In May, HTC announced the development of its first smartphone with integrated blockchain capabilities. The HTC “Exodus” will join Swiss company Sirin Labs’ “Finney” in the race to develop crypto compatible smartphones. Both phones advertise the integration of a blockchain, wallet, cold storage, a Daaps store, and atomic swaps. The ability to carry crypto in your pocket will complement mobility first introduced by laptop and phone mining. But what will differentiate these phones from the rest is their interoperability with the entire crypto market in one platform.
Crypto phones will be true game changers as they will serve as a full service marketplace to crypto investors. For example, Finney will offer a digital bazaar where other coins and services will be available for access. And Finney’s software will automatically handle the crypto or fiat currency conversion and transactions. People will be able to buy products and services using their crypto currency of choice and then store the balance on a built-in wallet. HTC will also offer a block chain interaction point and cryptocurrency storage.
The development of a crypto phone represents a $157 million investment by Sirin Labs raised through an ICO. Even though not the entire amount will go directly into production of the phone, crypto dedicated phones require extra investment. HTC and Sirin Labs will have to account for extra security to safeguard information and money against hacking. The ability to purchase and store crypto will place a heavy burden on the phone’s security features. Cold storage will work by disconnecting the cryptocurrencies private keys from the phone’s system and the internet, and by adding extra security layers and separate servers. In addition, the phones offer biometric ID, and behavioral monitoring; this could be especially useful in identifying fraudulent trading.
The phones will cost short of a thousand dollars and are expected to start selling at the end of 2018. However, unlike regular smartphones, Finney will sell using Sirin Labs token (SRN). And it will only sell through new stores set to open worldwide. The phones will run on Android software to provide compatibility with existing systems and IOTA’s tangle is among the candidates to power the blockchain component. In addition, HTC’s phones will have a choice of skins and Google services.
The ability to own and carry a single platform that allows for all crypto-related functions (trade, store, transact, monitor) is a monumental step towards mainstream adoption. The simplicity of use of having crypto in our phones will bring Bitcoin to the masses and expand the market. Up to now the new phone’s capabilities are partitioned through separate vendors. Ethos for example is meant to deliver a universal wallet via an app. Exodus and Finney will offer a full ecosystem. Charlie Lee, the creator of Litecoin (LTC) will serve as an advisor for HTC as the phones will offer LTC support on their system.