Doping smart phones for a blockchain ‘high’

Imagine buying an average, run-of-the-mill smart phone from a local store, and discovering it carries a little bank inside. This won’t happen today, but maybe ten years down the line. The future is being paved with what are called blockchain phones. Recently, three companies, HTC, Samsung and Sirin Labs have launched their (rather pricey) blockchain phones.

Samsung’s Galaxy 10 earlier came with support for Ether and ERC20 tokens, and recently it has added BTC too. The phone features the Blockchain Keystore, where coins can be stored and transacted. The other blockchain phones are Exodus 1, and the ICO backed Finney by Sirin Labs. Finney is also the one that is more than just a hardware wallet, and offers better blockchain functions. Also of note is Electroneum (reportedly available for a cheap $80).

Both Samsung and HTC phones come with partnerships. Samsung is collaborating with beauty dapps like Cosmee or the game maker Enjin, while HTC has joined hand with Opera for the micropayments feature on websites. Samsung’s blockchain offering phone models include the Note 10 and S10 series.

The most publicized blockchain phone is the HTC Exodus One. This phone lets users store Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin and ERC20 tokens. The private keys remain on the phone. An extra security feature, in case the phone is lost, allows users to split the private key and keep them with trusted friends. However, this feature appears impractical and cumbersome, and not many are likely to part with their wallet keys.

The current price of blockchain phones makes them rather exclusive. As per reports, the Exodus One can’t be bought offline, and is priced at $699. The Galaxy S10 comes for $900,and Finney is the costliest at $999. The prices seem exorbitant, and it should be noted that the blockchain features too are offered in limited geographies. In any case, like with any other piece of tech, prices will come down in the future as cryptocurrencies go mainstream.

Finney has better blockchain features than the other two blockchain phones. The phone uses Android based Sirin OS, and offers a wallet for just Bitcoin, Ether and the Sirin Labs token. Users can access a dapp store, and carry out peer-to-peer data transfer.

So what makes blockchain phones better than using the normal ones and installing crypto wallets which are easily available? It’s mainly the promise that a blockchain phone will be “native” to the blockchain, well integrated, easy to use and always at hand — a gateway for the uninitiated to the portal of dapps, Web 3.0 and cryptocurrencies.

Blockchain phones will carry the promise of cryptocurrencies mainstream, into everyday lives of common people all over the world. Therein also lies a serious error — blockchain and cryptocurrencies are too complex and beyond the comprehension of many. The crypto transactions are also irreversible, making them risky in hands not adept to such technology.

There are also the dangers of financial loss when mobile phones happen to be a bank in the pocket, and the loss of privacy is blockchain public ledger are used to store any information. However, data security will take on a new life, as any lost data can be recovered from its copy on other nodes. Finally, hackers. They appear to be more attracted to the lure of bitcoin and ether.

All in all, there could be nothing better to popularize and take mainstream the dizzying world of cryptocurrencies than the most popular gadget of our times, the smart phone. The day the cheapest smartphone comes with the most sophisticated blockchain on it will be a truly historic moment.

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