In its push for mainstream adoption, HTC has started offering its blockchain phone for real-life money and partnered with the Opera web browser — but is it enough to conquer the market?
HTC, a Taiwanese consumer electronics maker, has taken an important step in promoting the mass adoption of its blockchain-based smartphone, Exodus 1.
This week, during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the company announced that the Exodus 1 can now be bought with fiat, as opposed to just cryptocurrency. HTC has also partnered with Opera to make Exodus wallet compatible with its popular web browser.
We are thrilled to announce the partnership between @Opera and the #EXODUS1 . Together we are enabling a secure and user friendly ecosystem for the #blockchain community. #BUIDL #HODL #HTCEXODUS #ZIONVault pic.twitter.com/cqUcAkozHZ
— HTC EXODUS (@htcexodus) February 26, 2019
Blockchain Phone For Fiat
The Exodus project is part of HTC’s ambition to build a new smartphone for the new decentralized internet, commonly called Web 3.0. The company aims to respond to consumers’ drive for privacy, security, and the better protection of sensitive data — and it believes that blockchain is the best solution.
One of the Exodus phone’s main features is an in-built cold-storage ‘enclave.’ It is separate from the processor and Android OS and, thus, can be used to store a user’s private keys offline.
A pre-order campaign for Exodus 1 was launched last October while the product became available in December. Previously, it could be bought with Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) only. However, from March, it will be available for purchase with US dollars and other fiat currencies. The device costs $699, or the equivalent, in other local non-crypto currency. Also, HTC will accept payment in Litecoin (LTC) and Binance Coin (BNB).
HTC is currently in dire straits, so it hopes to benefit from its product gaining more popularity.
Add Opera To Your Exodus
Additionally, HTC and Opera announced Exodus integration with the Opera web browser.
This move aims to enable users of Zion, an HTC-developed built-in wallet, to shop online and conduct micro-payments on various websites using Opera as a default browser.
Importantly, this will allow people to transfer small sums of money without extra commissions and transactions fees.
We are happy to announce that Opera becomes the main browser on the @htcexodus 1 phone! Now you can enjoy the first #web3 ready browser with a built-in #crypto wallet on the first #web3 mobile device. #Operacrypto #cryptoforall #htcexodus #blockchain pic.twitter.com/8Zi3gyPLp9
— Opera (@opera) February 26, 2019
For now, Exodus only supports Ethereum-based services and payments. However, HTC plans to add support for Bitcoin (BTC) and Litecoin (LTC). ‘The first Web 3.0 browser on the first Web 3.0 mobile device’, as Opera calls it, should provide for a secure and user-friendly ecosystem. It might also promote the movement for a decentralized Internet in which people can control their own money and private data.
To enhance its usability, Exodus now has access to about 20 new decentralized apps (dApps). Before, one of its major blockchain-based (and somewhat dubious) advantages was a feature enabling users to trade and store CryptoKitties.
Is It Worth It?
Many raise doubts about the viability of these efforts for a company whose phone sales and revenues have been declining recently. They are not sure it makes sense to bank on a rather specific device targeting a limited audience — especially amid the current bear market.
HTC hopes to ship as many as one million Exodus units by the end of 2019. In 2017, the company’s total smartphones sales plummeted to just 0.98 million.
Experts also claim that, even with its advanced security measures, Exodus is not safe enough for storing large amounts of coins or tokens. Hardware wallet solutions still lead the way. Meanwhile, it’s too expensive to buy it as a regular smartphone.
Finally, Exodus will face cut-throat competition. Just recently, Samsung — a giant on the world’s market of cell phones — announced that its Galaxy S10 series, the flagship lineup for 2019, will come with a built-in crucial private storage solution for a number of blockchain-based assets.
Blockchain startups are also working on similar crypto-centric phones. For instance, Sirin Labs is selling its Finney with a built-in cold storage crypto wallet. While S10 and Finney cost more than the Exodus, there are low-end models as well. Electroneum offers its M1 smartphone for only $80 — clearly targeting people in developing regions.
With this in mind, it is hard to claim that Exodus 1 is unique enough to become the world’s best blockchain smartphone.
Do you believe Exodus smartphones will be selling like hot cakes? Would you like to buy a blockchain phone? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter.