The wallet’s inclusion on the new Android flagship comes as bitcoin rebounds from months of declining prices.
Samsung’s latest flagship phone is a subtle step forward from its predecessor – the Galaxy S9 – with a host of incremental upgrades, such as a bigger screen and better camera.
But it is perhaps the presence of an in-built cryptocurrency wallet that represents the most significant departure from past devices.
The presence of a bitcoin wallet on one of the most hyped and popular of consumer devices has led industry analysts to suggest cryptocurrency may well be in for a resurgence in 2019 and could finally become a mainstream form of payment – more than 10 years after its inception.
“Regulation, application, security and education could be considered to be the main things holding back mass adoption of cryptocurrency and blockchain in general,” David Thomas, CEO of Mayfair-based cryptocurrency exchange GlobalBlock, told The Independent.
“There is no doubt that inclusion of these wallets on handheld devices gives credibility to the technology and makes it extremely accessible for the general public thus assisting in three out of four points mentioned.”
Rumours of the wallet’s inclusion on the device circulated amid a surging cryptocurrency market, which had previously seen months of dropping prices since the highs of late 2017.
Several other smartphone makers have included an in-built cryptocurrency wallet with recent devices, including the HTC Exodus 1 and the Sirin Finney, though none have the global reach of the South Korean electronics giant.
Little fanfare was made of the new feature, with no mention of it during Samsung’s Unpacked event last week. Only one line in its accompanying press release made mention of it.
“Galaxy S10 is built with defense-grade Samsung Knox, as well as a secure storage backed by hardware, which houses your private keys for blockchain-enabled mobile services,” it stated.
One of the cryptocurrencies supported by the Galaxy S10 wallet is cosmee, a cryptocurrency produced by Korea-based blockchain firm Cosmochain, who partnered with Samsung for its dApp.
Cosmee describes itself as a “beauty social media platform” that allows users to share content among other members. While it appears like a standard smartphone app on the surface, the key difference is that it will run on a peer-to-peer network – much like bitcoin.
This means people’s data will be spread across this network, rather than being stored on a centralised server. Users will also be able to earn rewards in the form of cosmee cryptocurency by actively participating in the community.
Cosmee already has more than 30,000 daily active users in Korea, the firm tells The Independent, making it the second most popular beauty app in the country.
The inclusion of such apps is anticipated to push cryptocurrency adoption even further into the mainstream, as people will ultimately be able to spend it and trade it on a daily basis. Contactless payments with cryptocurrencies could also be a possibility in the future, as the Galaxy S10 range supports this functionality.
Still more is needed before cryptocurrency becomes truly mainstream, with the final stumbling block mentioned by Mr Thomas being that of regulation. Though this may not be very far away, he warned.
“With regulation imminent from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), adoption of cryptocurrencies for both personal and investment purposes can only grow and with it the whole blockchain ecosystem,” he said.