HTC blockchain phone to be sold only via cryptocurrency

In the wake of struggling sales and mass redundancies, HTC has launched the Exodus 1 in an attempt to remain relevant in the competitive smartphone market


HTC has unveiled its latest flagship product, a blockchain-focused smartphone, the Exodus 1, which can only be bought using cryptocurrency.

The Taiwanese technology company has also developed its own cryptocurrency wallet, Zion, to enable the new phone to function as a hardware cryptocurrency wallet, it has announced. It achieves this as it comes with a "secure enclave", an area on the Exodus 1's chip that is kept separate from the Android OS, which keeps cryptocurrency safe.

"Think of it as a micro OS that runs in parallel with Android," HTC decentralized chief officer Phil Chen told CNBC in a phone interview. "It basically is a wallet, but the wallet, what it does is hold your private keys."

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Having this area of the phone separate is due to HTC's decision that Google's OS is "fundamentally insecure with a centralized system" Chen further explained, and the separation adds a layer of security.

Despite the fact HTC boasted a stake of more than 10% of the smartphone market in 2011, rising competition from incumbents like Samsung and Huawei has led to reduced sales for the company and, according to The Register, today it occupies less than 1% of the market. As a result, in July this year it announced it had cut almost a quarter of its employees in an effort to become profitable.

The introduction of a blockchain-enabled phone shows the struggling company's attempts to remain relevant by employing the latest technology.

The Exodus 1 is available for pre-order at a price of 0.15 bitcoins of 4.78 ether tokens (around $960). 

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