Samsung is preparing to bring forward a portfolio of blockchain-related offerings under the brandings of ‘Blockchain KeyStore’, ‘Blockchain Key Box’, and ‘Blockchain Core,’ based on recent IP documentation reviewed by AndroidHeadlines. The documents don’t provide too many details but each filing appears to be directly related to one another and is categorized by classification as being related to smartphones and software. That, in combination with the names chosen, seems to indicate that each represents an individual piece of a larger solution. In the context of a blockchain, a ‘key’ can take two forms — ‘private’ or ‘public’. Both essentially represent hashed data, in some cases cryptocurrency, technically taking the form of long integers but most often presented in a format comprised of both letters and numbers. As the names suggest, the private key is kept private and generates the public key that’s shown ‘publicly’ to create the hash function others see. Together, those form the basis for generating signatures in the public digital ledger of the blockchain.
Samsung’s Blockchain key box likely pertains to a secure storage method by which various keys from a user’s transactions are kept on-device and readily viewable with all of the relevant details for any given blockchain ledger transaction. That could also allow multiple accounts to be stored, acting as a central place for accessing a user’s own blockchain activity. Conversely, Blockchain KeyStore would seem to refer to a central location for accessing blockchain based software or solutions. The blockchain is still relatively young and is most commonly thought of as a way to store and manage cryptocurrencies but several games have also been made using the blockchain as a foundation and its use can extend far beyond those types of transactions. Finally, the name ‘Blockchain Core’ would seem to imply that the final piece to the puzzle is Samsung’s underlying solution for enabling the transactions between a smartphone and the blockchain. In summary, it’s not unlikely that would form the foundation that Blockchain key box and KeyStore are built on.
Background: Although speculative, the abovementioned conjecture isn’t entirely baseless. Samsung has been discussing and exploring the prospects presented by the blockchain since at least the beginning of the year. In April, Samsung SDS Blockchain Head Song Kwang-woo indicated that it was considering the use of a blockchain ledger system alongside AI to manage its operations. In 2018, the company had expected to manage as many as 488,000 tons of air cargo and the equivalent of over 20-million-feet of shipping units. The task of ensuring the supply chain is secure from end-to-end without some form of an advanced modern ledger is daunting, bordering on impossible. The blockchain represents one way that can be handled with the added benefit of including a publicly viewable and tamper-evident log of transactions.
More closely tied to the recent IP filings, Samsung announced the decision to move forward with an AI and blockchain-based digital financial business referred to as Nexfinance in June. That was billed at the time as a central platform including big data analysis and intelligent process automation offered to financial services providers to augment the services they offer over the blockchain. Summarily, Nexfinance was revealed to be a product for enterprise customers rather than the general consumer base delivering secure digital identification methods, financial concierge services, and A.I.-driven automation for services such as filing an insurance claim. With that under consideration, the new Blockchain key box, Blockchain KeyStore, and Blockchain Core could be intended to bridge the gap between those financial service providers and consumers.
More recent reports in August suggested that experts in cryptocurrencies had argued that a smartphone with Trusted Execution Environments (TEE) such as Samsung’s own Knox, are not suitable for storing blockchain assets. In opposition to arguments presented by the Korean tech giant, the experts indicated that although those solutions are secure, they are susceptible to a number of attack vectors that only really vary based on how the TEE is implemented. As a result, they are not a good enough option on their own to protect the assets associated with blockchain-based holdings or cryptocurrency. It isn’t unfeasible that indirect feedback from experts in the technology is at least partially responsible for Samsung’s new ‘Blockchain’-branded solutions. Namely, they could simply be intended to supplement Knox on its flagship smartphones in order to ensure that cryptocurrency holdings and other assets stored on a Samsung device are kept more secure.
Impact: Samsung has been exploring blockchain-related solutions on its own mobile platforms for some time now and each of its newly filed marketing terms, at the surface, seems intrinsically linked to those efforts and one another. In the context of Samsung’s past efforts and plausible directions the company might be looking to take, Blockchain Core seems to represent the groundwork for securing transactions and stored assets. Blockchain key box could, in turn, act as a user-facing or hidden storage for private and public keys that allow transactions. That might also present details about transactions while adding an additional layer of security on top of Knox and Blockchain Core. Finally, Blockchain KeyStore would represent the place where transactions actually take place — the blockchain ‘store’. All of that would be stored on and accessed via a user’s smartphone whether as an app or a web service. That would presumably be limited to Samsung devices where the company has more control over the security underpinning the solutions.
Samsung could also be headed in a completely different direction and may not ever release any products under those brandings at all. However, that doesn’t seem likely with consideration of how adamant it has been about blockchain solutions in the past. There aren’t enough details in the IP documents to determine when such a product might release or exactly what they might pertain to. Regardless, the fast-tracked status of each individual filing seems to imply that the company is more than ready to move forward with something on the consumer-ready blockchain front. So it should only be a matter of time before Samsung brings products forward either under the branding or directly related to it.