HTC to launch Exodus blockchain-enabled smartphone
HTC, the smartphone manufacturer, has announced plans for a blockchain-enabled handset called ‘Exodus’. The Android handset will contain a cryptocurrency wallet and each device is intended to act as a node for a native blockchain network.
The Exodus will support Bitcoin, Ethereum, Lightning Network and Dfinity at launch, but HTC says that support for other partnerships will follow.
The phone will also offer support for DApps – the ‘decentralised applications’ that can run on blockchain networks.
HTC’s Phil Chen told a blockchain conference in New York City: “We envision a phone where you hold your own keys, you own your own identity and data and your phone is the hub.”
Sirin Labs Finney
HTC is not the first company to announce a blockchain smartphone, though it is the first established manufacturer to do so. A Swiss company called Sirin Labs announced the ‘Finney blockchain smartphone’ earlier this year, funded by an ICO that raised $157.8m.
Sirin Labs later aims to launch a Finney PC that, like the smartphone, will have blockchain technology baked in. The company claims that this will offer greater security.
The Finney is named after the late Hal Finney, the computer scientist who received the first Bitcoin transaction from Satoshi Nakamoto, who created the cryptocurrency. It will not be Sirin Labs’ first venture into handsets. The company launched the Solarin smartphone in 2016, backed by $72m in venture capital, claiming that it was the most secure phone available.
However, the handset cost $14,000 and sold poorly, leading the company to lay-off staff and ‘pivot’ to this new business model.
HTC Exodus details are sparse
The ‘Finney smartphone’ is expected to carry a more reasonable price tag of under $1,000 and will be released later this year.
That might be vague, but it’s more than anyone knows about the HTC Exodus, which does not yet have a price or a release date.
A cynic might suggest that HTC’s Exodus announcement is an attempt to bolster its image and show that it is still on the cutting edge, at a time when business could be better. The Taiwanese company reported quarterly operating losses of $330m in March 2018.
Nevertheless, the Exodus and Finney both provide evidence that computer hardware will move as people’s needs move. If blockchain continues to grow, both in its range of uses and in the number of people using it, then it makes sense that the technology will begin to be ‘baked-in’ to the hardware. And, since the smartphone is the main computing device for a growing number of people, that means more manufacturers will offer blockchain smartphones to meet that demand.