Crypto craze of may come and go but definitively the blockchain technology and at least some parts of the cryptocurrency universe are here to stay. The idea of combining two of the hottest and latest technology into something commercially viable is thus was only a matter of time. So, behold the coming of the cryptosmarphones.
What are the crypto smartphones and how could they be useful for the users?
Well, there is no single definition of what can be considered a cryptosmartphone. There are as simple as Samsung Galaxy S10 which has a protected memory area for storing the bitcoin keys or as advanced as Sirin“s Finney which operates a highly customized Android OS with multiple distributed apps and strong cryptography. All in all crypto smartphones are smartphones with some extra functionality for crypto currency, security and distributed applications. The extent of this functionality is defining the level of the word crypto in the «crypto smartphone».
What Are the Benefits of a Blockchain Smartphone?
Anyone who used a cryptocurrency started with the wallet. Wallet is some sort of hardware or/and software solution that allows to store, accept, transfer and check the accounts. There are known software solutions – Exodus or Electroneum, Mycellium to name a few – and hardware ones, like Ledger and Trezor. The hardware in general are considered to be more secure while the software-based are fancier and more user-friendly. Smartphone users – which nowadays means anyone – prefers to keep their activities at the phone. So the simplest blockchain does allow some form of secure storing of the cryptography keys as a bare minimum.
Blockchain smartphones should, interface easier with DApps. There are already a few ways you can interface with DApps from your smartphone, such as Metamask or mobile crypto wallets with DApp support.
With even tighter integration of blockchain in a regular mobile operating systems like Android and iOS should come increased security, better sharing opportunities. Users that are now far away from crypto crowds will feel some sense in DApps and blockchain utilities.
At the far end of the spectrum blockchain smartphones make use of exclusive apps that only other blockchain-enabled smartphones can use.
Blockchain Smartphone in the wild
There are already several blockchain smartphones on the market. Their adherence to blockchain varies between manufacturers, meaning there is a variety of implementations on the market. Here are a few blockchain smartphones currently available.
HTC Exodus 1
The HTC Exodus 1 caught headlines when HTC announced the smartphone would integrate a private cryptocurrency key vault, as well as integrations for DApps.
HTC Exodus security and privacy comes from the HTC Zion all-in-one wallet. Zion is a combined exchange, marketplace, payment processor, DApp portal, and crypto-collectible wallet.
“All that, in one app?” I hear you say. Well, yes—and Zion is indicative of how the major smartphone manufacturers envisage cryptocurrency use and adoption.
The HTC Exodus and Zion wallet will also use distributed social key recovery. Zion breaks down and encrypts your recovery phrase, then sends it to a list of trusted contacts. If you lose your phone or otherwise, your contacts can help you recover your Zion wallet. Furthermore, the HTC Exodus uses a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) to safely secure your keys and stop any malicious code executing.
Samsung Galaxy S10
The Samsung Galaxy S10 is a standard smartphone with some cryptocurrency and blockchain integration.
Every Galaxy S10 will automatically generate a cryptocurrency wallet which supports up to 33 tokens, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Binance Coin. The first-generation Galaxy S10 launched in March 2019 with support for Ethereum storage and transaction processing. However, Bitcoin was conspicuous in its absence. The second-generation Galaxy S10 launched in August 2019 with support for the world’s largest cryptocurrency.
A core component of Samsung’s crypto integration is the Samsung Blockchain Keystore. The Keystore “puts consumers in control of their data,” using an isolated Trusted Execution Environment (TEE). The TEE ensures your private keys remain isolated on the device. Not even the Android operating system can access the private keys without explicit permission.
Aside from the TEE, the Samsung Galaxy S10 integrated wallet allows access to several DApps, including Pundi X’s X Wallet, crypto game My Crypto Heroes, and social media DApp platform, Berry Pick.
Sirin Labs Finney
From two smartphones integrating cryptocurrency and blockchain to one taking it a step further. Sirin Labs’ Finney blockchain smartphone (named after blockchain pioneer, Hal Finney) comes with embedded cold storage, allowing you to lock away your cryptocurrencies while still making cryptocurrency transactions.
The Finney extends the functionality of the base Android operating system into Sirin OS. Sirin Labs Sirin OS comes with extensive security enhancements, such as the Cyber Security Center and the dCENTER. The Cyber Security Center includes app whitelisting, individual app locking, TrustCall (encrypted peer-to-peer calls), Proton Mail, and a host of other security and privacy-focused apps.
The Safe Screen cold storage is a separate 2″ PMOLED screen which remains offline so long as the secondary screen remains shut. Once you slide it up, you can use the cryptocurrency wallet. However, other reviewers note that the small screen is fiddly for Sirin Labs Finney is eye-catching, too. You access the cold storage via a slide-out screen, the overall design is sleek, and the screen has a higher pixel density than the 6.1″ iPhone XR. It is a tidy package.