The world's biggest maker of smartphones and semiconductors may use the technology behind cryptocurrencies to manage its vast global supply network.

Samsung Electronics Co. is considering a blockchain ledger system to keep track of global shipments worth tens of billions of dollars a year, according to Song Kwang-woo, the blockchain chief at Samsung SDS Co., the group's logistical and information and technology arm. The system could cut shipping costs by 20 percent, according to SDS.

While companies around the world have said they're planning to deploy blockchain technology on everything from cross-border payments to tracking the life-cycle of supermarket chickens, Samsung Group is one of the first global manufacturers to take a serious look at using the distributed ledgers in its operations. SDS is working on the system for Samsung Electronics, the conglomerate's crown jewel.

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