LG Developing Blockchain Phone According to Industry Sources

South Korean tech giant LG is said to be working with blockchain developers to launch blockchain-based smartphones in response to Samsung’s recently unveiled Klaytn Phone, according to sources within the industry.

LG Blockchain Phone

According to media outlet IT Chosun, the tech giant plans to expand the next generation of its smartphones to introduce blockchain-friendly smartphones, making it the second major South Korean phone manufacturer to make a move in that direction. An industry insider said LG had already gone through market research of blockchain firms as well as held discussions with local decentralized application (DApp) developers, devising a use case for its future product.

The industry insider noted that “LG is likely to respond to Samsung’s innovation initiative.” Another source familiar with the LG Group told the media outlet that the company has been “struggling to apply blockchain to smartphones without any dissimilarity.”

The news follows just as last week LG’s rival Samsung launched yet another blockchain-friendly smartphone, dubbed KlaytnPhone, as a Galaxy Note 10 variant. The device will come with a wallet and a free handout of KLAY, the token developed by Kakao off-shoot, GroundX.

Currently the smartphone is available only in South Korea and is named after Kakao’s blockchain subsidiary GroundX’s blockchain platform Klaytn.

Rivalry with Samsung

Earlier this year, Samsung also launched the Galaxy S10 smartphone, which provides users with a cryptocurrency wallet and dApps, and has been adding a number of decentralized apps (or dapps) to its official DApp store, Blockchain Keystore.

The media outlet further quoted an anonymous source as saying that Samsung is a more attractive proposition for blockchain developers as the company already has a crypto wallet for smartphones and a dapps marketplace, whereas LG does not support blockchain technology yet.

However another unnamed source pointed out that LG has joined Klaytn Governance Council, an alliance of multinational businesses and organizations, responsible for Klaytn’s governance, consensus node operation, and ecosystem growth, in June this year.

Although no definite details about LG’s future smartphone have been disclosed, this move marks promising new waves of blockchain- friendly smartphones as well as encourages more adoption for the industry.

LG Exploring Blockchain

Other blockchain – friendly smartphones that are currently available in the market include Sirin Labs’ FINNEY and HTC’s EXODUS. Last year, Pundi X unveiled its blockchain phone XPhone, which allows users to switch between a traditional mode supporting Android apps and a blockchain mode which will enable them to access dapps loaded on the device.

Meanwhile, LG has been exploring a range of blockchain-related business avenues. For instance, the company has launched its own Monachain blockchain platform, and is working with major bank KB on a token of some form – thought by many to be a cryptocurrency or a stablecoin.

Most recently, LG filed a trademark application for ThinQWallet in the U.S. aiming to provide a number of services such as issuance of cyber money, a computer software platform for blockchain, and mobile electronic wallet for cryptocurrency.

Mastercard Job Openings Hint at Cryptocurrency Wallet Development

Multinational financial services provider Mastercard has recently added three senior-level positions amongst other positions onto their career website with the goal to develop cryptocurrency and wallets solutions.

According to the company’s career website, Mastercard is looking to fill in the position for a senior blockchain engineer and engineering lead, director for product development and innovation, as well as vice president for product management and director of product management for cryptocurrency and wallets.

Based on the job descriptions, the new recruits will work with a cross-functional team comprising of Franchise, Compliance, Regulation, Products, Labs, Regions and Technology to develop new products and solutions.

The director for product management – cryptocurrency/wallets, will be expected to “lead the ideation, definition, design, and development of innovative crypto currency solutions, including wallet solutions,” and to have already had an experience managing cryptocurrency wallet products.

Whilst the company has yet to disclose full details of the planned products’ scope, they do indicate that the new hires will be asked to identify solutions and concepts that have strategic fit and value to Mastercard’s customers and partners.

Other senior roles such as vice president of network tech product management, director of payments platform and networks, senior analyst for strategic program management, mention the need for expertise in blockchain technology. In addition to these top-level roles, the company is also seeking blockchain engineers and analysts with knowledge in blockchain.

The future hire for VP in product management for blockchain/crypto should notably have experience with current payment systems as well as be familiar with relevant industry standards and regulatory requirements, according to the job posting.

Overall, all roles will be required to closely monitor evolving trends in the cryptocurrency industry and initiate solutions for new technological developments as well as emerging risks.

Meanwhile, it is noteworthy to mention that Mastercard is one of the 27 inaugural members that have expressed their intention to join the Libra Association— a consortium established to govern Facebook’s planned stablecoin project, Libra.

Mastercard has been dabbling with the blockchain technology over the last couple of years. In 2017, it announced that it was opening its blockchain to merchants and banks to experiment with a new payment network. Last year, the company hired 175 engineers, including people with expertise in blockchain.

Austria’s High-Tech Passport Maker Released Its Own Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet

Youniqx Identity AG, a subsidiary of the Austrian State Printing House (Oesterreichische Staatsdruckerei or OeSD), has developed a cryptocurrency hardware wallet, according to a press release published on July 29th.

The Austrian printing company dates back to the early 1800s and is a safe and secure printing company that has become the country’s high-tech passport maker and provider of other secure identity solutions.

