Today Samsung’s blockchain-enabled smartphone went on sale in its home nation of South Korea, according to the Wall Street Journal. It was developed with Ground X, a subsidiary of messaging app Kakao which recently launched the Klaytn blockchain. The KlaytnPhone is a version of Samsung’s flagship handset, the Galaxy Note 10, but comes with a cryptocurrency wallet, distributed ledger technology (DLT) apps, and free KLAY tokens.
Samsung is the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer, while Kakao is South Korea’s most popular instant messenger. Its blockchain arm Ground X aims to bring DLT to the masses as its main priority, which the KlaytnPhone might just do. The Klaytn blockchain went live in late June in conjunction with firms including LG and Celltrion.
Perhaps the largest member on the governing consortium is tech giant LG Electronics, along with LG International. The group also boasts Korean game developer Netmarble, leading Asian biopharmaceutical firm Celltrion, the Union Bank of the Philippines, real estate developer Everrich, IT company FSN, and one of the world’s largest paid games studios PUBG.
While the phone appears to be a regular Galaxy Note 10, it shows the Klaytn logo on startup and has blockchain apps built-in. Apart from a cryptocurrency wallet, which it can be assumed will store the users free KLAY, it is unclear precisely what apps will be available.
However, upon launch, Klaytn announced the KLAY BApp (blockchain application) Partner program, aimed at app developers. Most of the named partners are mobile games firms, such as Biscuit, MixMarvel, and Node Brick. Gaming apps are a massive market in Korea and Asia in general.
The blockchain platform also has several of its own BApps, such as HintChain for food data and Antube for short video sharing.
Some of these will likely come with the KlaytnPhone, encouraging regular users to start using DLT technology. While the apps are available to download on any Android phone, “only the Klaytn edition will boast the blockchain platform’s full breadth of transaction services,” according to today’s article.
In March, Samsung released models of its then-flagship device, the Galaxy S10, with a safe storage facility for cryptocurrency, initially compatible with Ethereum based tokens. Shortly afterwards, the firm invested in wallet company Ledger. The S10’s wallet security was powered by Samsung’s Knox technology, which is playing a part in the company’s identity project with SK Telecom and LG.
Ledger specialises in developing security and infrastructure solutions for cryptocurrencies. Launched in 2014, Ledger serves clients in over 165 countries and sold 1,500,000 Ledger Wallets worldwide.
Ledger had secured a Series B funding round of $75 million led by Draper Esprit in 2018. In 2017, the startup raised $7 million in a Series A round.
SK Telecom, already participating in a digital identity project with Deutsche Telekom, is to “utilize its blockchain platform technology capability and mobile access control pilot experience,” claims the announcement. Meanwhile, LG U+ will create a decentralized loss insurance service, and KT will integrate the SSI project into its current blockchain offerings. KT provides blockchain as a service (BaaS) solution and local currency platforms.
Samsung is using its own phone security layer, Knox to manage the DiDs for mobile use. Knox is already in use in some of Samsung’s smartphones to secure blockchain based keys.
Separately, Samsung’s SDS division has its own Nexledger permissioned blockchain. The platform is more enterprise-focused, having worked with India’s Tech Mahindra and built a system for Korean customs.