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Galaxy S22 has a built-in cryptocurrency wallet

Published Feb 12th, 2022 2:26PM EST
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra in white
Image: Samsung

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Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S22 series on Wednesday, confirming everything we thought we knew about the handsets. The Galaxy S22 Ultra has become the new Note, as Samsung retired the Galaxy Note brand. In other words, the Galaxy S22 event did not have any big surprises to reveal if you kept up with the leaks that preceded the Unpacked press conference. But Samsung did deliver one surprise that will cater to a particular type of Galaxy S22 buyer: Cryptocurrency enthusiasts.

The Galaxy S22 phones come with a brand new Samsung Wallet preinstalled that does everything you’d expect from a digital wallet on a smartphone. But, unlike the iPhone’s Wallet app, Samsung Wallet will support crypto transactions involving bitcoin and other digital tokens.

Samsung’s interest in bringing cryptocurrency support to its smartphones did not start with the Galaxy S22. It’s a feature that’s already available on Galaxy devices. It began a few years ago with the Galaxy S10’s Samsung Blockchain Wallet. Last May, Samsung added support for hardware wallets to its Blockchain Wallet.

That was right around the time bitcoin reached a new all-time high in the crypto frenzy of spring 2021.

Separately, Apple confirmed it has been paying attention to the cryptocurrency landscape. But the iPhone maker has yet to commit to bringing bitcoin support to its Wallet app on iOS.

On the same note, we have Google expanding the Google Pay ecosystem to support cryptocurrencies. But Google hasn’t delivered the kind of support that Samsung Wallet will have on the Galaxy S22 handsets.

Galaxy S22 Samsung Wallet app
Galaxy S22 Samsung Wallet app: Samsung Pay. Image source: Samsung

How cryptocurrency works on the Galaxy S22

Samsung hasn’t actually explained what the new Samsung Wallet can do on the Galaxy S22 in terms of cryptocurrency transactions. What is certain so far is that Samsung unveiled a brand new Wallet during the Unpacked event earlier this week.

Here’s how Samsung framed it all in less than 30 seconds during the Wallet segment of the presentation:

Our all-new Samsung Wallet will carry your digital valuables in one convenient, and secure place. You will be able to store your IDs, credit cards, passwords, keys, and even your boarding passes.

So you not only have to carry less, but you can access them anywhere. Samsung Wallet will also let you access and explore complex digital products, like cryptocurrency, with more ease too.

If any of that sounds similar, that’s because we already have this functionality on the iPhone. Apple’s Wallet app handles many of the digital valuables that Samsung lists. That includes credit cards, boarding passes, transit cards, tickets, rewards/loyalty cards, digital keys (car, home, hotel, or office), vaccination records, and digital IDs (where available).

The iPhone Wallet does not store passwords, though iOS does have a separate password manager of sorts thanks to Keychain. Apple Wallet does not store cryptocurrency either. That’s where the Galaxy S22’s Samsung Wallet app stands out.

It’s certainly the kind of development that bitcoin and crypto enthusiasts will appreciate. Using the Samsung Wallet on Galaxy S22 to make crypto transactions could be a nice addition to the phone. However, we don’t know how it works or which cryptocurrencies the Samsung Wallet will support.

Galaxy S22 Samsung Wallet app
Galaxy S22 Samsung Wallet app: Digital Assets. Image source: Samsung

What do we know so far?

Samsung’s Galaxy S22 press release doesn’t even mention cryptocurrency support. The word cryptocurrency doesn’t appear once. But it does say that the Samsung Knox security suite can protect your blockchain keys.

Whether it’s the Samsung Blockchain Wallet or the new Samsung Wallet on the Galaxy S22, Samsung is serious about user data privacy and security. The Galaxy S22 Unpacked segment that followed the Wallet announcement covered those issues.

The Samsung Knox platform will safeguard the contents of the Samsung Wallet. Knox has its own secure processor and memory, which isolate all sensitive data from the phone’s operating system. Also, you’ll have to use your fingerprint or a PIN to authorize any access to sensitive information in the secure enclave.

With that in mind, the cryptocurrency management on the Galaxy S22 should be quite secure.

What we need now is for Samsung to explain what sort of cryptocurrency features the Galaxy S22 will support. And to expand Samsung Wallet to more Android devices, not just the flagships.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.