Samsung, the South Korean electronics giant, announced it will be launching a cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea in the first half of 2023. This is huge news for the South Korean crypto market, as dozens of their previous exchanges were shut down by the government in 2021, leaving space for Samsung to fill.
Samsung and Crypto
This isn’t Samsung’s first time playing in the cryptocurrency world. They notably launched a crypto wallet for their Samsung Galaxy phone line. The mobile wallet is integrated with Gemini as its exchange, for now, to run transactions straight out of the wallet for users in the US and Canada.
Part of Samsung’s crypto wallet is a whole decentralized sort of app store, with an entire developer toolkit to build on. As of now, the wallet is integrated with only two blockchains: Ethereum, and weirdly, Tron. There isn’t good data on how that experiment has been going, but their developer docs tout that there are “more than 40 dApps.” So I wouldn’t call it a huge success…
Why Build a Crypto Exchange?
As we saw from the FTX audit leaks (which were confirmed to be at least mostly correct by Sam Bankman-Fried), a well run cryptocurrency exchange is an AMAZING business. According to these leaked documents, from 2020 to 2021 FTX grew from $90M in revenue to $1.2B. Samsung’s exchange was probably in the works long before these leaks, but someone in Samsung had to feel good after seeing those numbers.
Samsung was the 8th largest company in the world in 2021, and many of its subsidiaries (healthcare, electronics, shipbuilding, amusement parks, engineering, etc.) are in the top 10-25 largest in the world in their category.