Blockchain Built－in Smartphone
The advent of blockchain has received an exceptional amount of attention in the various field in the global society. The blockchain technology has started taking root in the variety of field including finance, politics and cars. Furthermore, it is just about innovate Telecommunications industry.
For the last 10 years, smartphone ownership has become more common and it is widespread regardless of the age. With the technology innovation, the performance and the convenience of smartphone has evolved in a very short time, however, recently the release of “blockchain smartphone” is becoming the topical subject in the media.
First Blockchain Smartphones Appear
HTC, Taiwan based phone-maker, has announced that they have commenced to accept pre-orders of smartphone that can be bought only with cryptocurrency (BTC, ETH or LTC), called Exodus 1 on October 23. The handset will retail for 0.15 BTC or 4.78 ETH, which is equivalent to approximately US$960(approx. ¥110,000).
“Blockchain smartphone” may be not familiar word for everyone. According to HTC, Exodus 1 features decentralized application specifically security, and blockchain encryption is applied, which resulted its name. Moreover, this smartphone itself acts as blockchain node.
“For digital assets and decentralized apps to reach their potential, we believe mobile will need to be the main point of distribution.” Phil Chen, HTC’s ‘decentralized chief officer said.
Chen said that built into the Exodus 1 is a cryptocurrency wallet which serves as a hardware virtual currency wallet in the processor called Secure Enclave. The wallet runs separate from the Android operating system, to safeguard digital coins. While the existing applications are fundamentally vulnerable with a centralized system, exposing users’ funds to theft by attackers, Exodus 1 provides secure enclave of the device to store cryptocurrency. He underlines this point.
Chen added that blockchain smartphone is necessary for users so that they can hold their private keys and, in the future, managing their own digital identity and own data will be possible, then they can achieve true ownership of their identity and data.
Backup Function When You Lose Device
HTC’s new phone features a Social Key Recovery function that helps users “regain access to their funds if they lose their private key via a select number of trusted contacts such as their family members and friends”.
Exodus1 runs DApps and contains an additional locked area on the device that is protected from the Android OS which was lacking in the past. Moreover, Exodus 1 comes with numerous features found on regular flagship smartphones such as dual rear cameras and a six-inch Quad HD+ display.
Exodus1 will be available in 34 countries including Hong Kong, Singapore, the United States, the United Kingdom and other European countries. However, HTC is not planning to sell the phone in China that has taken a strict approach to bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. First shipments are expected in December.
More Companies Entering Blockchain Smartphone Market
HTC is not the only company to try and offer a blockchain built-in smartphone.
Switzerland-based start-up Sirin Labs has launched its blockchain smartphone FINNEY which employs a multi layered cyber security suite and built-in cold storage wallet with a price tag of $999.
Embedded Offline Wallet
FINNEY contains an offline wallet which physically separate from the main hardware. On the software side, it runs a ‘fork’ of Android” called Sirin OS that is the operating system (OS) powering FINNEY.
The phone also features AI-driven, cyber-threat detection, and it enables the direct exchange of selected cryptocurrencies (Ethereum, Bitcoin and Sirin Labs Token). By having a Token conversion service, users will be able to exchange the selected cryptocurrencies automatically. As a result of this, the users can eliminate the process of accessing an exchange.
The Finney single device can be used for all process of cryptocurrency transaction
At this stage, the cryptocurrency market is a still niche market since it accounts for only 1% of world economy. However, by one device enable providing an offline wallet, a Token Conversion Service and crypto exchange apps, it is expected that the cryptocurrency market will be widely accepted.
Pundi X phone － works without a traditional carrier
Indonesia-based startup Pundi X unveiled its blockchain-powered handset called Xphone which runs on Dapps on October 2018. Unlike HTC and Sirin Labs’ devices, Xphone can operate on its own blockchain-based transmission protocol, independently of mobile carriers. Instead of a phone number, a private key and an address allocated to a device (node) are identified. The Function X ecosystem supports Xphone and the all data transmission and process are recorded in this blockchain. The Function X and Xphone will be officially released in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019.
The Future Prospects of Blockchain Smartphone
With the development of blockchain smartphone, now the significant enhancement of security is expected. However, we are still in the early stage of blockchain smartphone, so achieving the balance between the convenience and security will be the major challenge.
If the benefits of blockchain smartphone became obvious after a series of verification is carried out, it would widely spread in the cryptocurrency market and the blockchain ecosystem would grow. This could lead to prevailing the ownership of digital assets in general public. If this is realized, millions of existing smartphone users could shift to blockchain smartphone. Thus, there is a great interest in the future development of blockchain smartphone.