The phone, named Exodus, will feature a universal wallet and a built-in secure hardware enclave to support cryptocurrencies and decentralized applications.
HTC has roped back the creator of its virtual reality headset Vive, Phil Chen, who will be responsible for all blockchain and cryptocurrency related initiatives of HTC including Exodus.
The company plans to create a native blockchain network with all exodus phones acting as nodes to facilitate cryptocurrency trading among the phone users.
“Through Exodus, we are excited to be supporting underlying protocols such as Bitcoin, Lightning Networks, Ethereum, Dfinity, and more,” Chen said on the integration of blockchain applications with the phone’s hardware. “We would like to support the entire blockchain ecosystem, and in the next few months we’ll be announcing many more exciting partnerships together.”
Here’s a glimpse of the product drawings for Exodus:
HTC is also considering accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment for the phone, although its price is still to be decided.
It is worth noting that HTC is not the first to think of a blockchain powered phone — Sirin Labs’ $1,000 blockchain smart phone, which was announced last September, is slated to be released in October this year.
However, it is yet to be seen what these phones can offer to improve the experience of cryptocurrency and DApp users over the regular smart phones.
Blockchain smart phones are touted to offer 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, without mining fees.
But, all of these features can be integrated into any average smart phone with the help of software alone, and trading Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will incur mining fees to transfer anyway – whether on regular phones or blockchain phones. Privacy-oriented web browsers and messaging apps can all be installed on any smartphone as well.
I suppose we have to wait for one of these blockchain phones to be available in the market to see if they make the experience of browsing through the decentralized web any better than the regular smart phones, but I am not particularly keen on them.