HTC has just announced a new, more affordable version of its Exodus 1 smartphone — a device that comes with a built-in hardware wallet for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The new HTC Exodus 1s costs 219 euros (around $244) and allows owners to buy, sell, send, receive, lend, and borrow cryptocurrency directly from the device. The HTC Exodus 1s also boasts software tools that enable it to run a full Bitcoin node. This functionality is built atop a basic, budget Android phone.
“We are providing the tools for access to universal basic finance; the tools to have a metaphorical Swiss bank in your pocket,” Phil Chen, decentralized chief officer at HTC said in a press release. “Full nodes are the most important ingredient in the resilience of the Bitcoin network and we have lowered the barrier to entry for any person to run a node, which is simply a computer, mobile in our case, participating in the global Bitcoin network that propagates transactions and blocks everywhere, which is the foundation and fundamental definition of a peer-to-peer cash system.”
If you’re wondering what all this means, we interviewed Chen last year and he explained what a blockchain phone is and why you might want one. Right now, this is only likely to pique the interest of people trading in cryptocurrency or gaming collectibles, but by offering a much more affordable device, HTC is hoping to tempt more people who are curious to dip a toe in the water.
The original HTC Exodus 1 could only be purchased with cryptocurrency on release and at relatively high prices to begin with, close to $1,000, though it was later sold more conventionally for $699. The HTC Exodus 1s is much more affordable at 219 Euros, which is around $244 at the time of writing.
Even the best cheap phones cut corners, so it won’t be a shock to find that the HTC Exodus 1s has modest specs. We’re talking about a phone that runs Android 8.1 Oreo, with a separate secure enclave that handles all your crypto transactions. It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 inside with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage and room for a MicroSD card, which is just as well because the full Bitcoin ledger is 260GB right now and growing at 60GB per year. If you wanted to, you could put it on a MicroSD card and you’d be able to verify and relay transactions directly from the Exodus 1 without having to connect to a centralized third-party. You’ll also find a 5.7-inch display, 13-megapixel cameras front and back, and a 3,000mAh battery in the new phone.
The HTC Exodus 1s made its debut appearance at the Lightning Conference in Berlin, where it is on sale immediately using the Lightning payment network. You can also order it at the HTC Exodus website, but this initial launch is only for Europe, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. More territories, possibly including the U.S. will follow at a later date.