Even before the official announcement of Samsung Electronics on the launch of the Samsung Blockchain Wallet, local publications speculated that Samsung Pay could be behind the high-profile crypto integration for the Galaxy S10.
On January 29, The Korea Herald reported that Samsung is set to integrate a cryptocurrency wallet into the Galaxy S10, well over a month before the formal release of the Samsung Blockchain Wallet on February 21.
Industry sources reportedly told the publication that Samsung Pay, a widely utilized digital payments application with over 10 million active users, is behind the Galaxy S10’s cryptocurrency wallet.
“The arrival of the new Samsung phones could start popularization of the cryptocurrency wallet system in Korea,” an industry executive said.
On March 8, three weeks following the release of the Samsung Blockchain Wallet, Donga, one of the largest mainstream media outlets in South Korea, reported that Samsung Pay considers cryptocurrency integration as a way to expand its user base internationally.
The report entitled “Crypto, Flying Away With Samsung Pay on its Back?,” which was featured in the March edition of Shin Donga, the oldest and most popular magazine in the country, said that cryptocurrency support will strengthen Samsung Pay as a fintech platform.
The report translated by CCN read:
Samsung Pay has recently extended the transaction period for overseas users and integrated an international payment processing service, aggressively targeting the global financial services market.
At this phase of development, if a cryptocurrency wallet is added to Samsung Pay, the application will be strengthened as a complete fintech platform. Currently, the Samsung Blockchain Wallet is said to be supporting Ethereum but more cryptocurrencies are expected to be integrated in the near-term.
Samsung Pay’s consideration of integrating cryptocurrencies goes in line with its past acquisitions and product launches.
Since its inception, Samsung Pay has competed headfirst against other digital payments applications like Apple Pay and KakaoPay in innovation and technological development.
In 2015, Samsung Pay acquired LoopPay for $250 million, an acquisition that had seen mixed reactions from industry analysts.
The acquisition allowed Samsung Pay users to process payments by hovering the phone over point of sale (PoS) terminals, providing the platform an edge over its competitors in user experience.
According to Donga, the user base of Samsung Pay has grown by 58 percent from 2017 to 2018, by a staggering 6.6 million users.
Given the well-documented and successful strategy of Samsung to pursue aggressive acquisitions, product launches, and the integration of newly emerging technologies, many analysts in South Korea expect Samsung Pay to take a lead in the cryptocurrency sector.
Similar to the integration of Bitcoin by Square Cash, Samsung Pay could benefit from cryptocurrency integration and appeal to millennial and digital asset users.
Since Square integrated Bitcoin in late 2017, the market valuation of the company has increased by 516 percent, evolving into a payments behemoth.
Bitcoin most likely has not been a core catalyst in the growth of Square but it has played a vital role in establishing an initial user base for Square and enabled the company to snowball in the months ahead.
As of April 2018, Samsung Pay recorded $18 billion in transaction volume and industry experts believe the integration of crypto by Samsung Pay could fuel the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies, especially on the side of merchants.
An industry executive told Donga that while the Samsung Blockchain Wallet could significantly improve the visibility and accessibility of cryptocurrencies, it will not be sufficient in leading to meaningful merchant adoption at retail stores, supermarkets, cafes, and restaurants.