Mobile phone manufacturer HTC wants to let its smartphone customers plug into the bitcoin blockchain.
Speaking on Saturday at the Magical Crypto Conference in New York, HTC's Phil Chen revealed a new, low-cost version of his blockchain phone, the EXODUS 1s, and announces that the device could act as a complete node for the bitcoin network, which means that customers will store the entire blockchain's data on their devices.
The company will also offer a software development kit (SDK) available for its Zion Vault, HTC's crypto wallet app, and eventually plans to open source code behind its social key recovery.
Phil Chen, HTC's decentralized boss, told CoinDesk that the company is targeting a release by the end of the 3rd quarter.
Specifications are not yet released for the device.
1's will be based on HTC EXODUS 1, which was announced on the CoinDesks Consensus 2018 and released later this year. While customers could first purchase the device with crypto, HTC opened the fiat payment options in February.
The most striking promise of 1s will be its ability to run a full bitcoin node. Chen explained that the company saw it as "a very important piece of cake" for the bitcoin ecosystem.
"We believe it is fundamental to the whole decentralized internet and just the whole basic premise," he said. "If you don't own your keys, you don't own your bitcoin, you don't own crypto."
EXODUS 1 was designed to allow users to maintain their own private keys, which in turn form the basis of this next move, Chen said.
He believes that from a technological point of view, smartphones today are physically capable of handling the effort, noting that the data processes and storage media are becoming cheaper and more efficient.
"We expect those phones will be powerful enough," he argued, adding:
"Bitcoin blockchain is about 200 [gigabytes] and it grows about 60 gigs per year, and those numbers are reasonable to hold on Think of iPod with 256 giants … of course, the music tab will keep the entire music library, but the crypto plane wants to keep the entire bitcoin blockchain. "
By allowing users to run entire nodes, HTC allows them to verify data themselves , he said.
"[You can] be part of the bitcoin revolution by contributing to the security of the entire network," Chen said.
As I said, EXODUS 1s will still be able to lead
HTC is planning to support bitcoin blockchain on launch, but Chen ruled out not adding support for other networks. The main considerations include how much memory and bandwidth other networks would require, he explained.
"I believe that it is quite possible to run light notes, like ether, for example, it is possible, [but] everything depends on the specification," he said.
The company also plans to focus on public blocks, which Chen believes are much easier to support than private networks. That said, HTC does not intend to explicitly support other networks at this time.
"I see bitcoin as one of the most important, if not the most important blocks," he said. "We will definitely support the first and give what bitcoin stands for, open, neutral, censorship resistance."
He also noted that bitcoin is the "most proven" network, and at least it was somewhat symbolic as well.
When HTC is able to launch the 1st century, Chen expects that his team will be able to use the experience of supporting bitcoin node to other networks.
Its new 1s fall in line with HTC's goal of contributing to the broader crypto ecosystem.
The demand from EXODUS has been "on track" with HTC's expectations, Chen said. However, the company continues to seek feedback from the community. To that end, HTC publishes its Zion Vault SDK for developers, and finally plans to provide its social key recovery mechanism for other wallets to use (although no timeline has been set for this last section).
The company also continues to support its existing EXODUS 1 product, adding an Etherscan widget for customers to explore the ethereum blockchain and support for further non-fungible tokens.
Chen said the company would continue to develop products for the line, targeting a user-focused experience.
"I think people who really care about the public blockchain room see the role we play in this ecosystem. We've got a lot of support from developers, and we're very authentic about giving developers opportunities," he said.
Photo via Magical Crypto Conference