Blockchain smartphone backed by Lionel Messi set for November launch

The Finney phone by Sirin Labs wants to put cryptocurrency in the pockets of the masses

Anthony Cuthbertson
Monday 29 October 2018 19:54 GMT
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The sliding design allows a second display to appear above the main screen of the Finney smartphone, allowing users to see cryptocurrency in a cold storage wallet
The sliding design allows a second display to appear above the main screen of the Finney smartphone, allowing users to see cryptocurrency in a cold storage wallet

Innovative phone maker Sirin Labs has announced the launch of what it is calling “the world’s first blockchain smartphone” – and it has the backing of arguably the world’s most famous footballer.

Barcelona star Lionel Messi will be involved in the launch of the Finney phone in his role as brand ambassador for the Israeli startup, having reportedly seen “the power” blockchain technology can bring to the smartphone space.

The Finney phone follows the $16,000 Solarin smartphone, which launched in 2016 and was geared towards high net-worth individuals who wanted “military grade security.” Named after cryptocurrency pioneer Hal Finney, Sirin Labs’ device will come with a far more modest price tag of $1,000 – roughly the equivalent of other high-end phones from Apple and Samsung.

“We’re blockchain enthusiasts,” Sirin Labs’ chief marketing officer Nimrod May told The Independent in July when the Finney phone was first announced.

“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.”

The phone comes with an inbuilt cryptocurrency wallet, which can be viewed on a hidden screen that slides out from behind the main display. The launch of the Finney phone will be taking place on Thursday, 29 November, in Barcelona.

The Finney smartphone is named after the cryptocurrency pioneer Hal Finney

Sirin Labs announced Lionel Messi as its brand ambassador last December, explaining in a subsequent blog post he is acting as more than just a celebrity endorser.

“A brand ambassador is someone who recognises the significance of a company and agrees to represent that company in a professional manner, educate others about it, and bring awareness to it,” the post stated.

Sirin Labs landed footballing superstar Lionel Messi as a partner in 2017

“This is the relationship we have with Leo Messi. After a significant amount of time discussing a wide range of issues, Messi saw the power, professionalism and future within Sirin Labs, and it was for these reasons he agreed to represent us to the masses.”

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Given the fact some celebrity backers of cryptocurrency-related products have resulted in scams, Sirin Labs was keen to stress that this is not the case with Messi.

“If you’ve followed Messi’s career at all, you’d know he doesn’t just put his name on anything to make a buck,” the post continued.

“As the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) in the most popular sport in the world, you can imagine the type of vetting process that he and his team have to ensure they’re not going to associate with something criminal, illicit, or anything that might tarnish his stellar brand.”

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