Unveiling the device Saturday at the Lightning Conference in Berlin, the company claimed the new product is the first smartphone to be able to run a full bitcoin node, allowing it to propagate transactions and blocks anywhere.

Taiwanese electronics manufacturer HTC has launched its latest blockchain phone, the Exodus 1s, which enables users to support the bitcoin network.

“Full nodes are the most important ingredient in the resilience of the Bitcoin network and we have lowered the barrier to entry for any person to run a node”, Phil Chen, chief decentralized officer at HTC, said in a statement.

The new smartphone comes to the market at a price of €219 ($244), which is about a third of the cost of its predecessor, the Exodus 1. HTC will sell the new version at the Berlin conference using the Lightening payment network.

The device allows users to install a 400+GB SD card to expand its memory, allowing it to cope with the increasing data capacity required to store the full bitcoin ledger. The current size of the full ledger is closing on 250 GB, according to Blockchain.

The company recommended users to connect to WiFi and plug into a power source while running the full node, though it can also be used on the go.

The smartphone also has a built-in hardware wallet to help users securely store cryptocurrencies. By default it comes with 4 GB of RAM and 63 GB of storage, and runs on Android Oreo 8.1

“We are providing the tools for access to universal basic finance; the tools to have a metaphorical Swiss bank in your pocket”, Chen said.

The smartphone will be available in 27 countries across Europe and the Middle East, including Germany, Greece, Saudi Arabia and UAE. It is currently not planned for sale in the U.S.

HTC’s device is joining a nascent but increasingly busy field of blockchain-dedicated smartphones. Blockchain startup Sirin Labs recently teamed up with electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn to launch the blockchain mobile phone Finney, while Samsung launched its Galaxy S10 in the spring. Others such as LG are rumored to be moving into the blockchain space with upcoming devices.
Outside of buying and selling cryptos, smartphone markers are increasingly eyeing blockchain technologies as as a way to reassure users concerned about the security of their private information.

“We really care about this portable identity and users owning their identity and data, and we believe that the phone is the best place to do that”, Chen said.

HTC’s Blockchain Phone Now Supports Bitcoin Cash

Native support for bitcoin cash is coming to HTC’s blockchain phone.

Today, HTC announced its partnership with Bitcoin.com to add bitcoin cash support for its Exodus 1 blockchain phone. The new function will come with Bitcoin.com’s preinstalled wallet and be rolled into the Exodus 1 software update. Bitcoin.com will also sell the Exodus 1 and all future versions.

In a statement, HTC’s chief decentralization officer Phil Chen called the update a natural next step for the phone. “The Zion Vault is happy to support BCH natively in hardware so security goes hand-in-hand in the BCH blockchain as an alternative to dominant payment rails and platforms”, he said.

With the partnership, Zion Vault, the phone’s key management software can now secure BCH transfers by signing off on transactions.

Prior to last February, HTC only accepted major cryptocurrencies bitcoin and ethereum. As of now, the phone is priced at $699.

First announced at Consenses 2018, HTC has regularly updated the Exodus 1 with new blockchain features. An update in May allowed users to directly swap cryptocurrencies within the Zion Vault wallet.

Exodus 1 may soon be replaced by HTC’s second-generation blockchain phone: the newer, cheaper Exodus 1s. Chen has previously told CoinDesk that the $200-$300 phone would ship in the third quarter.

HTC, Alibaba Join $3M Investment in Blockchain Property Rights Startup

Taiwanese blockchain digital property rights startup Bitmark has secured $3 million in a funding round led by Taiwan’s electronics giant HTC.

Specializing in securing digital property rights through blockchain technology, Bitmark will use the investment to expand its sales and marketing efforts, according to a press release published on Sept. 3.

Other investors include Alibaba, DCG and WI Harper

The recent series A funding round was also participated by existing and new investors including Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, venture capital firm WI Harper and crypto-focused investor Digital Currency Group, the press release notes.

Phil Chen, Decentralized Chief Officer at HTC, stated that HTC’s investments in blockchain are foundational to their strategy of putting power back in the hands of global end-users. He said in the press release:

“Bitmark’s system for digital property rights greatly expands the promise of blockchain technology by assigning unique ownership for digital assets of all types. It’s an important step in growing the blockchain ecosystem and we look forward to their growth and success.”

Bitmark has seen strong success with partners like KKBOX, Asia’s largest music network, by providing its Bitmark Property System to record rights to digitally streaming music. Other global players such as the University of California, Berkeley, tech firm H2 and pharma giant Pfizer are also on the list of Bitmark’s partners, the press release notes.

Meanwhile, HTC is known for its Bitcoin-friendly smartphone, the Exodus 1S, announced in May 2019. Expected to be released at the end of the Q3 2019, the smartphone is claimed to be the first smartphone to support full node capability. Subsequently after the announcement, HTC rolled out in-wallet crypto trading for users of its Exodus 1 smartphone in mid-May.

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