The fourth quarter of 2018 will see two new blockchain phones come on the market. While there are several blockchain phones already available, they have not been successful. Small market players introduced them, and the phones themselves offered rather weak, basic smartphone features. As such, they received very little uptake. Will the HTC Exodus and The Finney from Sirin Labs begin the public move towards blockchain phones? More to the point, is the public aware of, ready for or even interested in using blockchain phones?
How Does a Blockchain Phone Work?
Blockchain technology refers to the innately secure, decentralized transaction system that underlies cryptocurrency sales and security, privacy and logistics in many industries. Blockchain transactions are private yet a public ledger system records the transaction in a way that does not allow for tampering. How this pertains to phones is something of a mystery, except that each phone can function as a node within a given network, allowing the user a certain level of autonomy. This security based on blockchain technology will keep data, personal information and digital wallets far more secure than phones using a traditional network.
Additionally, blockchain phones operate as their own cryptocurrency exchange, allowing the user to enter into secure transactions and to purchase cryptocoins without going through a specific brokerage. Coins are then placed in “cold storage” within the phone instead of online or in the cloud, allowing for much better security (that is, if the user does not lose their phone).
Finally, such phones allow programmers to develop dApps, product and gaming platforms, such as CryptoKitties, based on cryptocurrency generation. They could be the next link in the Internet of Things affected by blockchain technology.
The Finney by Sirin Labs vs. HTC Exodus
The Finney is Sirin Labs’ second foray into blockchain phone technology. Its first venture, the Solarin, released two years ago, promised to be the world’s most secure phone for just $16,000. The phone was not truly secure and, unsurprisingly, did not sell very well.
The Finney, like its predecessor, is an Android-based phone running Sirin OS, but this time it costs just $1,000. $1,000 SRN, that is; Sirin Labs’ own cryptocurrency token. In fact, all purchases of apps and utilities via The Finney are based on SRN. It does not engage with Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin or other cryptocurrencies.
Unlike the Finney, the HTC Exodus functions in association with Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. Additionally, HTC has a long history as a successful phone manufacturer, which Sirin Labs does not.
Analysis of Blockchain Phones
As second-gen phones, the Exodus and The Finney still leave a lot to be desired. Future phones may take advantage of blockchain technology to bypass Session Border Controllers (SBC) in VOIP. This will allow the user to operate without having to go through a traditional cell phone carrier. Therefore, the user of the phone has a certain level of autonomy and can avoid plans, and potentially FCC charges and the like.
Blockchain phones likely will undergo plenty of revisions and tinkering before wide-scale adoption; however, the technology holds promise. Users are increasingly looking for more security and privacy, and blockchain phones could become a solution.