|Headquarters||Suwon-Si, South Korea|
|Key People||Tim Baxter, President and CEO (Samsung North America); Young Hoon Eom, President and CEO (Samsung North America)|
|Products||Data services, IoT design, tech support, fintech|
Samsung Electronics is a major electronics company based in South Korea. The company makes televisions, smartphones, tablets, and other electronic devices. The company announced in February 2019 that one of its newer products, a smartphone called the Samsung Galaxy S10, would have cryptocurrency wallets integrated into the phone's hardware and software.
In September 2018, Samsung said in a blog post that the company believed smartphones had the greatest potential for secure cryptocurrency storage of any device in the electronics market. The post described Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs), which are parts of a smartphone's (specifically, the Samsung Galaxy's) memory that are separate from the hardware and operating system of the rest of the device. These TEEs, Samsung said, cannot be reached by the operating system, so if the operating system is compromised by malware, data stored in a TEE would theoretically remain safe. The blog post said that if private keys were stored in software confined to a TEE, the digital assets stored in the TEE would be safe from digital theft, as they could only be removed through "trustlets," or small software applications designed to be the sole method of letting data in or out of the TEE. The post also emphasized how Samsung Knox, a software application that further tightens security surrounding TEEs, could make private keys held in this way even more secure. Cybersecurity experts like Johns Hopkins professor Matthew Green reacted to the post with skepticism, saying that although TEEs do make a hacker's job more difficult, a hacker might be able to make transactions on behalf of the wallet owner by compromising other aspects of the TEE software.
In December 2018, Dutch Tech News blog Galaxy Club reported that Samsung had filed applications for cryptocurrency and blockchain-related trademarks for smartphones in the European Union. These trademarks described products designed to provide cryptocurrency custody services to consumers. The three requested patents were for products called "Blockchain KeyStore," "Blockchain key box," and "Blockchain Core." Samsung dismissed this, saying the Galaxy Club report was nothing but "rumor and speculation." The company filed for similar trademarks in the United Kingdom on December 27th. These patents explicitly described plans for computer software "for use as a cryptocurrency wallet", payment transfers and other applications involving blockchain technology.
In February 2019, Samsung formally announced the Galaxy S10. In the press release, the company said that the S10 would be built with Samsung Knox as a secure storage measure for housing "private keys for blockchain-enabled mobile devices."
In February 2020, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S20, which the company said would have similar cryptocurrency storage and security features to Samsung.
In the first half of 2021, rumors swirled in the U.S. business press that Samsung was preparing to make an up to $17 billion investment in the U.S. to build a chip-making factory that be capable of producing chips usable in bitcoin application-specific integrated circuit mining rigs. New York State, along with locations in Texas and Arizona, hoped to receive the investment.
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- Why Smartphones Have the Best Security for Blockchain and Cryptocurrency. Samsung Insights blog.
- Samsung says smartphones have the best security for cryptocurrency, security experts disagree. TNW.
- Samsung Files for Cryptocurrency Trademarks in the EU For Smartphones. CCN.
- Samsung Dismisses Galaxy S10 Crypto Wallet Reports as ‘Rumor and Speculation’. Cointelegraph.
- Samsung Seeks UK Trademark For Cryptocurrency Wallet. Cointelegraph.
- Samsung Confirms Galaxy S10 Will Include Private Crypto Key Storage. Coindesk.
- Samsung Continues Support for Crypto With New Flagship Smartphone. Coindesk.
- The Editorial Board: State, federal delegations should join Schumer in bid for Samsung chip plant. Buffalo News.
- Samsung Considers $10 Billion Texas Chipmaking Plant, Sources Say. Bloomberg.