Interest in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology has been skyrocketing lately. It got to the point that companies could boost their stock price simply by adding the word “blockchain” to their name. HTC is looking to cash in with its latest smartphone, the HTC Exodus. It’s the only smartphone from an established device maker with dedicated blockchain encryption. However, there are many unanswered questions about the Exodus, including when you can get one.
At its most basic level, a blockchain is merely a list of records secured with cryptography. Digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum use blockchains to keep track of transactions in a “proof of work” system. By distributing the master ledger across many systems, it becomes quick and easy to authenticate data in a blockchain.
So, how is this a blockchain phone? It will have a universal encrypted storage partition for keeping your blockchain-based data secure. This could be used for any blockchain technology, but in practice, it means cryptocurrencies — it’s a local wallet. Keeping your digital money on your phone means it’s much harder for someone to swipe it. It seems like every other day there’s another story of an online crypto exchange getting hacked and losing everyone’s money.
The phone will apparently also be able to operate as a node on the Bitcoin or Ethereum networks. That would be quite an undertaking, as a node needs to have the full blockchain available to begin the process of verifying transactions. HTC says it wants to double the number of nodes on these networks, which is actually not that many phones. There are only several thousand nodes on the Bitcoin network. HTC is also teasing so-called “Dapps.” These are supposed to be decentralized apps that rely on the phone’s blockchain storage.
This phone has a lot of buzzwords, but we don’t know what else it has. HTC has not provided any specs or even a render of the hardware. The crude rendering above is the best we’ve got. The phone itself will run Android, so it should work like a standard phone for the most part. However, HTC does not expect this to be a mainstream success; the Exodus project exists separately from HTC’s main smartphone business. The company plans to announce its next flagship phone in the coming weeks.
You can sign up to reserve an HTC Exodus on the official site, though there’s no launch date or even a price tag yet. HTC is considering accepting cryptocurrency for the phone when it launches. Really, it would be silly if it didn’t. You can’t simultaneously extol the virtues of the blockchain and refuse to accept it.
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