Seemingly out of the blue, HTC just announced a blockchain-powered Android smartphone, which makes it the latest company to hop onto the blockchain bandwagon. HTC is calling the device "Exodus" and equipping it with a universal wallet and hardware support for cryptocurrencies and decentralized apps.
Exodus will support bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dfinity, but HTC says more network partnerships are due soon. The company wants its new phone to serve as nodes for a native blockchain network that facilitates inter-user trading.
Reports say HTC will let users buy Exodus using cryptocurrency, but the phone's price has yet to be determined.
"We envision a phone where you hold your own keys, you own your own identity and data, and your phone is the hub," HTC Vive founder Phil Chen said during a blockchain conference in New York on May 15.
"We would like to support the entire blockchain ecosystem, and in the next few months we'll be announcing many more exciting partnerships together," Chen said, as The Next Web reports.
It's worth noting that this isn't the first blockchain-powered smartphone — Sirin Labs has a $1,000 blockchain phone announced last September and due to come out this October. HTC could match the price of Sirin Labs's device or go lower. More than anything, it will be interesting to see what these phones can offer to improve the experience of using cryptocurrency and decentralized apps over regular phones.
Blockchain phones are touted to have better security and user experience by integrating cold wallet storage right into the phone and enabling direct trading of the native cryptocurrency with peers on the phone's network sans mining fees. However, all these are possible on a smartphone via specialized software, and trading cryptocurrencies will ultimately cost the user mining fees for transfers anyway.
Why Is HTC Doing This?
An increasing number of companies are launching their own blockchain initiatives. These include established names trying to dip their toes into the blockchain game, companies trying to experiment with something new or, as The Verge notes, those that are trying to rescue their failing business. HTC had to let go of many of its U.S. staff this year, so it's easy to imagine it belongs in that last category of blockchain experimentation.
Would you buy a blockchain phone, or is a regular Android phone already sufficient enough for your cryptocurrency and decentralized apps needs? As always, if you have anything to share, feel free to sound them off in the comments section below!