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Samsung and IBM going all-in to Ethereum and Stellar?

Samsung and IBM are making strides to implement blockchain-related technology within their business models, using both Ethereum (ETH) and Stellar (XLM). Could we even hope for better news?

Insider sources at Samsung have revealed that the South Korean tech giant is readying a new public-private blockchain equipped with its own cryptocurrency in a move that could hasten adoption of distributed ledger technology. According to the source, ‘Samsung Coin’ is currently in development but the timing and direction of the new product has not been confirmed. The source did confirm that it will be powered by Ethereum.

Samsung has made several forays into the blockchain arena. The company’s new Galaxy S10 smartphones have in-built crypto wallet features that support Ethereum and hundreds of ERC-20 tokens. According to French business magazine, Capital, Samsung has invested nearly $3 million in Ledger, one of the leading cryptocurrency hardware wallet manufacturers.

CEO Mortiz von Widekind addressed the various rumours connecting Samsung to cryptocurrency at the recent Blockchain Expo in London. Speaking to Decrypt Media, he said:

“Samsung is a huge organisation and everyone within the organisation works with blockchain, to a certain extent.”

If anything, this is an endorsement of Ethereum as a reliable blockchain with solid plans of scaling and further developing the network to handle all the heavy lifting from an established electronics giant. Add that to the Samsung Galaxy S10 Blockchain Store wallet supporting Ethereum (ETH) and ERC-20 tokens, and investors don’t need other signals for what the future holds.

Mortiz comments suggest that blockchain adoption is an organisational effort and not just limited to one particular unit. After all, Samsung is just one of the several big-tech firms pivoting toward blockchain. Facebook, for example, is also rumoured to be creating their own coin.

But more importantly, there are two other players I would like to focus on.

Looking at IBM & Stellar

IBM Blockchain World Wire

In March 2019, IBM launched World Wire – an international payments solution based on Stellar’s decentralised ledger technology. It is available in 72 countries and 47 different currencies.

The blockchain-based platform offers an elegant solution that simplifies international settlements. Before World Wire, cross-border transactions had to go through messaging, clearing, and settlement before funds appeared in the recipient’s account. This is a complicated and lengthy affair that requires a number of intermediaries, which adds time and cost to the whole process. World Wire eliminates these intermediaries by relying on the Stellar protocol.

The key to this elegant solution is the use of a stablecoin that is backed by fiat currency. For example, if bank A in the UK wants to send money to bank B in the Philippines, both banks will agree to come up with a new stablecoin (UKPH coin for instance). The bank in Brazil will buy UKPH using the Brazilian Real and then send it to the Stellar network. Stellar will forward UKPH to bank B in the Philippines. Bank B will then convert UKPH into Philippine Peso.

Since World Wire uses the Stellar network, the transaction happens in seconds with almost no loss of value other than the 0.00001 XLM network fee. With this solution, six international banks have already provided letters of intent to issue stablecoins on World Wire.

Also, while it is not explicitly stated, it is safe to assume that you don’t need a bank account to use World Wire. Partner banks can simply access the World Wide platform by plugging into a set of provided APIs. Thus, it is an additional service that doesn’t require users to have accounts in participating banks.

With this development, Stellar’s road to mass adoption appears to be clearing. IBM’s World Wire is just the beginning.

Not only that, but IBM Blockchain is also partnering with German automotive giant Volkswagen to track strategic minerals used throughout the manufacturing supply chain. IBM’s blockchain unit has more than 1,500 industry and technical experts.

Let’s hope fundamentals keep improving!

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