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HTC Is Making a Blockchain Phone, But What's the Point?

HTC might have sold off a large part of its smartphone division to Google, but that's apparently not stopping the company's efforts at building its own devices.

The tech company is designing a new smartphone, called Exodus, that will run on blockchain technology, The Next Web is reporting. The device will ship with a universal wallet and will allow you to run a variety of applications and use the cryptocurrency of your choice.

“Through Exodus, we are excited to be supporting underlying protocols such as Bitcoin, Lightning Networks, Ethereum, Dfinity, and more," Phil Chen, the creator of HTC's Vive virtual reality headset and the person in charge of Exodus' development, told The Next Web. Chen went on to say that the Exodus will be designed to "support the entire blockchain system."

It's hard to determine whether blockchain phones can actually improve the user experience and therefore would be appealing to some sophisticated mobile users or are simply gimmicks. Many of the features bundled in the HTC Exodus or last year's Sirin Labs blockchain phone, for instance, can be bundled in a standard smartphone.

Blockchain phone makers argue that their devices can be more secure by relying on the blockchain and decentralized apps rather than standard technologies. For instance, your Web browsing on a blockchain phone would be private and secure out of the box. The same goes for messaging, mail, and other features.

MORE: What Is Bitcoin? Everything You Need to Know

However, it's just as easy to download a secure and private browser or a messaging app to your iPhone or Android device. And at least in those cases, you have the option of floating to and from the blockchain.

In addition to offering strong privacy, the Exodus could also allow for an easier and more direct cryptocurrency experience. Better yet, the handset shouldn't cost you any mining fees for those transfers.

For now, HTC is remaining tight-lipped on many of its smartphone's key details, including how much it'll cost, what kinds of specs it'll offer, and when we can expect to see it on store shelves. But look for much more on this one as its development continues.