Mobile phone manufacturer HTC has been toying with blockchain for a while and now Phil Chen, HTC’s decentralized chief officer, addressed the Magical Crypto Conference in New York on Saturday and revealed that its smartphone users could tap into the bitcoin blockchain.
Phil Chen revealed a new low-cost version of its blockchain phone, the EXODUS 1s at the conference. He elaborated that the device will be capable of acting as a full node for the bitcoin network, i.e users will purportedly store the entire blockchain’s data on their respective devices.
A software development kit (SDK) will be available for its Zion Vault, HTC’s crypto wallet app, with an eventual plan to open-source the code behind its social key recovery mechanism. Chen told “https://www.coindesk.com/htc-says-its-next-smartphone-will-run-a-full-bitcoin-node” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow, noopener noreferrer”>CoinDesk that the company is targeting a release by the end of Q3, he added:
“[The 1s is] going to be a lot cheaper, it will be a lot more accessible.”
Though the specification hasn’t yet been released for the device, the retail price is touted to be between $250 and $300. The 1s will be based on the HTC EXODUS 1, that was announced at CoinDesk’s Consensus 2018 released later in the year. Initially, customers could only purchase the device with crypto, however, in February, HTC opened up fiat payment options.
A Promising Feature
One of the most striking features of the 1s will purportedly be its ability to run a full bitcoin node. Chen asserts that the company observed that this step as “a really important piece of the pie” for the bitcoin ecosystem. He stated:
“We think that’s foundational to the whole decentralized internet and just the whole fundamental premise. If you don’t own your keys, you don’t own your bitcoin, you don’t own your crypto.”
Designed to allow users to maintain their own private keys and as per Chen, the latest update forms the basis for this next move. From a technological standpoint, smartphones have grown physically capable of handling the effort, observing that computing chips and storage media are constantly becoming cheaper and more efficien. He added:
“We expect that phones will be powerful enough. The bitcoin blockchain is about 200 [gigabytes], and it’s growing about 60 gigs per year. And those numbers are reasonable to hold on a smartphone. Imagine the iPod with 256 gigs … of course the music fan wants to keep the whole music library but the crypto fan wants to keep the whole bitcoin blockchain.”
Chen noted that by letting users run full nodes, HTC is giving them the ability to verify data themselves, adding that:
“[You can] be a part of the bitcoin revolution by contributing to the security of the whole network.”
In saying so, the EXODUS 1s will also conduct normal smartphone operations as well, such as music, videos, pictures, apps, and dapps.
While HTC is currently supporting bitcoin blockchain, Chen did not shy out from support for other networks. He further explained that considerations are being made over how much memory and bandwidth other networks would require. He stated:
“I think running light nodes, like ethereum for example, is definitely doable, [but] it all depends on the spec.”
The company also plans to focus on public blockchains, which Chen believes are far easier to support than private networks. That said, HTC is not planning on adding support for any other networks explicitly at this time.
“I see bitcoin as one of the most important if not the most important blockchains. We definitely want to support that first and given what bitcoin stands for, open, neutral, censorship-resistance.”
Chen noted that bitcoin is “the most proven” network, and supporting it was at least a little symbolic as well. Once HTC launches the 1s, Chen expects the team to apply the experience from supporting a bitcoin node to other networks.