. Launched in November 2018, Finney gathered all the public hypes with its ambassador Lionel Messi (Barcelona soccer superstar). However, Sirin Labs has underestimated the impact of crypto bear market, which led to poor Finney sales that didn’t match the management expectations. The crypto bear market also led to a 99% lost in value of Sirin Labs Token (SRN) from its peak in January last year. Both poor mobile sales and lost value in SRN led to a recent 25% staff layoff in Sirin Labs.

What does this mean?

We believe that a “Blockchain phone” is not appealing to general public in the current stage, since the vast majority do not realize the need to use it. The existing reputation of the brand and mobile phone pricing remain the key factors for mass mobile phone users.

About the author

Matthew Lam   
I believe the true value of cryptocurrencies is the underlying blockchain technology. The development of CBDC, DeFi, blockchain standardization are the key trends to watch in 2020!

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