TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — On Monday (Oct. 21), HTC introduced its new blockchain phone Exodus 1s, which supports the use of cryptocurrencies.
The Exodus 1s is a smaller, low-priced version of HTC's built-in hardware wallet Exodus 1. The new smartphone has hit the market at a price of NT$5,990 (US$244), which is about a third of the cost of its predecessor. The Exodus 1 initially retailed at 0.15 bitcoins (NT$37,796), similar to the high-end iPhone or Samsung Galaxy, before being sold in dollars.
The new phone is targeted at people wishing to enter the world of encrypted virtual currencies and utilize blockchain technology but who might be hesitant about buying expensive flagships from the likes of Apple and Samsung. The Exodus 1s will be compatible with Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Binance Coin (BNB), and BitCash (BCH).
HTC claims the 1s will transfer financial services to individuals. “We are providing the tools for access to universal basic finance; the tools to have a metaphorical Swiss bank in your pocket,” said Phil Chen, chief decentralized officer at HTC, in a statement.
Owning bitcoin on smartphones allows users to access banking services and complete purchases on mobile devices. It facilitates the selling, sending, receiving, trading, lending, and borrowing of digital assets — even interest.
One standout feature of the new phone, HTC says, is the ability to run a “full bitcoin node.” Buyers would have to purchase a 400+ GB SD card that has the capacity to store the bitcoin blockchain — a digital ledger used to validate transactions — on the phone.
The smartphone's built-in hardware wallet helps users securely store cryptocurrencies. This means that users will be able to verify transactions to ensure the balance is owned by the spender.
The first wave of the Exodus 1s will be available in 27 countries across Europe as well as in Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. It will also be available in the U.S. and other markets in the future.
The launch is expected to help HTC increase sales and focus on fourth-quarter profits. The company's sales recovered in September, not only increasing by 73.7 percent but also seeing monthly revenue growth for the first time in two years. Looking ahead, HTC is optimistic that sales of the HTC Vive Cosmos and blockchain phones will add momentum to subsequent operations.
"Initially considered a gimmick by some, crypto technology is the next frontier of smartphone innovation,” Chen said. “For the smartphone category to grow again, we need more adoption of cryptophones,” he added.