Samsung, Bank Of Korea Eye CBDCs Loaded On Phones


To get your digital currency into the hands of millions, make the point of interaction as familiar, as broad and as wide as possible.

The battle in crypto-land seems to be narrowing toward one where, in one corner, so to speak, are the bitcoins of the world, the digital offerings that are volatile, and are still marked by speculation and whipsawed activity.

On the other side are the central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), the electronic version of fiat, backed and issued by central banks that (ostensibly at least) would not have the hallmarks of volatility that mark other offerings.

It’s well known that governments around the world have been mulling the creation and issuance of CBDCs, and depending on where you look, pilots abound. In some cases, such as in China, Jamaica and the Caribbean, coins are being minted and issued and are even being used in trials here and there.

Newfound Consideration Of CBDCs 

In some countries, where the outlook on cryptos (in the traditional, bitcoin sense of the word) is decidedly to the downside, there’s been a newfound consideration of CBDCs.

See also: India Begins To Consider A CBDC 

In what may be a way to get CBDCs more firmly entrenched in the public imagination, across technological conduits with which they are infinitely familiar, Korea’s central bank is working with Samsung to pilot its digital currency on Galaxy smartphones, for cross-border applications and for functionality in offline environments. As reported by the Korea Times, quoting an unnamed executive, “a pilot program aimed at checking on money transfers and remittances between countries, issuing and distributing the CBDC and monitoring how that eventually works in virtual environments.”

Samsung, of course, is no stranger to the space. As long ago as 2019, the company said that it was bringing a blockchain-friendly phone to market (KlaytnPhone), pre-loaded with a crypto wallet.

The Bank of International Settlements has said that CBDCs, with interoperability and collaboration between banks, can improve cross-border payments.

Read more: Report: CBDCs Can Cut Cross-Border Payments’ Friction Points  

The linkup between the tech provider that is firmly entrenched in daily life — that would be Samsung — and the central bank means that experiments are taking place within a controlled and quite familiar environment. And familiarity breeds repeat behavior. The test cases, where remittances and wallets go together, also hint at the bank’s intent to get CBDCs entrenched in familiar use cases too.

Around the world, central banks and governments have been eyeing (and perhaps taking a cue from) China’s efforts in the CBDC space.

In one recent example, a Chinese district, located around 60 miles south of Beijing, is where digital yuan is being used to pay some workers.

See also: China Tests Digital Yuan In Wage Payments