Is LG Planning To Release A Cryptocurrency-Ready Smartphone?

According to a new report, South Korea-based tech giant LG Electronics has a cryptocurrency-focused smartphone in the works. South Korean media outlet IT Chosun reports that LG is developing the new phone in response to Samsung’s Galaxy S10 line of smartphones, which includes a native cryptocurrency hardware wallet and DApp support. The report claims that shortly after Samsung’s plans became known late last year, LG executives met with “several” South Korean DApp developers to discuss potential partnerships.

The report also notes that LG applied for a trademark for “ThinQ Wallet” in both South Korea and the U.S. earlier this year. The report suggests that the ThinQ Wallet would serve the same purpose as Samsung’s “Blockchain Keystore” app, which provides encryption and support for cryptocurrency and blockchain tools. This branding is more likely to apply to the company’s LG Pay payment platform for their G8 ThinQ line, but it’s possible that it could also incorporate a cryptocurrency wallet. (Samsung’s application provides much of the same functionality as a traditional hardware wallet, and currently supports BTC, ETH, and ERC-20 tokens, as well as a handful of other cryptocurrencies.)

If the report is accurate, the move would not be an unusual one for LG. While LG is a major global electronics manufacturer, it is rarely seen within the industry as an innovator. The firm has a well-established reputation for taking a wait-and-see approach to consumer demand, allowing other companies to take the risk when presenting new ideas. One commonly cited example is the troubled launch of Samsung’s “foldable” smartphone, which LG responded to with a far-less risky dual-screen model.

While it is possible that LG is developing a truly blockchain-focused smartphone, it’s more likely that the company is actually planning on adding some level of DApp and cryptocurrency wallet functionality to their existing lines of phones. So-called “blockchain phones” are currently an unproven niche within the smartphone industry, and it’s not clear if the feature will be a major selling point for Samsung’s Galaxy S10 line. It’s worth noting that Samsung has also become a major supplier of cryptocurrency mining ASICs, which may explain their early interest in adding blockchain support to their smartphones. Another rival device, the Huobi-branded Acute Angle smartphone, is slated for release later this year.