Samsung Electronics Co. is supporting blockchain-based startups through Creative Lab (C-Lab), an in-house startup incubator program. As the Samsung Galaxy S10 flagship smartphone to be unveiled on Feb. 20 is expected to feature a cryptocurrency wallet, there is growing speculation that Samsung Electronics has its eye on the blockchain-based mobile fintech business.
Local blockchain startup Chain Partners’ cryptocurrency payment service subsidiary Coinduck and MOIN are participating in Samsung Electronics’ C-Lab program, which has incorporated Creative Square 4, a startup program that is managed by the company’s IT & Mobile Communications (IM) division.
Samsung Electronics’ IM division has been running the “Creative Square” program since 2016, which is aimed at discovering and fostering startups with mobile-related innovative ideas and technologies. The company acquired interactive artificial intelligence (AI) startup Fluenty among teams from Creative Square 1. Among the companies participating in Creative Square 4 are blockchain-based fintech startups MOIN and Coinduck.
Coinduck drew attention by rolling out “Coinduck Payment” in January last year, the world’s first Ethereum-based offline payment servuce. The company has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with smartphone developer Sirin Labs to use its cryptocurrency payment and remittance technologies in the world’s first blockchain smartphone “Finney.” Coinduck’s technology knowhow is to simplify cryptocurrency payment and remittance procedures of a cold wallet embedded in the Finney. A cold wallet stores digital assets and is connected to the internet only when in use.
In addition, MOIN has recently applied for a waiver of regulations with the government to upgrade its blockchain-based overseas remittance services, which were launched in March 2016 to allow remittances to four countries, including the United States and China. In other words, its core solution is to realize “fast and safe overseas remittance services with lower fees” by linking to the Stellar network, a distributed blockchain-based ledger and database that facilitates cross-asset transfers of value, including payments, instead of the SWIFT global financial communications system used by ordinary banks.
The two companies are recognized as having top-level technology which can provide mobile overseas remittance and payment services with transparency and convenience through blockchain technology.
Industry watchers are speculating that Samsung Electronics may have its eye on a new business of offering safe and convenient international remittance and payment services using blockchain-based smartphones.
In particular, Samsung Electronics is likely to promote cooperation with blockchain startups as the Galaxy S10 is expected to come with a cryptocurrency wallet.
An expert from the industry said, “Samsung Electronics’ latest move suggests it will expand the mobile fintech business by using blockchain technology. In 2015, the company released a smartphone equipped with Samsung Pay right after acquiring U.S.-based mobile payment service provider LoopPay. It also integrated its AI assistant Bixby in smartphones after acquiring Fluenty.” As Samsung Electronics has started Samsung Pay’s overseas remittance service through partnership with startups, including Sentbe, the company can develop services that can lead the global mobile fintech market by adding cryptocurrency payment and remittance functions.
Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics formed “blockchain team” in its IM division and filed for three blockchain-related trademarks for smartphones in Europe last year. The three requested trademarks are “Blockchain Key Store,”“Blockchain Box” and “Blockchain Core.”