Leaker Gregory Blake recently took to Twitter, replying to fellow leaker Ice universe, to show off what seems to be a Galaxy S10 running a cryptocurrency wallet and full-on blockchain key storage software to back it up. This means that the device will hold your unique crypto key, and presumably the keys for currency bits in your possession, right on the device. This may be accomplished using dedicated hardware, or through AI means, such as using onboard machine learning to generate codes on the fly.
Background: Samsung is currently the world's largest smartphone vendor, and the Galaxy S flagship lineup has achieved stellar sales time and time again. This means, essentially, that one of the most popular phones in the world will have an easy-to-use cryptocurrency wallet built right in. Given that many consumers have yet to jump in partially because of the relative difficulty of setting up a wallet, this could be a big development for cryptocurrency.
Samsung's software, as seen in the leak, seems to be focusing on user friendliness and accessibility. The types of currencies it supports don't seem to be revealed just yet, so only time will tell how useful it will be to those who already have cryptocurrency wallets set up.
What's a bit more fascinating is Samsung's word choice in the feature set. Specifically, it calls one of the features "Samsung Blockchain Keystore". This could mean that Samsung is planning to make use of blockchain principles on the device in ways besides simply allowing the storage and use of cryptocurrency. What those features may be is anybody's guess at this point.
Impact: Samsung Pay uses MST to remove the need for businesses to make a move to accept its payment method, extrapolating payment data into something similar to what would be read from a debit card. If this becomes the case with cryptocurrency, that means that anybody can pay for just about anything with cryptocurrency, and keep a wallet right on their phone.
Samsung Pay adding in support for cryptocurrency, if it happens, would likely not be a move to target those new to the scene, though Samsung could scrape a bit off the top by converting transactions. Rather, it would attract people to Samsung Pay with more payment options compared to the competition.
Naturally, how well that plays out will all depend on what currencies are supported. Cross-compatibility with third-party tools and wallets would also be a boon, but given security worries, it may be difficult if not impossible to effectively implement within the time frame Samsung is going to have to really push the feature.
Other blockchain use case possibilities abound, but one of the first ones that jumps to mind for onboard use in a smartphone is blockchain-based cybersecurity measures. An encrypted key could be calculated and decrypted for booting the phone, for example, or placed on trusted machines to prevent the phone from giving up its internal files or allowing debugging from any computer that doesn't have the right key file stored. All of this is, of course, speculation for now.