Samsung is, undoubtedly, one of the most well-known corporate names out there. The South Korean multinational conglomerate boasted the highest number of phones sold in Q1 of 2018 as reported by International Data Corporation (IDC). The company is known to back crypto projects like CryptoKitties and AERGO. Also, they are building ASIC Crypto Mining Chips with Canadian-based mining company, Squire Mining. The Daily HODL reported on 20th February 2019 that Samsung's flagship Galaxy S10 will support Crypto private keys. By doing so, Samsung is spearheading the global blockchain adoption movement at the consumer level. Quoting from the company:
“Galaxy S10 is built with defense-grade Samsung Knox, as well as a secure storage backed by hardware, which houses your private keys for blockchain-enabled mobile services.”
This one line was very well received by crypto and blockchain enthusiasts. It emphasizes on the inevitable future of crypto mass adoption.
Samsung made an announcement at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, revealing four supported crypto assets for its wallet. Bitcoin and Ethereum will be the standard cryptocurrencies. According to The Verge, the wallet will be able to store Cosmochain token (COSM) and Enjin Coin. The inclusion of both Cosmo coin and Enjin coin took the world by surprise. The South Korean blockchain startup, Cosmee described its app as a blockchain-powered beauty review app. The second cryptocurrency, Enjin coin (ENJ), was founded in South Korea but based in Singapore. It is a smart cryptocurrency fueling a modular blockchain development platform for creating, integrating and scaling tokenized gaming assets.
Here are 3 ways Samsung is breaking down the walls for future global crypto adoption.
1. Samsung is Bringing Crypto Wallets to Non-Crypto People
The crypto-sphere has been begging for more examples of crypto adoption throughout 2017-2018. It was partly due to investors hoping for the continuation of Bitcoin's parabolic rise. The crypto market has been anticipating Bitcoin to find a bottom to what is known as Crypto Winter. Therefore, the announcement from Samsung is a refreshing turn of pace from the constant rejection of Bitcoin ETFs in 2018.
Samsung can increase blockchain wallets by 100%
According to Mashable, Samsung has sold over 30 million Galaxy S9 worldwide in the first quarter in 2018. Despite being the company's lowest-selling phone since the Galaxy S III, that number of users will be massive for the crypto and blockchain space. Imagine having 30 million people be exposed to cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Here is something to bear in mind- according to Statista, the number of blockchain wallet users at the end of December 2018 is close to 32 million. At the minimum, this number could double when the new Galaxy S10 is released!
It is important to remember that not all users with the new Samsung Galaxy S10 will be using the wallet. But simply by having the capabilities will no doubt spark more interests. Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain have been covered extensively throughout 2018 by mainstream media. Thus, it is not hard to imagine the mass majority already has an idea of what Crypto and Blockchain are. It has set the foundation for human curiosity to flourish.
Accessibility triumphs over the cool factor
Having a wallet built into our phones makes it very accessible for people to do crypto-related tasks, especially when phones are one of the things that we carry all the time, everywhere. We tend to forget bringing our keys out more often than our phones. The more obvious crypto tasks that can be done are making transactions or storing cryptocurrencies. Most would agree that having a built-in wallet on your phone is not safe to store your crypto holdings.
It is not advisable to store our entire crypto holdings on your phone. We should always consider getting a hardware wallet. But when it comes to new crypto adopters, they prefer accessibility and ease of use over cool, high-tech mumbo-jumbo. An example I can think of would be: building your own computers. It is cheaper and very satisfying to build and customize your own computer rig according to your needs. But the vast majority rather purchase it stock for fear of messing it up gravely.
It should not be impossible for us to use our fingerprints instead of a randomly generated password. Our fingerprints are unique to us which could make the wallet even more secure than a Ledger Nano S. In addition to that, the risk of misplacing our paper wallet does not apply when all we need to access our wallets is our fingerprint.
2. Samsung is setting the pace for its competitors
Taiwanese consumer electronics company, HTC Corporation, has created the world's first blockchain phone in the HTC Exodus. Sirin Labs is also building a state of the art blockchain smartphone with built-in 'cold storage' crypto wallet and distributed ledger consensus. Therefore, Samsung isn't the first major phone brand to introduce crypto wallet capabilities but it is definitely the largest.
First movers in the industry have its disadvantages. They would bear the economic burden of developing a new market that future followers can exploit. But it is such competitiveness in today's world that makes being a crypto enthusiast so fulfilling. Samsung started the party and soon, others will follow. An article by Daily Hodl has shed light on Apple's potential big move into Blockchain with their SEC filing. Rest assured, blockchain technology is in the minds of the biggest corporate names out there. It will only be a matter of time before iPhones adopt the crypto wallet strategy and integrate it with Apple Pay.
Regardless of the success that Samsung will bring to cryptocurrencies, it provides a massive hint to expect an increasing number of crypto adoption news in the coming months or years. In particular, mainstream corporate names. Huawei, China's biggest and the world's third mobile phone seller, had already announced its support for cryptocurrencies by providing access to a bitcoin wallet app, pre-installed on all new Huawei and Honor phones.
3. Introducing Crypto Wallets is just the start
Mobile contactless payments such as Apple Pay, Google Pay and for the sake of this article, Samsung Pay is on the rise. Again from Statista, the number of NFC (near field communications) mobile payment users more than tripled from 53.9 million to 166 million from 2015 to 2018. Adoption for NFC mobile payment took a while but in just 6 years, we have gone from having just 5 million users in 2012 to 166 million. That is a huge increase!
Throughout 2018 and these few months into 2019, there have been several companies launching their crypto cards. Companies include TenX, Crypto.com (previously known as Monaco), BitPay and Shift. The idea is good; introducing debit/prepaid cards for crypto usage. However, we should consider whether the mass majority would rather add another card into their already thick wallet or simply have it built into their phone. More likely, consumers will just opt to have it on their phones.
Having a crypto wallet also means consumers can finally start using cryptocurrencies for everyday use. Sure all we needed prior to Samsung introducing the wallet capabilities was a Coinbase app and we could store our Bitcoin there. But there is no way to use them for practical use. Imagine Samsung were to integrate Samsung Pay with Crypto, an internal exchange that could simply liquidate Bitcoin into fiat on the go and use it to pay for things. We can also expect others to follow suit.
Mainstream Crypto adoption is not quite here yet but the world is preparing for it
Moonwhale consolidated a list of mainstream companies already adopting blockchain technology in a blog post. The list of companies included very recognizable names such as Facebook, Alibaba, Amazon, and more recently- JPMorgan Chase. Regulations finally caught up with the hype and progress made by cryptocurrencies in 2018. That feat alone is something to be celebrated. Proper regulations will create a better environment for innovation to thrive without hurting its ambition too much.
2017 - 2018 were the years when crypto was a novelty or a money-making plan for retail investors. The Crypto winter has shifted the general emphasis on cryptocurrencies' speculative nature, to emphasize on the value of the underlying technology. Sure, it is no fun to watch Bitcoin dropped from its peak to $3,100 towards the end of 2018 but in the grand scheme of things, the crypto space is progressing very quickly. The bear market today isn't so bad when you zoom out.
We can expect 2019 to be very special in paving the way for the inevitable mass adoption of Blockchain technology and Cryptocurrencies.
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About The Author:
Iliya Zaki is the Head of Marketing & Business Development for Moonwhale Ventures. Based in Singapore, Iliya manages the marketing and public relations aspects for Moonwhale as well as clients under advisement. He is also a regular writer for Hackernoon and several other publications such as Investing.com, Daily Hodl, Securities.io, and many more.