HTC Launches Blockchain-Powered Smartphone

HTC has launched the early access period for its first blockchain phone, the Exodus 1. This version of the device can be obtained at using either Bitcoin or Ethereum currencies, in an industry-first crypto-only payment acceptance, and is expected to ship in December.

The Exodus 1 is powered by a Snapdragon 845 chipset and features a 6″ QHD+ display with an 18:9 aspect ratio, 128GB of internal storage and 6GB RAM. It also features a dual-lens 16+12MP primary camera and an 8MP internal camera, both capable of shooting video in 2160p60, HTC said.

The handset contains a secure enclave — a locked area on the device that holds the keys to the user’s crypto, be it currencies, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) or, in the very near future, all their digital data. The company has developed a unique Social Key Recovery mechanism in case the phone is lost or stolen or a user forgets their keys.

HTC maintains that it does not hold keys in a central location at any point, explaining, “HTC allows you to pick a few trustworthy contacts and each one of those must download a key management app. Your seed then gets split using a secret sharing algorithm and is sent to the trusted contacts. Should the need arise, you can successfully regain access to your funds.” The company is also inviting cryptographers and developers from all over the world to join the Exodus community and help improve the strength of the secure enclave.

In a further step to strengthen the technology, HTC will soon release APIs that will allow third-party developers to use the Exodus 1 hardware to protect keys and sign transactions. It will release the Zion key management API and wallet SDK to partners, with a view to expanding the blockchain ecosystem and promoting security.

Exodus 1 can be obtained via the early access programme, priced at 0.15 Bitcoin or 4.78 Ethereum (currently around $960). It will be available in 34 countries including the US, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, the UK, Austria, Norway and other European countries.