There was one question everyone wanted answers to at the end of Moritz von Widekind’s presentation at Blockchain Expo in London today. What about the Samsung coin?
Von Widekind is the Samsung SDS head of head business dev and fintech in Europe, and was actually speaking about enterprise platform design. But as soon as he concluded his remarks, he was hit by a barrage of questions about the electronics giant’s rumored new coin.
Von Widekind was careful to stress that nothing has been officially announced, or specified yet. But, speaking to Decrypt after his presentation, he said that discussions about a Samsung coin had been in progress for some time.
Based on his interview, and the earlier Q&A, here are a few tidbits we were able to glean:
- The uses and design of the token are unclear.
- The coin could be launched on the NextLedger blockchain—but whether it will depends on its use case, which might focus on building customer loyalty
- The effort is still very much a work in progress, and being worked out across a variety of divisions, in South Korea and elsewhere.
“Samsung is a huge organization and everyone within the organization works with blockchain, to a certain extent,” Von Widekind told us, adding that the electronics division, in Korea, is the most likely development site for a coin.
This is contrary to previous reports that the coin project has emerged from the company’s dedicated blockchain division.
Von Widekind suggested that ensuring customer loyalty could form the rationale behind the coin project, “That was one aspect that was mentioned in the past,” he said. But whether it will have its own mainnet, or utilize Samsung’s hybrid NextLedger, which Samsung SDS is developing, is undecided.
“We could be the provider of a platform for something like that, but there are no discussions, so far.” He added that, for a project targeting the Samsung ecosystem exclusively, NextLedger would be the best platform.
“We are building this multi-use case enterprise platform, which of course, can be used by any Samsung entity, but it doesn’t have to be,” he said.
Von Widekind’s division focuses on technologies that drive the digitization of payments and banking—that includes logistics, shipping, cloud services and data centers.
The blockchain platform his team is developing has its own consensus algorithm but also uses the HyperLedger and Ethereum protocols. Which is deployed depends very much on the use case, he says. Ethereum would be deployed in situations where smart contracts are needed, to guarantee artists music rights, for instance.
Among the projects the team has been working on are “Samsung card,” which is all about digital time stamping and identity, and the KFB Bank Consortium project, which saw 15 Korean banks, covering 95 percent of the market, explore scalable blockchain integration.
Their strategy, he says, is based on expanding use cases. “It’s always the use case that determines the blockchain technology platform,” he says. “We have a layered approach so we can always change the protocol, without changing the infrastructure or ecosystem.”
And, rather than a new coin, what interests Von Widekind the most is the convergence of AI, IoT and blockchain, “that’s really what’s driving the future of our business,” he says.
So could there come a day when all of Samsung’s various interests and projects come together and create, seamless, end-to-end services for its customers?
Von Widekind doesn’t think so:
“It’s impossible. We have over 600,000 people people in the group. They all have their own research department and each is exploring blockchain technology for their own needs. Of course, we are always interested in having a full Samsung solution.”
Whether that will feature a coin or not is still unclear, but we have a sneaking suspicion that it just might.