The price of Bitcoin plunged to some 3 million won (US$2,639) earlier this year, generating a debate among analysts over the future of the cryptocurrency’s price. However, it has increased to some 4 million won (US$3,518), gaining upward momentum again. The current price is still low compared to its price in the past, but some say it could increase further as Samsung Electronics Co. has introduced a blockchain-based cryptocurrency wallet in its flagship smartphone Galaxy S10.
The Bitcoin price recorded 4.32 million won (US$3,799) as of 1 p.m. on March 8, up 0.55 percent from the previous day, according to cryptocurrency exchange Upbit. Bitcoin price slid to 3.78 million won (US$3,325) at the end of January this year, the lowest level of the year, and have been showing a rebound since then as the news spread that the Samsung Galaxy S10 will be equipped with a cryptocurrency wallet.
In fact, the daily average market cap of the global cryptocurrency market from Feb. 25 to March 1 came to US$132.80 billion (151 trillion won), up 2.88 percent from the previous week, while the daily average trading volume rose by 12.47 percent to 33 trillion won (US$29.02 billion), according to CoinMarket Cap. The Bitcoin price also reentered the 4 million won (US$3,518) level over the same period.
The Galaxy S10 has a built-in Samsung Blockchain Keystore app, an electronic wallet that enables users to keep private keys safely to confirm identification for blockchain services, including cryptocurrency trading. It helps protect cryptocurrency assets from hackers. Samsung Electronics has made the cryptocurrency wallet operate in its own mobile security platform “Knox” to strengthen security further. All Galaxy S10 users will be able to use blockchain game or mobile payment services with the built-in wallet in their smartphones without a separate hardware wallet, or cold wallet.
The Galaxy S10 has “COSMEE,” a blockchain-based beauty social media platform. Users can earn “COSM,” a cryptocurrency token issued by Cosmochain, as a reward for uploading beauty reviews.
Expectations are growing that a blockchain ecosystem can be created rapidly by conglomerates. Following Samsung Electronics that has unveiled a blockchain platform that allows users to make a payment with cryptocurrency through the Galaxy S10, LG Group has started a blockchain payment project, which is limited to its own executives and employees.
LG Group has launched a project that allows its executives and employees to make a payment through “Magok Pay” at its cafeteria at LG Science Park in Seoul. In particular, the group has secured finance infrastructure and raised the possibility of commercialization in partnership with KB Financial Group.
In addition, SK Telecom Co. is pushing for development of a blockchain platform for digital identification. With the platform, users can confirm their identity safely with blockchain technology without disclosing personal information.
Oh Jung-geun, a professor of the Financial IT Department at Konkuk University, said, “Participation by South Korean conglomerates, such as Samsung Electronics, can trigger growth of the blockchain industry.” He also said that it can also boost people’s interest in cryptocurrency, which has a close relationship with blockchain.
In other countries, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. is launching its own cryptocurrency “JPM Coin.” Notably, chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon, who once called Bitcoin a “fraud,” backpedaled and said that JPM Coin can be used by general consumers in the future.
Some expresses concerns that the growth in blockchain projects promoted by conglomerates and global financial companies can reignite a speculative boom in cryptocurrencies, like the one in 2017. However, many say that it is highly unlikely. An official from a domestic cryptocurrency exchange said, “Conglomerates at home and abroad which are pushing into the blockchain market put emphasis on stability in the market so they will try to overcome the shortcomings of cryptocurrencies which show price fluctuations. The current trend is desirable for stable growth of the global cryptocurrency market.”