Exodus Archives -
After weeks of delays and hundreds of frustrated customer messages in its Telegram channel, HTC finally shipped its “blockchain phone” on Jan. 14. The HTC Exodus 1 promises an array of features for cryptocurrency users, but the manufacturer couldn’t keep its promise to ship the devices in December. With the phones finally rolled out, news.Bitcoin.com unboxed one of the semi-transparent devices and put it through its paces.
The Exodus 1 Is a Big Phone With Grand Aspirations
There’s no mistaking the Exodus 1 when it slips out of its protective wrapping and into the palm of your hand. Even if you’ve hands like baseball mitts, you’ll struggle to operate this phone with one paw. Thankfully it’s got a feature called Edge Sense 2 which enables one-handed convenience by shrinking the visible screen when you double tap on the side of the phone. At 157 x 74 x 9.7 mm, 188 grams, and $ 750, the Android O-powered Exodus 1 is a phone that’s as hard on the pocket as it is on the wallet. For that $ 750, however (or rather its BTC, LTC, or ETH equivalent), you’re getting a whole lot of smartphone.
While this review will focus on the cryptocurrency elements of the phone, we’ll start with the basics. Given that you’ll be using the Exodus 1 as a smartphone a lot more than you’ll be using it to send or receive crypto, it’s imperative that you can abide what it has to offer when compared to flagship Android phones such as the Goggle Pixel 3 ($ 799) or the Samsung Galaxy S9 ($ 720). The Exodus 1’s features include:
- 6.0” Quad HD+ display with 18:9 aspect ratio
- 3500mAh battery
- 12MP + 16MP main camera with high quality zoom
- 8MP+8MP dual front camera with natural bokeh
- 4k/60fps 3D audio recording quality
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor
- 6GB – DDR4x RAM
- 128GB storage
The Exodus 1 has twice as much internal storage as the Galaxy S9, the same processor, and same resolution cameras. The Exodus 1’s battery is the same size as the larger S9+ and has the same 6GB of RAM, while both phones are of similar dimensions. Samsung’s S9 and S9+ are both 1.2mm slimmer than the HTC however. The Google Pixel 3 only has 4GB of RAM, a smaller battery and the same processor as the Exodus 1. The Pixel 3 does have some things in its favor though: its main camera, while lower resolution, is arguably better than the Exodus 1’s, it’s slimmer, at just 7.9mm, it has an eSIM, which some users may prefer, and runs a newer version of Android.
With the Exodus 1, you’re getting a phone that can match Samsung and Google’s leading models pound for pound in most areas. Aside from being a little bulkier, there’s not much between the handsets performance-wise. The question, then, is whether the HTC’s exclusive feature – a built-in cryptocurrency hardware wallet, with the key stored in a secure enclave – justifies choosing the Exodus 1.
Take a Trip to Zion
Zion is the name of the wallet app that comes pre-loaded on the Exodus 1 and, while limited in functionality, it works just fine. It is beyond the scope of this reviewer to determine whether the “secure enclave,” separated from the rest of the phone’s operations, makes Zion more secure than the average crypto wallet app. “Theoretically” is the likeliest answer, though that’s probably a matter for the Wallet Fail team to resolve. The Zion wallet supports BTC, LTC, ETH, some ERC721 tokens, and ERC20s such as BAT, the latter the native token of the Brave browser, which also comes installed.
Sending and receiving cryptocurrencies is easy, and the UX is reasonable. The collectibles section of the wallet is less scintillating though; import a Cryptokittie and all you’ll get is a small thumbnail of the cat, with no ability to view it full-screen or read its “cattributes.” It’s all very meh. From a privacy perspective, the Zion wallet isn’t great either. There’s no ability to create new addresses, for instance, so you’re stuck with the same three wallets for BTC, LTC, and ETH unless you chose to create an entirely new 12-word seed and install a fresh wallet.
The social recovery option, enabling you to select trusted friends to help restore the wallet in the event of phone loss, is a welcome touch. While this presents an additional attack vector, it’s a trade-off cryptocurrency users may be willing to make in return for having access to crypto on the go. There are clear drawbacks to owning a blockchain phone of course. The very fact that you have one suggests you have crypto stored on it, which instantly makes you a target. If you’re lazy and have enabled fingerprint access to your wallet, a physical attacker or law enforcement could gain entry without too much trouble.
