Samsung recently filed a trademark application for software known as "Samsung Blockchain Wallet" with the United Kingdom Intellectual Patent Office (UKIPO). The South Korean tech giant applied for the trademark on December 17th, and the agency categorizes the trademark under class number 9, which means that the trademark applies for smartphones, tablets, or computers. According to Samsung’s application, this trademark will apply to a smartphone app designed that allows users to transfer cryptocurrency between devices using blockchain technology and to pay for purchased items with the help of third-party applications.
There is little information available about the purpose of the Samsung Blockchain Wallet, although recent reports show that the trademark refers to a secure enclave within smartphones that also functions as cold storage of cryptocurrencies. Cold Storage refers to the offline storage of cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, and this feature reduces the risk of hackers stealing the cryptocurrency held by a user. However, it is not yet clear if Samsung will include this feature into future flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S10 or if the tech giant will release its own blockchain-centric smartphones like the devices recently released by HTC and Sirin Labs.
Background: Samsung has been considering the possible applications of blockchain technology to its business and products over the last few months. Earlier this month, Samsung applied for three trademarks that could refer to the company's portfolio of blockchain-related offerings. These trademarks include the Blockchain KeyStore, Blockchain Key Box, and Blockchain Core. The Blockchain Key Box could refer to the storage solution that securely saves the public and private transaction keys, while the Blockchain KeyStore could pertain to a service where users could download and install blockchain-based applications and games. The Blockchain Core, on the hand, could be the name for Samsung's transaction solution that allows smartphones to communicate with the blockchain.
Aside from applying blockchain technology to smartphones, Samsung is also looking at the benefits that the technology could bring to its operations. Last April, an executive from the company mentioned that Samsung is currently exploring the joint use of a blockchain-based ledger system and artificial intelligence to manage the company's air cargo and shipping operations. Samsung notes that the blockchain ledger system offers the advantages of end-to-end security in addition to a publicly viewable and tamper-evident transaction log.
Impact: The filing of the Samsung Blockchain Wallet trademark points to the development of a portfolio of services and applications that cater to the owners of cryptocurrency and other blockchain assets. However, if consumers intend to use their smartphones to transact using cryptocurrencies, these devices will need a secure way of storing assets. The addition of a cold storage solution should help the device securely keep blockchain assets since cryptocurrency experts consider existing solutions, like Samsung's Knox, not suitable for storing cryptocurrency and other assets due to its susceptibility to several attack vectors. The Blockchain Wallet, along with the other three services that Samsung previously applied, could supplement Knox in securing the cryptocurrency holdings stored in the device.
However, the application of trademarks does not necessarily mean that the company will release similarly-branded products soon, and even if it launches, it is not yet clear if Samsung will introduce the features with its future flagship devices or with smartphones purposely designed for cryptocurrency holders.