Samsung Could Soon Add Cryptocurrencies to Its Samsung Pay App

Francisco Memoria

South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics is reportedly looking to add cryptocurrencies to its Samsung Pay application, as the company reshuffled employees to join its blockchain task force with the team behind Samsung Pay.

According to a report published by Business Korea, Samsung’s blockchain task force was behind the “Samsung Blockchain KeyStore” and the “Samsung Blockchain Wallet” that were added onto the tech giant’s flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S10.

Per the local news outlet, Samsung merged its blockchain task force with its division that develops and operates core services like Samsung Pay. The task force, under the supervision of the firm’s service business divisions’ vice-president Kim Yong-jae, could see Samsung Pay add cryptocurrencies.

Business Korea’s report reads:

The reshuffle was carried out when the company announced plans to expand its blockchain and cryptocurrency services.

Some have speculated the tech giant is set to use blockchain technology to improve Samsung Pay, which is currently using a technology called magnetic secure transmission (MST) to allow users to transact at conventional points of sale by merely hovering their phones over them, without the use of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.

Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies can reportedly help Samsung Pay improve its service, as it’ll allow users to reduce costs associated with intermediaries, by allowing for peer-to-peer transaction to take place.

Currently, it’s believed Samsung’s cryptocurrency wallet integrated on the S10 smartphone supports Ethereum’s ether and ERC-20 tokens, although support for more tokens is set to come in the future.

The tech giant has been increasingly betting on cryptos and blockchain technology. Earlier this month it was revealed Samsung was set to add its crypto wallet to budget Galaxy smartphones, and in April it invested $2.9 million in crypto hardware wallet startup Ledger.

Some have suggested Samsung is looking to launch its own blockchain and its own token, based on the Ethereum protocol. It isn’t clear whether the tech giant is moving forward with the move.

Ripple CEO: 'You Don’t Want to Use BTC at Starbucks'

On Thursday (January 23), Brad Garlinghouse, the CEO of Ripple, told the Wallet Street Journal (WSJ) that Bitcoin is not a good means of payment because BTC transactions take too long.

The Ripple CEO's comments were made during his talk with Phillipa Leighton-Jones (Editorial Director for Innovation) at a Ripple-sponsored event (organized by the WSJ) called "Ripple Panel: Changing the Finance Industry From Within" held alongside this year's World Economic Forum Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Although we don't yet have a full transcript of this interview, we do know about two of the things he talked about thanks to tweets by Asheesh Birla, SVP of Product at Ripple, who was at this event.

First, it seems that although the Ripple CEO likes Bitcoin as a store of value, he does not see (at least, as of now) as a viable means of payment. The example he gave was paying for a cup of coffee at Starbucks. He believes that BTC transactions take so long to confirm that by the time you have finished paying for your coffee, "it'll be cold." 

Second, within the next 12 months, he sees several companies in the crypto space holding initial public offerings (IPOs) and he wants Ripple to be "on the leading side" since this is "a natural evolution" for Ripple, which raised $200 million via a Series C funding round (which valued the company at $10 billion) last month. 

On Wednesday (January 22), Ripple published the "Q4 2019 XRP Markets Report", which is a quarterly report that allows Ripple to "voluntarily provide transparency and regular updates on the company’s views on the state of the XRP market, including quarterly programmatic and institutional sales updates, relevant XRP-related announcements such as Xpring and RippleNet partnerships and commentary on previous quarter market developments." 

In Q4 2019, Ripple's total XRP sales were down just over 80% compared to the preceding quarter ($13.08 million vs. $66.24 million). Ripple "continued the pause of programmatic sales" (to crypto exchanges), and focused exclusively on over-the-counter (OTC) sales to "a few strategic partners, who are building XRP utility and liquidity in strategic regions including EMEA and Asia."

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