A Solid Phone That’s Likely to Get Better
iPhone owners are unlikely to swoon over the Exodus 1, but if you’re an Android user who’s due an upgrade, the mere act of switching to a new handset running a current OS and that’s fully equipped with the latest spec makes the Exodus 1 a pleasure to use. Features such as squeeze force, which will open the camera or shrink the screen when you grip or tap the side of the phone, are very nifty. Edge Sense will also ensure the phone doesn’t time out when held in your hand, and the rear fingerprint sensor is responsive and well positioned.
The biggest drawback to the Exodus 1 – the lackluster cryptocurrency wallet – could and likely will be improved through software updates. Even if advanced features were to be added, and the number of supported cryptocurrencies was to increase, however, you’re unlikely to hold much funds in the Zion wallet. Secure enclave or otherwise, it’s debatable whether the Exodus 1’s wallet is any more robust than the leading crypto wallet apps it’s competing against.
While a little industrial in places, the Exodus 1 is a significantly slicker device than Sirin Labs’ “Finney” blockchain phone and can stake a claim for being the leading smartphone in what is still a very small vertical. Whatever the fate of the Exodus 1, it’s likely this won’t be the last time we see a hardware manufacturer targeting the crypto crowd. In fact, with Samsung’s trademark filings suggesting it’s thinking of following suit, blockchain phones could soon go from being niche to the norm.
What are your thoughts on the Exodus 1 phone? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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The post Review: HTC’s Exodus 1 Is an Impressive Phone With a Basic Crypto Wallet appeared first on Bitcoin News.
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The Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) has released a set of guidelines intended to bolster the availability of financial services to cryptocurrency companies. They are in response to the stubbornness of many banks to provide financial services to crypto-related businesses.
Swiss Bankers Association Publishes Guidelines Intended to Stem Crypto Exodus
The Swiss Bankers Association has published guidelines aimed at financial institutions who are willing to partner to cryptocurrency and DLT businesses.
The guidelines are a response to growing concerns that an unwillingness on the part of many banks to provide financial services to cryptocurrency companies may drive an exodus of crypto start-ups from Switzerland.
Adrian Schatzmann, strategic adviser of the SBA, stated: “We believe that with these guidelines, we’ll be able to establish a basis for discussion between banks and innovative startups, making the dialogue simpler and facilitating the opening of accounts.”
Guidelines Recommend Different Procedures for Crypto Companies Conducting ICOs
The guidelines outline a number of operational recommendations for banks partnering with cryptocurrency firms.
The SBA makes specific recommendations for firms that are conducting initial coin offerings (ICOs), also suggesting separate know-your-customer and anti-money laundering (AML) procedures for firms that raise funds through ICOs in the form fiat currencies and ICOs generating funds in the form of cryptocurrencies.
“This provides more clarity not only to banks, but also to startups,” Oliver Bussmann, head of the Crypto Valley Association said.
Swiss Banks Restrict Services to Crypto Companies Amid ICO AML concerns
The guidelines have been issued in response to increased trepidation among Swiss financial institutions with regard to partnering with crypto firms, with Reuters citing sources as asserting that “banks are worried because some of the companies that carried out ICOs did not do AML checks on their contributors, meaning the banks themselves could fall foul of AML rules.”
With Mr. Bussmann estimating that 530 crypto and DLT companies have established operations in Zurich and Zug, it is imperative for the survival of the local industry that firms are able to access basic financial services.
Deputy chief executive officer of the SBA, August Benz, indicated that while the initial discussion between the SBA and local financial institutions has been positive thus far, it will take time to assess the impact of the new guidelines.
Do you think that the Switzerland will can retain its position as a leading crypto hub despite trepidation on the part of local banks in partnering with virtual currency firms? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Swissbanking.org
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Charlie Lee, the creator of Litecoin (LTC), has been announced as an adviser to the development of HTC’s “Exodus” blockchain phone following Mr. Lee’s recent tweet that stated he had met with the HTC team and that the Exodus phone will natively support LTC.
