HTC launched a new blockchain-powered smartphone, “EXODUS 1,” Tuesday morning. The phone is the first of its kind—but don’t expect to see it on shelves alongside other mobile devices.
The EXODUS 1 is wholly dedicated to blockchain encryption—all the way to how consumers initially order the device: The smartphone can only be purchased using Bitcoin or Ethereum. It will cost 0.15 Bitcoin or 4.78 Ethereum.
“It’s been both 10 years since the launch of the first Android phone by HTC and nearly 10 years since the launch of Bitcoin and the Genesis Block. EXODUS 1 is a foundational element of the crypto internet,” Phil Chen, Decentralized Chief Officer at HTC, said in a statement. “For digital assets and decentralized apps to reach their potential, we believe mobile will need to be the main point of distribution.”
In a bid for elevated smartphone security amid recent security breaches, Chen wants consumers to feel as if they truly own their data—browsing history, identity, assets, wallets, emails, and all—without the need for central authorities.
Chen’s brainchild, the EXODUS 1 is basically a digital vault and handheld hardware wallet disguised as any other shiny smartphone.
The HTC EXODUS 1 features a secure enclave, a locked area of the device completely protected from the Android OS. The secure enclave will hold crypto keys, whether that is currencies or non-fungible tokens.
The device will also offer an easy and secure way to recover keys lost in the hardware should you lose your phone or forget your key, ensuring each user maintains full custody at all times with no HTC interference.
As this is the early access version of the device, HTC hopes cryptographers and developers from all over the world will join in on the discussion to help improve the strength of the secure enclave.
To further develop and strengthen the technology, HTC will soon release APIs to allow third-party developers to use the EXODUS 1 specific hardware to protect keys and sign transactions.
EXODUS 1 can be purchased through the early access program website and will be available in 34 countries including the US, Taiwan, HK, Singapore, New Zealand, UK, Austria, Norway, and other European countries.