Nowadays, everything seems to be taken over by cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies, and now finally smartphones are going in the same direction. The smartphone market is stagnated both in terms of volume and innovation. There are little changes in the newly released phones over the previous generation thus making many smartphone makers desperate for new features. Now it seems like blockchain is the new target. The race to bring phones with integrated crypto wallets has begun. The implication of everyone having their own wallet is huge in the push for mass adoption. By integrating cold storage in smartphones, manufacturers are finally embracing the crypto revolution.
The first phone manufacturer to announce integrating crypto technology into a smartphone is Brazil-based Sikur. They make security centric phones for governments and businesses. Sikur manufactures phones which are impenetrable, fully encrypted and runs on a highly customized version of Android. In order to install an android app into Sikur phones, you’ll need to get the Sikur team to configure them individually so as to be compatible with the secure platform. The plan to integrate crypto wallet is to achieve mass appeal. Sikurphone was unveiled in the World Mobile Congress held in Barcelona on February 2018, the price announced was $800 at the time of the announcement.
HTC is the first major smartphone maker to announce a phone with crypto wallet in their phone, HTC Exodus 1 was announced by the company on 22 October 2018. HTC’s Exodus 1 comes with a secluded area which is kept separate from the Android operating system which it runs on, to keep a customer’s cryptocurrency safe. The blockchain-based phone is part of the company’s shifting strategy regarding smartphones, which aims to prioritize software and intellectual property instead of manufacturing. It is available for pre-order at a price of 0.15 bitcoins or 4.78 Ether tokens(at the time of announcement), which roughly translates to about $960.
Samsung s10 & s10+
Samsung has been in the business of manufacturing equipment for crypto since early 2018, mainly in the mining sector. Samsung entered the cryptocurrency sector with a focus on Bitcoin mining, creating ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Chips) chips for mining equipment. Samsung slowly increased their presence in the mining sector over the last year and now focus is shifting to wallets integration. This is in line with the companies policy to utilize and leverage its existing resources to expand into new emerging markets. The integration of wallets into smartphones is due to the presence of TEE(Trusted Execution Environment) present in Android, the part which stores biometric information like fingerprint and other secure information. This can be used to store private key reported Samsung Insights report last year July. This kind of safe environment is not present in other devices such as laptops and desktops making smartphones the perfect candidate for integrating crypto wallet.
Newly leaked images of upcoming flagship Galaxy phones shows support for cryptocurrencies within the device called Samsung Blockchain KeyStore. The Samsung Blockchain KeyStore is described as a secure and convenient place to store cryptocurrency. It can securely manage users blockchain private key. Users will be given the option of creating a new wallet from scratch they will also be allowed to import wallets from Metamask and other sources. The leaked images only show support for Ethereum but it is expected that all platforms will be supported. It’s still unclear whether both S10 and S10+ will have support for cryptocurrencies as Samsung has yet to give an official statement. The devices would be announced on February 20 at the annual Samsung Unpacked event.
Once a major smartphone maker like Samsung and HTC starts integrating crypto wallets to their phones, other manufacturers will soon follow. Given the number of smartphone users, this could be the thing which will actually push crypto into the masses. But this puts into question the future of projects which raised hundreds of millions in ICOs specifically to develop crypto storage solutions. Phones integrated with crypto wallets will make them obsolete. It will be an exciting time when most people will carry around their own crypto wallet and start transacting cryptocurrency using their smartphones.
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