HTC Exodus: Is cryptocurrency and blockchain technology the future of smartphones or just a marketing stunt?

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

Smartphone innovation may have stuttered to a halt in recent years, but HTC has a plan to reinvent the ubiquitous device while also reshaping the entire internet while it’s at it.

The Taiwanese firm revealed its vision for the future of smartphones at the Consensus 2018 cryptocurrency conference in New York, explaining how it will utilise blockchain technology to support cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum.

“Our vision is to expand the blockchain ecosystem by creating the world’s first phone dedicated to decentralized applications and security,” HTC states on a website dedicated to the new device.

“With the release of the HTC Exodus we can now make this a reality… we believe we can help reshape the internet.”

The phone will feature a native cryptocurrency wallet that would allow users to make and accept cryptocurrency payments to other devices, while each device would also act as a node to allow cryptocurrency trading among users. The HTC Exodus would also support decentralized apps through the phone's hardware, which it claims would be more secure than standard apps.

It is not the first time the concept of a blockchain smartphone has been introduced, with a blockchain-powered phone and PC unveiled by Sirin Labs last year. The $999 Finney smartphone was unveiled on Wednesday, 11 July, and will also feature a cryptocurrency wallet.

No images of the Exodus smartphone have been released beyond a blueprint of its components, nor was the price or release date announced.

While the concept of a decentralized device may sound appealing, software applications already exist that allow much of the functionality that the Exodus boasts.

While the device was largely welcomed on social media by those within the cryptocurrency space, some suggested HTC was the latest firm to use the term ‘blockchain’ as a marketing tool.

Development of the Exodus is being led by Phil Chen, who previously worked on HTC’s Vive virtual reality headset.

“I want to see a world where the end consumers can truly own their data without the need for central authorities,” Mr Chen said at Consensus 2018.

“There is a lot of work ahead of us, but I believe the mobile hardware layer can contribute significantly to our new decentralized world.”