Bitcoin enthusiasts were shocked when Samsung’s newest models, the Galaxy S10 and the Note 10, hit the market in March, and Bitcoin apps were nowhere to be found on the devices. What happened? There was so much press that had hyped the inclusion of a Bitcoin wallet app and support on the Samsung phones and devices, but the slight was that Ethereum and tokens that conformed to the “ERC 20” standard capabilities were in plain view.
In a surprise upgrade, however, Samsung has corrected its obvious marketing “snafu” by adding back what the market had expected all along. According to Forbes:
Now, Samsung has suddenly added bitcoin support to its Blockchain Keystore, meaning those using the new Samsung Galaxy S10 and Note10 models will be able to store the private keys to their bitcoin wallets on the device.
But, hold your horses – these features are limited to the following countries: the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Germany, South Korea, Spain, and Switzerland. Support restrictions pertain to Samsung‘s Galaxy S10e, S10, S10+, S10 5G, Note10 and the Note10+.
Back in January, we had reported that rumors had been confirmed by actual pictures that had made it to the financial press:
The photo in question actually shows the Blockchain KeyStore application in action on a Galaxy S10 welcome page, noting that it “is a secure and convenient place for your cryptocurrency.
Speculation had already begun a month ago, when the South Korean firm filed a patent related to blockchain technology that mentioned cryptocurrency wallets for cold storage of private keys. Biometric authorization would be used for security protection when performing transactions or viewing account history.
There was never official confirmation from Samsung, which has enjoyed the “free” press coverage and had been known to deliberately “leak” photos and plans to get widespread coverage without having to pay for it. The early rumors had specifically mentioned that the following coin systems would be supported: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum-based ERC-20 tokens. Perhaps, there was a technical “hurdle” for the Bitcoin related items, but supposedly, Samsung has now finally corrected its error.
The “hype” had come from several quarters. Here are just two examples of coverage:
- Valery Sharifulin, a noted photographer in technology circles, had submitted his photos to TASS. The caption added under the photos read: “Samsung is the first big smartphone maker to include cryptocurrency support on its phones, with the new Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note10 models expected to be big sellers.”
- In an article from Coindesk, it claimed that a fundamental driver for Bitcoin’s meteoric rise in pricing behavior could be attributed to technology leaders like Samsung adding crypto features to their devices: “The bitcoin price has been climbing so far this year as some of the world’s biggest technology companies take an interest in bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.”
According to the Samsung Blockchain Keystore website:
Samsung Blockchain Keystore puts consumers in control of their data by providing a platform to consolidate and easily manage private information and digital keys with vault-like security”. It also goes on to describe the service as “a secure and convenient place for your cryptocurrency”, and that the secure data elements will “never saved to a Samsung or external cloud.
Even with any wallet, always remember to store written copies of the keys in a safe place.
According to industry observers, in many strategic ways, Samsung is at a competitive disadvantage with its major rivals, Google and Apple. The latter two companies have other rich service and operating components that can be linked up with their product offerings. Samsung does not have these linkage capabilities. The Korean technology giant, for this reason alone, must compete on a hardware level, the reason why it is often “first to market” with many of its innovative features. Thankfully, BTC crypto capability and secure wallet apps won the day with developers this time around.