Samsung to Intro Blockchain-Enabled Phone in South Korea

Samsung Electronics is prepping to unveil a Galaxy Note 10 that offers support of the Klaytn blockchain platform created by Ground X Corp., the blockchain affiliate of South Korea’s largest messaging app Kakao. The KlaytnPhone, to be sold exclusively in South Korea, is Samsung’s most significant — although not its first — foray into blockchain. In March, it unveiled some models of the Galaxy S10 and already released Galaxy Note 10 that allowed users to store and use cryptocurrencies through a separate security feature.

The Wall Street Journal reports that this won’t be the first smartphone released to make blockchain less confusing and more user-friendly; Taiwan-based HTC and Switzerland-based Sirin Labs both unveiled blockchain-enabled smartphones last year.

For Samsung, said sources, the “KlaytnPhone won’t differ in hardware or packaging from the two sizes of the Galaxy Note 10 [pictured above] that hit shelves last month … [and] is expected to be sold at similar prices, starting at around $1,000.” The KlaytnPhone will show the Klaytn logo when turned on or off, and will “come installed with blockchain apps and a wallet for so-called cryptocurrencies.” Sources added that “buyers will get a certain amount of a new digital currency, called ‘Klay’ coins, to use.”

Sources also revealed that Ground X’s blockchain apps on the Klaytn platform are “are accessible on smartphone brands, besides Samsung devices, that use Google’s Android operating system … but only the Klaytn edition will boast the blockchain platform’s full breadth of transaction services.”

Blockchain enthusiasts believe that adoption of cyber currencies will grow “if device makers like Samsung offer a ready-made blockchain ecosystem, such as pre-installed apps and security features.” Proof of Capital managing partner Edith Yeung “compared the current awareness of blockchain-equipped handsets with consumers’ [lack of] understanding of smartphones when Apple launched its first iPhone.”

WSJ notes that even should the blockchain-enabled phone takes off, “it won’t be a big sales driver as South Korea makes up a fraction of its total business.”