Samsung Electronics is considering using a blockchain ledger system to keep track of its global shipments in a move that could slash its shipping costs by 20 percent.
"It will have an enormous impact on the supply chains of manufacturing industries," Song Kwang-woo, the blockchain chief at Samsung SDS, told Bloomberg. "Blockchain is a core platform to fuel our digital transformation."
With the announcement, Samsung — the world's largest manufacturer of semiconductors and smartphones — signaled quiet confidence in the future of blockchain, the disruptive technology behind the cryptocurrency bitcoin.
Experts say a blockchain-based system will help Samsung roll out new products much more quickly and efficiently, thereby enabling it to beat its competition to the market.
"It cuts overhead and eliminates bottlenecks," said Cheong Tae-su, a professor of industrial engineering at Korea University in Seoul. "It's about maximizing supply efficiency and visibility, which translates into greater consumer confidence."
Samsung joins a growing chorus of big-name companies hopping on the blockchain bandwagon. Last week, Ripple — the blockchain-based payment network — invested $25 million of its XRP cryptocurrency into Blockchain Capital Parallel IV, a fund that will invest in blockchain ventures.
"There are entire verticals — such as healthcare or identity management — that could benefit from blockchain or distributed ledger technology," said Bart Stephens, co-founder and managing partner of Blockchain Capital.
Similarly, the Rockefeller family (estimated net worth: $1 trillion) threw its support behind bitcoin and blockchain by announcing it will make long-term investments in blockchain-based businesses through its venture capital arm Venrock.
"We wanted to partner with this team that has been making investments and actually helping to architect a number of different crypto economies and crypto token-based projects," said Venrock partner David Pakman.
The fact that establishment Old Money like the Rockefellers and technology upstarts such as Ripple are throwing money behind blockchain-based ventures is welcome news for the cryptocurrency market, which has been battered by bitcoin's recent price plunge.
After suffering the worst first quarter in its history, bitcoin prices started rallying on April 12, climbing above $8,000 after nosediving below $7,000 for two straight weeks.
It's too early to say if the rally will continue, but cryptocurrency bulls like tech billionaire Tim Draper have sky-high expectations for the largest cryptocurrency by market cap. Draper has boldly set a $250,000 bitcoin price target for 2022.
"I'm thinking $250,000 a bitcoin by 2022. Believe it!" Draper gushed. "They're going to think you're crazy, but believe it. It's happening and it's going to be awesome!"
So, will bitcoin prices soar or sink? Time will tell.