Charlie Lee Announces that HTC’s Blockchain Phone Will Support LTC
On the 30th of July, Litecoin’s creator, Charlie Lee, took to Twitter to announce that HTC’s upcoming blockchain phone, Exodus, will feature native support for LTC. First announced in May, HTC claims that the Exodus will be “the world’s first native blockchain phone dedicated to decentralized applications and security.”
Mr. Lee posted: “Met the HTC Exodus team last week and was really excited to hear the phone will support LTC and Lightning Network on Litecoin natively! I will be an advisor as I see having a secure crypto phone that makes LN simple is needed for mass adoption.”
The official Twitter account of the HTC Exodus confirmed Mr. Lee’s claims, replying to the Tweet with “One small step for @SatoshiLite. One giant leap for blockchain. Team @HTCExodus, @philchen913 @htc are honored to have Charlie Lee to join as our advisor.”
HTC Bullish on Blockchain and Crypto
Earlier this month, HTC indicated that the Exodus would be made available during Q3 of 2018. Phil Chen, the chief crypto officer at HTC, claimed that the company has already received “tens of thousands” of reservations globally.
Mr. Chen also shared his optimism regarding the outlook for the virtual currency and distributed ledger technology industries, stating: “Every 10 years, we see shifts [in technology],” he said. “We think that crypto and blockchain will be the next shift.”
“At some point, we’ll do our own utility token,” Mr. Chen added.
Distributed Ledger Technology Expected to Reshape Telecommunications Industry
At the start of the month, a report published by Research and Markets claimed that distributed ledger technology will add nearly $ 1 billion to the global telecommunications industry within the next five years.
HTC is not the only company preparing to launch a blockchain phone in coming months, with Sirin Labs’ “Finney” expected to arrive in November. The Swiss firm raised $ 157.8 through an initial coin offering (ICO) – at the time comprising the fourth largest to ever take place.
The third largest handset maker in the world, Huawei Technologies, has also expressed interest in entering the blockchain phone industry – with reports from March indicating that the company was in discussions with Sirin regarding the licensing of the company’s SIRIN OS operating system.
Do you think that so-called blockchain phones will have a significant impact on the telecommunications industry? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock
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The post HTC ‘Exodus’ Blockchain Phone To Support LTC, Lee to Advise Project appeared first on Bitcoin News.
With HTC entering the race, a second cryptocurrency supporting smartphone created by a major electronics manufacturer is now on its way to the market. Could this be the start of a trend by all device makers to embed features such as hardware wallets into phones to help increase sales among more tech savvy consumers?
Exodus From Fiat to Crypto
Taiwanese consumer electronics manufacturer High Tech Computer Corporation or HTC (TWSE: 2498), will release its own cryptocurrency-focused smartphone. The company has announced it is developing a “blockchain-powered” device that will be based on Google’s Android operating system which will be named Exodus.
The phone is expected to contain a universal wallet and a “built-in secure hardware enclave” supporting cryptocurrencies and dapps (decentralized applications). HTC reportedly also wants to create its own network with each phone serving as a node to facilitate trading within it. Finally, the company is examining the possibility of selling the device for cryptocurrency as well. “Through Exodus, we are excited to be supporting underlying protocols such as Bitcoin, Lightning Networks, Ethereum, Dfinity, and more,” Phil Chen who is responsible for the development told Thenextweb. “We would like to support the entire blockchain ecosystem, and in the next few months we’ll be announcing many more exciting partnerships together.”
Cryptocurrency Support as Killer App
If you follow the electronics market carefully, you must know that HTC has not been doing so well in recent years despite creating some great devices. In that context it is possible to imagine that the company is betting on a cryptophone to give it a more edgy brand to attract privacy-minded young people and the more tech savvy crowd. However, other companies have explored the field before HTC and it is thus possible that many more will soon feature built-in cryptocurrency support in their devices.
Earlier this month we reported on the technical details that have emerged about Sirin Finney, an ultra secure mobile device promising to keep your cryptocurrency transactions private. The phone will feature an embedded cold storage wallet, and will be built by the same company that builds the iPhone, Foxconn. And back in March of this year, the Chinese smartphone maker Huawei was rumored to be in serious talks with Sirin Labs about the device too.
How long until all new phones will support crypto as default? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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