The new device is aimed to address the vulnerability of online wallets to hacking, which are a great security risk according to the printing firm. The hardware wallet — named Chainlock — will enable the offline storage of private keys with access to cryptocurrency wallets. The device is apparently capable of generating the private key in a (patent applied for) high-security enclave, meaning it cannot be viewed by any outside party including Youniqx or OeSD employees.

Whilst the wallet can be managed through an app, it is secure from unauthorized access to private keys over the internet, WiFi and NFC. Notably, crypto-stealing malware like CryptoLocker cannot access keys on the device.

Chainlock will take the form of a credit-card sized sliver of plastic which is also water and heat resistant. The wallet will be available via the firm’s partners, including Tokenize Exchange in Singapore and Coinfinity in Central Europe. Priced at €59.99 (around $67) including VAT, the Chainlock wallet is currently available for Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Although the Austrian State Printing House is traditionally a high tech paper printer, which specializes in identity document manufacturing that implements and offers personalization solutions for identity documents such as Austrian passport, it has recently moved into more high-tech digital identity and security offerings, some of which YOUNIQX was set up to develop. The subsidiary has already launched a secure video identification service MICK (My Identity Check), and MIA (My Identity App), which is an integrated identity management platform.

The new wallet is equipped with anti-fraud features that are available via Coinfinity. Some of its anti-fraud features are similar to those found on newer forms of passports or fiat currency, which have micro-printing on both sides, hologram, as well as a continuous color gradient, tactile texturing and UV and infrared-visible patterns.

Franck Muller Unveils Encrypto Watch with Bitcoin Storage Capabilities

Swiss luxury watchmaker Franck Muller has unveiled a limited-edition watch “Encrypto”, which should be the world’s first functional Bitcoin watch.

In addition to being a high-end fashion accessory, the watch also functions as a cold wallet for Bitcoin, which would be the first watch to allow for this.

The dial of the timepiece will be engraved with a public address and comes paired with a private key on a USB drive. According to the firm, the cold storage wallet is secure and uses offline generated, non-deterministic TRNGs (True Random Numbers Generated).

The luxury watch has a distinct Bitcoin sign and the QR code of Bitcoin’s Genesis Block inscribed onto its frame. The Encrypto is currently available online and at Franck Muller’s Dubai Mall store, with accepted payment options being credit card and bank transfer, as well as Bitcoin.

Encrypto will be a limited edition with 500 each of men’s and women’s variants to be sold, with the cost being between $10,000-$60,000. The latter price, however, will get you the diamond encrusted version.

The company is reportedly considering the production of functionally similar watches that support other top cryptocurrencies, such as Ether (ETH) and Ripple’s XRP.

Earlier this year, luxury Swiss watchmaker A. Favre & Fils also announced that it is developing a handcrafted mechanical watch with a built-in crypto-wallet. The watch will cost in the range of $102,000–$153,000, depending upon the model, its features and materials.

Another Swiss luxury watch and clock manufacturer, Vacheron Constantin, will start using blockchain technology to track its timepieces.

Samsung Makes Sizable Investment In Hardware Wallet Manufacturer Ledger

Most recently, South Korean technology behemoth Samsung has invested 2.6 million Euro ($2.9 million) into hardware wallet manufacturer – Ledger.

French business magazine Capital reported the news on April 24th, stating that a spokesperson for Ledger had confirmed the investment. However, the representative provided no further details beyond the amount invested into the startup.

The news follows the recent appointment of Pascal Gauthier – the company’s former president – as the new CEO. The previous CEO, Eric Larchevêque, will serve now as Executive Chairman of the Ledger’s Board.

Larchevêque has confirmed the news as well, tweeting out that “we will always need hardware wallets, but to accompany a revolution crypto based on a personal sovereignty accessible to all, the smartphone will actually play a central role.”

At present, the startup is in partnership with several other financial institutions with the goal to establish and offer a number of custody alternatives. For instance, their custody venture with Nomura – a Japanese bank – is expected to launch by 2020. Similarly, Ledger is also working on custody services for Ethereum-based tokens with Hong Kong legacy Trust.

Meanwhile, Samsung has recently broken into the crypto and blockchain industry. Recently, the company announced that a new line of flagship smartphones – the Galaxy S10 series – will come out including new functional features such as a crypto wallet.

In addition to that, Ledger has had previous funding rounds, including a $7 million Series A fund raise in 2017 and a $75 million Series B in 2018. Many speculate this could be part of a larger funding round from Samsung, however it currently remains unclear.

An anonymous source has tipped local news off that Samsung may be working on the development of a public-private blockchain platform as well as its own Ethereum-based token, dubbed the Samsung Coin. The person claimed “we expect Samsung Coin to come out in the market, but the direction has not yet been decided.

However earlier this week, Samsung has announced the delay of the official launch of its $2,000 folding phone dubbed Galaxy Fold after a series of breakage issues had been reported. Many tech reviews reported the inside screens flickering, freezing, and ultimately dying on their test phones within the first few days. The reviews revealed as well that substances found inside the device affected the display performance.