Smartphone maker HTC has followed in the steps of Sirin Labs and created a phone that also acts as a hardware wallet for cryptocurrency. The Exodus 1, which ships in December, combines a blockchain-focused architecture with flagship specifications such as a Snapdragon 845 processor, 6 GB of RAM, and a 16-megapixel dual rear camera, but it’s the crypto element that has naturally got people talking.
You Are Now Entering the TrustZone
The HTC Exodus 1 features a “secure enclave” which utilizes technology built into the phone’s processor to safely store the user’s private keys. According to the processor manufacture Arm, “Arm TrustZone technology provides system-wide hardware isolation for trusted software”, ensuring that a holder’s private keys will be, in theory, safely locked away from prying eyes. HTC’s hardware wallet is a cross between the cold storage security offered by physical devices (e.g. Ledger and Trezor) and the flexibility of online wallets (e.g. Exodus and Jaxx). It is not therefore a completely cold wallet, so those seeking the highest level of protection should still go down the Ledger/Trezor route.
Keep Your Friends Close…
Blockchain really is at the heart of this phone, and this is reflected in the recovery method for loss, theft or damage. HTC has created what it calls “social key recovery”, where three to five of your friends split your recovery algorithm via an app, allowing you to piece the recovery key together again should you need to. This of course presumes you haven’t fallen out with any of them or they haven’t deleted the app, met an untimely end or any of the dozen or so other things that could separate an individual from an app on their phone. It could be argued that this is a far less practical solution than simply putting the recovery key in a bank vault or even a safe at home, but that involves centralization, and this isn’t the phone for that.
Your Money’s no Good Here
HTC have stated that payment for the Exodus 1 can only be made in Bitcoin and Ethereum, with the price starting out at 0.15 BTC or 4.78 ETH, around $975 at current prices. HTC has stated however that they may adjust the price to reflect any big swings in the notoriously volatile assets. So if you’re in the market for a new phone and a hardware wallet, the HTC Exodus 1 is available to pre-order now.