Samsung is developing a cryptocurrency wallet service, which may be available as soon as the launch of the Galaxy S10, according to a report from SamMobile. The report cites the Korean smartphone giant as registering trademarks "Blockchain KeyStore," "Blockchain key box," and "Blockchain Core" in the European Union, though the report indicates that the names for the cold wallet and crypto wallet products have not been finalized.
Reportedly, Samsung will launch two different cryptocurrency services. The first is a cold wallet, which stores cryptocurrency offline, and requires physical access to a device to retrieve. The second is a hot wallet which can accept incoming and make outgoing transfers, as well as view account information and transaction history.
SEE: Research: The current state and predictions for the future of blockchain in the enterprise (Tech Pro Research)
Samsung's reported entry into the blockchain space comes as a blow to former Android leader HTC, which launched the Exodus 1 blockchain phone in December. According to CNET, the Exodus 1 includes a Social Key Recovery feature, "which lets you pick a few trustworthy contacts to hold a portion of your crypto keys, so you can get access to your cryptocurrency if your phone is lost or stolen or if you forget your info."
HTC's attempt at a blockchain phone—which can only be purchased from HTC, using cryptocurrency—was widely seen as a desperate attempt at reclaiming relevancy, as the Taiwanese smartphone maker fell below 1% market share in 2018. Google purchased roughly half of HTC's smartphone division, along with a non-exclusive license for HTC's phone-related intellectual property for $1.1 billion in 2017.
Samsung is apparently working to make the Galaxy S10 everything to everybody, as reports indicate that Samsung is planning a gigantic version of the Galaxy S10 featuring six cameras, 5G support, and a monster 6.7-inch display. Presently, it is unclear how many models will be marketed under the Galaxy S10 name. Traditionally, Samsung's flagship phone is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon SoCs in North America and Japan, and with Samsung's internally developed Exynos SoCs in the rest of the world. It is likely that non-5G versions of the S10 will be made available as well. OnePlus CEO Pete Lau told CNET that 5G-enabled OnePlus phones could be sold at $200 to $300 higher than LTE versions. On the opposite end of the price spectrum, rumors also indicate the potential for a budget-priced Galaxy S10.
Samsung's blockchain aspirations should be taken with a generous amount of skepticism, as cryptocurrency website Cointelgraph reports that a Samsung representative declined comment on the report, calling it "rumour and speculation." The cryptocurrency market has also faced sharp losses over the last month, with the price of Bitcoin falling $2,900 over the last month to a valuation of $3,500.
The big takeaways for tech leaders:
- Samsung applied for the trademarks "Blockchain KeyStore," "Blockchain key box," and "Blockchain Core" in the European Union.
- HTC launched a cryptocurrency-focused phone in December, though it can only be purchased directly from HTC using cryptocurrency.
- Blockchain: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
- Blockchain: An insider's guide (TechRepublic download)
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- These smart plugs are the secret to a seamless smart home (CNET)
- The 10 most important iPhone apps of all time (Download.com)
- Tom Merrit'sTop 5 series (TechRepublic on Flipboard)
James Sanders is a technology writer for TechRepublic. He covers future technology, including quantum computing, AI, and 5G, as well as cloud, security, open source, mobility, and the impact of globalization on the industry, with a focus on Asia.