There’s no doubt about it: “Blockchain” is the biggest tech buzzword of today, the equivalent of “web 2.0” at its heyday a decade ago, and naturally, everyone wants in.
The latest company to join the blockchain party is HTC, who has announced the HTC Exodus, a smartphone that fully embraces blockchain technology.
Blockchain is a crucial technology that underlies Bitcoin. It’s a decentralized, cryptographically secured database that’s near-impossible to tamper with, which makes it great for securely storing financial transactions data. But after Ethereum expanded on Bitcoin’s original idea, letting anyone run fully fledged apps on the blockchain, we’ve seen everyone jump on the bandwagon, from photography companies to burger chains.
So is HTC just riding the hype without much substance? Not necessarily.
On a teaser website, HTC says the phone will be “dedicated to decentralized applications and security.” The company lists several ways in which the Exodus phone will do this: For example, it will support decentralized applications (Dapps) and it will have a hardware element that will connect to cryptocurrency wallets. Both of these are doable: There’s already a phone called Sikur that focuses on security and has a built-in cryptocurrency wallet, and Sirin labs has announced its cryptocurrency-oriented Finney phone in May.
HTC also claims that every Exodus phone will be a node — a vital part of Bitcoin and Ethereum’s architecture, which broadcasts messages across the network. “We want to double and triple the number of nodes of Ethereum and Bitcoin,” HTC’s site says. The idea is interesting, but running a node eats up processing power, storage and bandwidth. It’s already possible to run a Bitcoin or an Ethereum node on a smartphone, but optimizing this for the mass market is not trivial.
There’s no word on the phone’s specs, though things like camera performance would likely be secondary to the phone’s utility as a blockchain-friendly device.
For this project, HTC has assembled a team led by Phil Chen, who was one of the architects behind the Barnes & Noble Nook, as well as a long-time product manager at HTC.
There’s no word on the price, either, but you can already reserve the phone by giving up your email, here.