Ten years ago, consumer electronics manufacturer HTC made history when it released the HTC Dream, the first commercial device to utilize the Android operating system. A few months later, another monumental event took place, when Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto mined the BTC Genesis Block, birthing what Phil Chen — HTC’s “chief decentralized officer” — coined a “quiet revolution.”
Now, a decade later, HTC hopes to marry those two revolutions in the Exodus 1, the first “blockchain smartphone” produced by a mainstream electronics manufacturer. Chen unveiled more information about the much-anticipated device on Wednesday at Slush 2018 in Helsinki during a presentation that featured an appearance from Litecoin creator Charlie Lee.
Crypto Can Rescue Users from Digital ‘Feudal System’
Speaking at the event, Chen said that HTC believes in an “open internet,” and just as the Dream became the first commercial smartphone to feature an open-source operating system, the Exodus 1 will be an important first step to helping users reclaim their personal information and digital identities from the “tyranny” of technology.
“This whole movement has been hijacked,” Chen said, arguing that the world’s seven largest tech conglomerates had turned the digital world into a new “feudal system.”
“This thing that was open source became a railway to owning all of our digital identities, all of our digital personal data, and all of our digital assets.”
Chen said that, if made available to consumers through user-friendly devices, blockchain technology can change that by giving users control of their private keys.
HTC Exodus 1: First Look
Today’s HTC Exodus 1 demo comes less than a week after upstart smartphone manufacturer Sirin Labs — who says that it raised more than $157 million through an initial coin offering (ICO) — formally released the FINNEY, which it claims is the “world’s first blockchain smartphone.”
From a visual standpoint, the Exodus 1 is at first glance much sleeker than the FINNEY, though — unlike the Sirin Labs device — it does not appear to feature a true cold storage wallet. Instead, the Exodus 1 stores private keys in a secure enclave called Zion, which isolates them from the remainder of the operating system. While perhaps less secure than cold storage, it is a significant step up from the software wallets — whether custodial or non-custodial — where most mobile users currently store their cryptocurrency funds.
Both phones feature flagship specs, and — at least right now — both can be pre-ordered exclusively with cryptocurrency, with estimated ship dates by the end of the month. During his presentation, Chen formally announced that, in addition to bitcoin and ethereum, users can purchase the Exodus 1 with litecoin at a fixed rate of just under 20 LTC.
Images from Slush 2018/YouTube