Samsung’s unassuming entrance into cryptocurrency; Apple is still exploring

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  1. Samsung’s unassuming entrance into cryptocurrency; Apple is still exploring

As many of you may have read last week, Samsung’s Galaxy new smartphone S10 will start shipping on March 8 and will incorporate a cryptocurrency wallet. Out of the entire press release about the new phone line, Samsung’s only reference to its cryptocurrency wallet was: “a secure storage backed by hardware, which houses your private keys for blockchain-enabled mobile services”.

Apparently, an industry executive told CCN that Samsung has been playing down its cryptocurrency wallet integration because a relatively large portion of the mainstream user base of mobile phones is resistant to terms like “Bitcoin” and “cryptocurrency.” 

Nevertheless, with Samsung being the leading mobile brand with a global phone market share of 32%, this is still immensely positive for the crypto space. It may be just a trial test for the company, but this will certainly force players like Apple, which ranks 2nd in the global phone market with 22% of share, to examine cryptocurrency a bit more closely.

From insiders that I’ve spoken to, Apple is still in the very very early stages of exploration of blockchain and cryptocurrency. They have consulted with outside individuals and experts on potential ideas but it hasn’t arrived at a decision yet on how they’d like to get involved with the space.

Currently, it looks like Samsung’s new wallet will feature Bitcoin, Ethereum, and an “add new token” button. Local publications in South Korea reported that Samsung is expected to integrate a full ERC20 support into its crypto wallet. Checkout more details inside the Samsung wallet

And here is a tutorial of the wallet through the phone, which explained that the app”

“broadly allows three features: payments to merchants, digital signatures and crypto storage and transfers. The phone’s full list of possible uses reads: secure distribution of data, insurance and contract verification, content copyright management, direct sharing of content, in-game goods ownership, digital asset management and transactions.

According to the app’s terms and conditions, the Blockchain Keystore generates and stores a private key based on blockchain technology in a secure enclave built into the device. It can securely sign and store cryptocurrency transactions using blockchain.”

And to folks who are wondering what do you do about your private keys if you lose your phone?

“According to the T&Cs, the private keys stored in the S10’s Keystore arebacked up in a personal account provided by Samsung. If the phone is lost or stolen, users can access the device and delete the private key through its Find My Mobile service. Further, if a private key is accidentally deleted, users can restore it via the service.”

2. Thailand’s National Legislative Assembly has officially allowed the issuance of tokenized securities on blockchain; platform security and consumer protection should be a big focus

“Changes come into effect later in 2019, tokenized securities such as stocks and bonds can be officially issued on blockchain

The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (Thai SEC) will issue additional rules so that crypto platforms can seek a securities depository license.

The regulator will also allow businesses that operate as depositories of securities and digital tokens to apply for such licenses.

Previously, the aforementioned act defined Thailand Securities Depository Co Ltd, a subsidiary of the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET), as the only company permitted to operate as a securities depository for the SET’s securities trading operations.

The Thai SEC will also decide whether a security token offering is regulated under the current securities act or the royal decree on digital assets. The decision will depend on the rights and obligations associated with a particular token, the publication notes.”

As I’ve mentioned before, Thailand has emerged as one the most interestingcryptocurrency and blockchain countries in Southeast Asia. Since early 2018, the regulators have been continuously issuing new rules and have made notable progress, from setting up cryptocurrency company licenses to permitting exchanges and ICOs. They have now given the green light for blockchain-based securities issuance and trading.

In Southeast Asia, Thailand is up against countries such as Singapore that have also positioned itself as a hub to attract blockchain capital and projects. Nevertheless, financial literacy is not very high in Thailand, and the Thailand capital market is still quite nascent. 

The regulators are making up for that by implementing regulations that are the most welcoming for crypto foreign businesses, trading platforms and talents to enter. As a result, we are seeing the regional crypto businesses and exchanges becoming receptive to the regulators’ openness. Recently, OKEx has launched support for Thai baht-crypto trading, while other foreign exchanges such as from Japan have also made initial forays into the market. 

It is commendable that the regulators are kept up to date about what is happening in crypto through communicating with the entrepreneurs and crypto community in the region. But moving at a fast pace can potentially lead to oversight around consumer protection and also subpar standards and evaluations. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Thailand’s financial-literacy scores are less than the global average, ranking 17th of 30 surveyed economies, and well behind Hong Kong (fifth) and South Korea (seventh). It is likely difficult for an average citizen to evaluate the value and technology of the cryptocurrency or any of the permitted exchanges.

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