Samsung entering cryptocurrency: this is how Apple can (and should) follow

15 Mar, 2019
by Will Heasman
Samsung entering cryptocurrency: this is how Apple can (and should) follow

Samsung and its recent foray into the crypto ecosystem stands as one of the first major mobile companies to enter the industry, but with the tech conglomerate sharing approximately half the market with Apple, surely it's only a matter of time before a competitive race to corner the market begins? So when is Apple jumping into crypto? And what’s Samsung next crypto venture?

Samsung taking an interest and getting actively involved in the cryptocurrency industry is no matter of small importance.

Rumors circulated for months pertaining to the potential of a crypto wallet on the S10, and Samsung’s go to commentary on the issue was ‘deny, deny, deny.’

Read more: Samsung Galaxy S10 won't have a crypto wallet, despite "rumors and speculation"

However, sure enough, Samsung announced the S10’s blockchain capabilities in February revealing details of secure storage for private keys and blockchain enabled mobile devices.

And that wasn’t all, more bullish news followed, with various revelations of a crypto wallet powered by Enjin, supporting Bitcoin and a plethora of Ethereum ECR- 20 tokens, as well as the fairly left-field unveiling of decentralized app (dApp) support; Samsung’s trip into the industry shaped up to be much more than a simple blockchain keystore.

Will Apple follow suit?

Since 2012, Samsung has held a 20 – 30% of the smartphone market. It's closest rival? Apple.

Apple and Samsung have been battling it out for years, with the latter firm a hair in front, citing more than shipping more than 292 smartphones worldwide in 2018, compared to Apple’s 215 million units.

Clearly, there is no love lost between the firms, and surely, as these two behemoths slog it out for market dominance, it might seem reasonable to assume that one might just copy the other?

Companies thieving modeling their own products and practices after a rival’s business is nothing new; in fact, rather appropriately, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs once famously (and controversially) quoted Picasso stating:good artists copy; great artists steal and we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas."

Interestingly, this seems to be an actual operational process of Apple’s. There have been key instances of Apple, copying other businesses for years, one of those companies was Samsung.

Apple copied a fair few features from Samsung, from its edge to edge bezel-free displays, to OLED screens and even QI wireless charging. Samsung hasn’t really been any better, appropriating Apple’s Touch ID, and of course, the idea behind Apple pay, with Samsung subtly rebranding it as Samsung pay… smooth.

So, now we know Apple’s stance on stealing ideas, surely its just a matter of time before crypto integration? Right?

Well… maybe, the only issue is, Apple hasn’t had the kindest outlook on cryptocurrencies so far.

Back in 2018, the firm updated its developer guidelines to outlaw cryptocurrency mining on IOS devices, explicitly stating on their website: "Apps, including any third party advertisements displayed within them, may not run unrelated background processes, such as cryptocurrency mining."

Read more: Apple blocks mobile apps that are used to mine crypto

In August of the same year tech giant forced the removal of ‘War Riders’ from Coinbase’s wallet iOS app, a game in which players could collect assets represented by non-fungible tokens (NTFs). Trust wallet also found themselves in a similar predicament, with CEO Viktor Radchenko citing Apple’s seeming disdain for dApps:

Read more: Coinbase to remove featured crypto collectible game, War Riders, Apple orders

However, conversely, despite its stance on crypto-based apps, Apple listed multiple cryptocurrencies such as XRP, Tron (TRX), and Bitcoin (BTC) to its Stocks app, alongside a range of fiat currencies.

Read more: Apple lists Tron pricing on Stock app

Interestingly, Apple’s (other) co-founder Steve Wozniak is a big believer in crypto echoing sentiment from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, hoping that BTC becomes a global currency; and even once comparing Ethereum to Apple itself. Unfortunately for us, Woz left the firm soon after Apple went public in 1985…

Secret crypto venture?

However, not all is lost, Apple seems to have an ace in the hole, a closely guarded secret, revealed only within a provisionary patent filed in December 2017 which seems to relate to a blockchain technology:

“The new time becomes part of a blockchain when a miner solves the hash puzzle related to the new block holding the transaction indicating the new time. Because of distributed consensus, attempted alteration of the blockchain by a malicious node in terms of the time value will be detected by honest nodes,” reads the patent.

This except pretty much nails a vague description outlining the mechanics of a cryptocurrency, even delving into a process of avoiding hackers.

However, not much has come of the patent. Either Apple has some grand plan in store years in the making, or they’ve decided to discontinue the idea, perhaps coming up with a new one in its place.

Interestingly the latter may be true as Apple Pay Cash was released shortly after this patent was discovered. Apple Pay Cash essentially being Apple’s peer to peer cashless ecosystem, utilizing a virtual card stored in a digital wallet used for instantaneous peer to peer transactions… Sound familiar?

But if Apple Pay Cash is Apple's answer to cryptocurrency, what would be the point of Apple delving into crypto?

The benefits of an Apple cryptocurrency

The benefits are fairly blatant, currently, Apple pay cash still requires a debit or credit card to be linked to a bank account in order to put funds into Apple Pay Cash. This means that Apple still pays the processing fees demanded by banks, which is eventually bound to mount up. The inherent nature of a cryptocurrency (even one backed by fiat) would negate the majority of these processing fees, saving Apple what is presumably a significant amount of money.

Another benefit would be wider adoption, Apple Pay Cash doesn’t currently operate outside of the US, furthermore not every bank is affiliated with Apple Pay Cash, meaning that Apple is losing a large majority of users simply due to its banking restrictions.

With this said, let’s hypothesize for a second…  We know Samsung and Apple have a long history of copying each other, we know Samsung is heavily interested in the cryptocurrency industry, and we know that both Apple and Samsung have their own mobile payment apps… so, let's connect the dots.

A few reports, albeit fairly speculative, have suggested that Samsung Pay may soon integrate cryptocurrencies, and it kind of makes a lot of sense.

Currently, Samsung cites 34 million users on Samsung pay, as of Q4 of 2018, the number of blockchain wallet users worldwide was cited as approximately 32 million. Again with the dots...

Samsung could stand to gain a lot with crypto integration. Alongside the aforementioned positives such as reduced processing fees and no middlemen, the firm could potentially double their userbase.  

The advantages are all there, and for Samsung, it seems like a no brainer, Apple, however, might be a harder pitch, although if history is anything to go by, the fruit dubbed tech giant may just follow suit.

Read more: Samsung reveals dApps for the s10 wallet; Bitcoin not yet supported

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