Smartphone launch events were once cool and exciting. The first smartphone launch of iPhone in 2007 by Steve Jobs is considered a milestone in tech history. But lately, smartphone launch events have become boring. Innovation has peaked each year, and fewer and fewer features are being added with the only difference between the previous generation being just slight improvements. But this year, Samsung came with a bang in their unpack 2019 event where they launched S10 and Galaxy Fold. The fold is a phone unlike any other before. Also, all S10 devices will come equipped with integrated crypto wallets. This was something that has been long rumored, but now it’s official. The race for integrated crypto wallets have already begun, but Samsung is the first major smartphone company to launch integrated crypto wallets in their flagship phone.
Samsung has been in the business of manufacturing equipment for crypto since early 2018, mainly in the mining sector. Samsung entered the cryptocurrency sector with a focus on Bitcoin mining, creating ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Chips) chips for mining equipment. They slowly increased their presence in the mining sector over the last year and now focus is shifting to wallet integrations. This is in line with the companies policy to utilize and leverage its existing resources to expand into new emerging markets. Ahead of the S10’s release at the event, rumors were already floating regarding the phone’s possible configuration and support for cryptocurrency wallets and Dapps (Decentralised applications). Last month, images surfaced that allegedly portrayed a “Samsung BLockchain Keystore” on the Galaxy S10. The reportedly leaked photos featured an Ethereum (ETH) wallet option in the “supported cryptocurrencies” list.
Integrated crypto wallets will be a reality in the Galaxy S10. It will include storage for private cryptocurrency keys, according to an official press release on Feb 20. Samsung is using its Knox services to secure the phone, and the phones processors contain a PUF (Physically Unclonable Function) – a cryptographic key management technology which is a semiconductor. The phone has many inbuilt features to keep it safe, but what if the keys get accidentally deleted? Users can restore it using the personal account provided by Samsung. Also, if the phone gets lost, through the Find My Mobile service users can access the device and delete the private key. The app provided by the company Samsung BLockchain Keystore has three key features – payments, digital signatures, and crypto storage. The app allows users to set up as well as import wallets, and currently supports Ethereum and Bitcoin. In order to send funds first the user has to input the address, amount and fee to be sent then press the ‘send’ button, finally, the users have to confirm with fingerprint ID or PIN code, a fairly simple process.
Samsung is not the only one trying to integrate wallets into their phones companies, like Sikur and HTC which have already launched similar products. The first phone manufacturer to announce integrating crypto technology into a smartphone is Brazil based Sikur. They make security centric phones for governments and businesses. The plan to integrate crypto wallet is to achieve mass appeal. Sikurphone was unveiled in the World Mobile Congress held in Barcelona on February 2018, the price announced was $800 at the time of the announcement. HTC is the first major smartphone maker to announce a phone with crypto wallet in their phone, HTC Exodus 1 was announced by the company on 22 October 2018. HTC’s Exodus 1 comes with a secluded area which is kept separate from the Android operating system which it runs on, to keep a customer’s cryptocurrency safe. The blockchain-based phone is part of the company’s shifting strategy regarding smartphones, which aims to prioritize software and intellectual property instead of manufacturing.
Nowadays, everything seems to be taken over by crypto, and now finally smartphones are going the same direction. The smartphone market is stagnated both in terms of volume and innovation. There are little changes in the newly released phones over the previous generation making many smartphone makers desperate for new features. Now it seems blockchain is the new target. The race to bring phones with integrated crypto wallets has begun. The implication of everyone having their own wallet is huge in the push for mass adoption. By integrating cold storage in smartphones, manufacturers are finally embracing the crypto revolution.
Galaxy S10 images sourced from Samsung
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