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New HTC phone to run full Bitcoin node

HTC have announced the launch of the second generation, blockchain-focussed Exodus 1s which will be available by the end of 2019.

According to the company’s Chief Decentralised Officer, Phil Chen, the new device will provide support for decentralised apps (dapps) including social media, messaging, and browsing based applications.

Chen spoke on Saturday at the Magical Crypto Conference in New York where he unveiled the new, low-cost version of the Exodus 1. He explained that this new device will act as a full node for the blockchain network which means that customers can store the whole blockchain’s data on their phone.

The Exodus 1s is designed to be a low-cost version of the first generation version.

Chen said: “The 1s is going to be a lot cheaper, it will be more accessible.”

HTC will also offer a software development kit (SDK) which will be available for its Zion Valut, the HTC crypto wallet. They also announced plans to open-source the code behind its social key recovery mechanism.

Whilst the 1s will be based on the Exodus 1, no specifications have been released as of yet. The first generation version was only able to be purchased with cryptocurrency, HTC started allowing fiat payments in February and are expected to allow them for those wishing to purchase the 1s.

Chen claims “a really important piece of the pie” will be the phones ability to run a full Bitcoin node.

“We think that’s foundational to the whole decentralised internet and just the whole fundamental premise. If you don’t own your own keys, you don’t own your own bitcoin, you don’t own your own crypto,” he added.

The Exodus 1 allowed users to handle their own private keys which then led to the new development. Chen explained that today’s smartphones are technologically able to handle such processes, explaining that hardware such as computing chips and storage media are much lower cost than they once were.

“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,” he said.

By allowing users to hold a full node on their smartphone, they are able to verify data themselves whilst contributing to the security of the whole network. As well as its blockchain-based uses, the phone will still have space allocated for videos, photos, music, apps, and other forms of data.

The phone is to be launched with support for the bitcoin blockchain but HTC have not ruled out adding support for additional blockchains in the future.

“I think running light nodes, like ethereum for example, is definitely doable, but it all depends on the spec. I see bitcoin as one of the most important if not the most important blockchains,” he said. “We definitely want to support that first and given what bitcoin stands for, open, neutral, censorship-resistance,” Chen said.

About Alice Taylor

Alice is a law graduate, journalist, writer, and crypto fan. She has been working in the sector for almost a decade- firstly in the legal and regulatory side of things, before venturing into journalism four years ago.

Ledger Nano S - The secure hardware wallet