If you are thinking about purchasing a new smartphone, then this news might be good news. HTC has released the Exodus 1, a blockchain and cryptocurrency focused smartphone. HTC’s Exodus 1 comes with a secluded area kept separate from the Android operating system it runs on to keep a customer’s cryptocurrency safe.

The Taiwanese phone-maker HTC has unveiled a blockchain-based smartphone which has been designed to store the owner’s cryptocurrencies securely. The blockchain-based phone is part of HTC’s shifting strategy regarding smartphones, which will prioritize software and intellectual property. With this, HTC hopes to regain some of the market shares that it has lost to Apple and Samsung over the last 5 years.

The Exodus 1 incorporates a hardware cryptocurrency wallet which is completely separated from the phone’s Android operating system. Therefore, the Exodus 1 can be seen as a smartphone, but also a cryptocurrency hardware wallet.

Phil Chen, HTC’s decentralized chief officer, explained to CNBC:

“Think of it as a micro OS that runs in parallel with Android. It basically is a wallet, but the wallet, what it does is hold your private keys. These private keys are meant to be kept confidential, and are needed whenever a user wants to access their Bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies” 

When asked about the separation from the Android software, Chen explained:

“Android is fundamentally insecure, so storing cryptocurrency within the Android environment would put the cryptocurrencies at high risk.”

According to Chen, the significance of integrating blockchain technology in the phone is that it bolsters the security and privacy of a user’s assets, and will in the future help with protecting a customer’s data and identity. Blockchain can be thought of as a tamper-proof digital ledger that records cryptocurrency transactions and other data across a distributed network with no central authority overseeing it.

Chen said:

“The dominant companies in our world today are Google and Facebook, and in China, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, because they basically own all our data. And the reason why you do a blockchain phone is … for everybody just to own their own keys. Everything starts there. When you start owning your own keys, then you can start owning your own digital identity, then you can start to own data.”

HTC’s new phone will run decentralized applications, digital programs that operate on the blockchain. It also comes with a “Social Key Recovery” function that lets a user regain access to their funds if they lose their private key via a select number of trusted contacts.

Other than its blockchain features, the Exodus 1 also includes:

  • A 16 megapixel dual main camera and an 8MP dual front camera with 4K video.
  • A six inch display with quad-HD+ resolution.
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor.
  • Six gigabytes of RAM and 128GB of storage.

Emphasizing its cryptocurrency credentials, the company has decided not to set a price for the smartphone in conventional currencies. Instead it will be available in December priced at 0.15 Bitcoins or 4.78 Ethereum Tokens, which is approximately $960 at today’s exchange rates.

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