Sony Group, or Sony are known for being one of the biggest technology and electronics firms in the world. Based in Japan, but spread across an international market, Sony are most known for their Xperia mobile range and their PlayStation games console range, though, Sony are equally known for their production of more domestic products too, including HIFI systems, computers and televisions. Sony is a massive corporation, with over 117,000 employees globally, and a revenue of over $58 billion in 2017, their grip on the market is tight, and therefore moves made by Sony should be watched very closely. According to the Sony Wiki:
“Sony is one of Japan's largest corporations by revenue. It had revenues of ¥6.493 trillion in 2012. It also maintains large reserves of cash, with ¥895 billion on hand as of 2012. In May 2012, Sony shares were valued at about $15 billion.The company was immensely profitable throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, in part because of the success of its new PlayStation line. The company encountered financial difficulty in the mid- to late-2000s due to a number of factors: the global financial crisis, increased competition for PlayStation, and the devastating Japanese earthquake of 2011.”
Despite their previous struggles though, Sony continue to rage on, with the now very successful PlayStation 4 and an ever-growing range of Sony Xperia smartphones, many have started to ask what is next for this forward thinking firm? Well, now we know.Sony have announced the production of a Bitcoin walletAccording to new reports, Sony have announced that they are set to begin the production of a new Bitcoin wallet, designed to compete with the likes of the Trezor One and the Nano Ledger S.Sony have found that there is a huge opportunity within the cryptocurrency markets to create a wallet that is safe, secure and easy to use. In order to be able to compete with the market leaders, Trezor and Nano, the Sony Bitcoin wallet will too be kept offline, a hard storage wallet designed to give it’s users maximum security when storing their Bitcoin. According to the official Sony press release:
“Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc. has developed a contactless IC card type cryptocurrency hardware wallet technology by utilizing Sony Corporation’s IC card technology. Currently, many cryptocurrency users are trading cryptocurrencies using online wallets from the locations where they initially purchased their cryptocurrencies. When a user owns a cryptocurrency, what they actually own is not the cryptocurrency itself, but a private key that allows you to freely trade that cryptocurrency. If you own the private key, you can freely use the cryptocurrency associated with the private key. If that private key is known to others, it is possible that others will use the cryptocurrency associated with the private key.”
Sony are concerned with how online wallets and storage systems work, it’s well known that online wallets are not as secure as offline wallets, though in this instance, Sony want to take that level of security one step further. Whilst competitor wallets use typical USB interfaces to connect with computers (and therein the blockchain) the Sony system has been designed to utilise contactless technology, adding yet another layer of security to the users assets.According to the press release:
“Sony CSL has developed a contactless IC card type hardware wallet which includes mutual authentication/encrypted communication technology by applying Sony’s expertise in contactless IC card technology cultivated over many years. The IC card type hardware wallet is small, portable and useful, unlike typical existing hardware wallets that connect to PCs via USB. In addition, it is possible to securely generate and store a private key with a highly reliable tamper-proof module within the IC card.”
“This IC card-type cryptocurrency hardware wallet technology not only manages the private keys used for cryptocurrency transactions, but also manages private keys used for other purposes, such as those for permitting the use of personal information using blockchain technology. It is an infrastructure technology with multiple possible applications.”
Further implications for thisFirst of all, this is great. This is the first time a mainstream technology firm has recognised a need for better cryptocurrency storage solutions. By creating this product, Sony are confirming that they not only have an interest in blockchain technology, they have an interest in Bitcoin and cryptocurrency too. It’s one thing to think about how Sony could start to invest in Bitcoin, but it’s also another thing to think about how Sony may go on to integrate this wallet technology and other crypto technologies into their existing products in Xperia and PlayStation. Xperia phones one day could go on to have this technology built in as a native application (did someone say Xperia blockchain phone?). Furthermore, PlayStation could integrate a portion of this wallets blockchain technology to work alongside game licensing/authentication or even to facilitate payments on the PlayStation Network. What this could mean is that soon enough, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies may ben accepted as payment methods on PlayStation. Of course, this is all speculation at the moment. The Sony wallet has been confirmed - this will go into production and it will shake up the crypto hardware markets. Next up, we can only expect Sony to continue to explore this area. We know their current technologies could benefit from blockchain integration so therefore, we should expect that at least some focus will be placed, by Sony into the development of blockchain technologies that are suitable for their current flagship Xperia and PlayStation products.