What do you think of blockchain phones?


#1

HTC recently launched a blockchain phone [1].

What do you think of blockchain phones ?
Do you think the rate of adoption of blockchain phones increases in the near future ?

[1] - https://www.cnbc.com/2018/10/23/htc-launches-blockchain-phone-exodus-1-to-be-sold-in-cryptocurrency.html
https://www.htcexodus.com/us/


#2

It might help adoption in the sense that it might create some buzz, if a large phone manufacturer like HTC is developing hardware for blockchain use specifically.

However I’m not sure how helpful it will actually be to have an integrated hardware wallet in your phone, especially in the long run. The reason is because I believe we will have solutions that are more user friendly and safer than hardware wallets.

Here’s an example of a solutions using Shamir’s Secret Sharing


#3

I think that right now there is no meaningful use case. Sure, it protects data and privacy more than an Iphone or Android but it’s not a “10x” (to use Peter Thiel’s terminology) that will make me switch from my phone right now.

That being said, when decentralized applications become popular and people earn tokens for using the apps on their phones, a “blockchain phone” with a special wallet for holding onto tokens will be extremely useful.

TLDR; it’s too soon. They’re not useful yet. Keyword, yet.


#4

Wallets were created a few years after paper money was invented.

I think a stand-alone product that serves as a wallet for digital cash hasn’t been invented yet, but will be the primary way we’ll interact with digital cash in the future.

This product could take shape as a implant, a necklace or a something that a person would wear daily on their person.


#5

Agree and disagree. I think we’ll have a checking and savings account like wallets. The savings account wallet will be super high security and we rarely use. This is the “stand-alone product that serves as a wallet for digital cash hasn’t been invented yet” you mentioned. I think the checking account wallet will be integrated with our phone. I can’t see regular people carrying an entirely separate device to store tokens they earn from apps on their phone.


#6

The term “blockchain phone” is a marketing one. Reading from the article, what it really is, is a phone that has a secure Area to store your public and private keys in. This secure area is handled independently from the main Android OS because, according to them, its insecure. So essentially its not a blockchain phone, its just a simple phone with a secure Area. ARM (the architecture on most phones), provides TrustZone, a memory region where only trusted actors can read to and write from. This is what they are probably using for securing the private keys and public keys.

What could be interesting is Having the entire Operating System be blockchain aware. This would be a blockchain enabled phone. There are a lot of interesting projects going on in Blockchain OS space.

I am not sure if creating a new phone for blockchain would be the way to go. Just adding apps that are blockchain enabled would be enough. For example you can replace the browser in your phone with Brave. Brave asks your permission before showing you the ads. So imagine having an adblocker natively in the browser. The number of backend calls for the ads would be reduced. Now on your computer you can easily add a chrome plugin, an ad blocker, but it would be so nice to have that on the phone as well. This is what Brave provides.

Now imagine having an add blocking functionality on the OS level. You have a feature in your IOS or an android that turns off all ads in your phone. This is what a real blockchain enabled phone could essentially provide us with… and I see a lot of potential for it. But it is still a long way to go and the entire code of Android and linux has to be rewritten with blockchain constraints. Plus, the infrastructure for apps on android and ios is hard to beat.

cheers,


#7

I was irked that they aren’t a new thing. Samsung Knox is the same thing. A lot of friends use Knox to store their keys.

What priyatham said made me think about whether the future will really be about holding multiple tokens. Creating a mental model regarding acquiring, utilizing and holding tokens for the apps one uses seems like an accessibility nightmare. Crypto would remain to be an enthusiast-driven space like Linux. Ideally, interaction with tokens need to be abstracted away in the UX.


#8

I think the HTC Exodus 1 is not exactly a full fledged blockchain phone as the features listed for the phone are currently available in iphone, Google & Samsung phones. Like the secure enclave is nothing but an implementation of TEE ( Trusted Execution Environment ) But if HTC is able to get enough DApps run in there phone by exposing their API’s that will be a good thing other than the secure cryptowallet and social key recovery features already announced. Currently it is a foundational blockchain phone for crypto enthusiasts & traders may be. The other one which can be a major disruptive blockchain phone is the XPhone from PundiX. This basically uses the blockchain network itself for calls & texts and does not require a carrier. I am not sure if blockchain technology is mature enough for such a massive disruption!