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HTC Exodus 1: Blockchain smartphone goes on sale and only people with cryptocurrency can buy it

The release comes nearly a decade after the launch of bitcoin

Anthony Cuthbertson
Tuesday 23 October 2018 11:13 BST
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The HTC Exodus can only be bought using cryptocurrency like bitcoin or ethereum
The HTC Exodus can only be bought using cryptocurrency like bitcoin or ethereum (HTC)

HTC has launched the Exodus 1 smartphone, which it is billing as the first ever phone dedicated to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.

The Taiwanese phone maker describes it as a "smartphone experience fit for a modern user and the new internet age," and in keeping with that the device is only available to buy using bitcoin or ethereum tokens.

"It's been both 10 years since the launch of the first Android phone by HTC and nearly 10 years since the launch of bitcoin and the genesis block," said Phil Chen, HTC's decentralised chief officer.

"Exodus 1 is a foundational element of the crypto internet. For digital assets and decentralised apps to reach their potential, we believe mobile will need to be the main point of distribution. We look forward to partnering with developers in the blockchain community to usher in this vision."

The smartphone will look and function much like any other high-end phone, with a 6-inch Quad HD display, a 16-megapixel rear camera and a powerful Snapdragon 845 processor.

The HTC Exodus is part of a new wave of smartphones incorporating blockchain technology into its device (HTC)

However, it will also include a "secure enclave" that is separate from the Android operating system, where cryptocurrency can be securely stored.

The Exodus 1 will also support decentralized, blockchain-supported apps that the firm hopes will help "reshape the internet."

The HTC Exodus will be the first major smartphone to embrace blockchain technology, which the Taiwanese firm hopes will 'reshape the internet' (HTC)

HTC may be the first of the major smartphone makers to integrate blockchain technology into its device, but it is not the only one.

Earlier this year, Israeli startup Sirin Labs announced the Finney phone – a $1,000 smartphone that its creators hope will simultaneously revolutionise smartphones and deliver cryptocurrency to the masses.

"We're blockchain enthusiasts," Nimrod May, Sirin Labs' chief marketing officer, told The Independent in July. "We want this phone to make all the benefits of blockchain technology available to as big an audience as possible, while making cryptocurrency accessible to the mainstream."

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Whether any of this new generation of phones catch on will depend on the success of the cryptocurrency space more broadly.

Development for both phones would have begun when the market was experiencing a seemingly unending surge, however 2018 has seen a steady decline that has left bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies trading at around a third of their peak value.

The future success of cryptocurrencies will equally depend on whether new technologies like the Finney phone and the Exodus 1 can establish a foothold in an already crowded smartphone market.

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