Samsung’s move may put pressure on “blockchain phones” like the FINNEY and Exodus 1 to add features.
On Wednesday, February 20, Samsung unveiled its latest smartphone, which it says has the ability to keep your private keys secure.
According to Samsung’s press release, the Galaxy S10 delivers a number of snazzy features including an upgraded camera, intelligent Wi-Fi, and security software and hardware that “houses your private keys for blockchain-enabled mobile services.”
The security is partially provided by Samsung Knox, “a defense-grade enterprise mobile security platform” that can “separate data and constantly check the integrity of the device…[and]… detect any tampering and ensure data is secure.”
It’s unclear whether the S10 will have other features of a cold wallet beyond private key protection.
Samsung certainly seems to be positioning itself to cut off potential blockchain-based phone competitors, namely the FINNEY and Exodus 1. Although the latter phones, produced by Sirin Labs and HTC, respectively, do not have the same brand recognizability as Samsung, they do have a head start in terms of crypto functionality. The FINNEY, for example, comes with a cold wallet that uses separate hardware and a separate power system from the rest of the phone. While the physical features of the phone have received some criticism, the reviews concerning the phone’s operations, crypto-compatibility, and ease of use have been mostly positive.
The Exodus 1 phone also uses a hardware wallet that secures one’s private keys using a “trusted execution environment” separate from the phone’s operating system. The Zion crypto wallet is compatible with bitcoin, Litecoin, Ether, and a smattering of nonfungible tokens from the Ethereum network. The reviews of the Exodus 1 phone so far say it offers very basic crypto-related services and is a bit underwhelming.
Perhaps the Galaxy S10 will actually make enthusiasts cancel their FINNEY or Exodus 1 orders. Whatever the outcome, the Galaxy S10 will be shipped and purchased in quantities that far outnumber the figures attached to the FINNEY and Exodus 1 phones. Exposing this many people to crypto-centric features and apps has the potential to help spur the mass adoption of blockchain technology.
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