Blockchain phones enable simple, decentralized Web 3.0 apps

Giulio Prisco
Mar 5, 2019 · 2 min read

MIT Technology Review is running a feature on “blockchain phones.” According to the prestigious magazine, the first wave of crypto-focused smartphones “is a small step toward a decentralized web.”

With the Exodus 1 phone, described as “the Native Web 3.0 Blockchain Phone” (“Web 3.0” is more and more used to indicate the coming decentralized web), HTC wants to rebuild the Internet “by empowering the people to own their own identities, personal data and assets.” Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin said:

“I’m excited to see EXODUS putting in the work to make blockchain and cryptocurrency technology secure and easy to use for the masses.”

In particular, Buterin praised the Exodus for its M-of-N social key recovery, which permits recovering keys by spreading them around a small number of trusted contacts. Buterin tweeted:

Opera, the browser maker that recently launched its blockchain-oriented browser specifically designed for surfing and interacting with the decentralized web, is announcing a partnership with HTC to protect the identity and privacy of Exodus 1 users. Charles Hamel, Head of Crypto at Opera, said:

“We are at the dawn of a new generation of the Web, one where new decentralized services will challenge the status quo. HTC and Opera have both made the bold decision to be the first to step up and enable this transformation. We are very proud to partner with EXODUS and together define a new standard for usability and security of crypto.”

Other blockchain phones mentioned by MIT Technology Review include the recently launched Samsung Galaxy S10 (see this CNET review), which offers private key storage for blockchain-enabled mobile services, the recently launched Finney phone by Sirin Labs, and the cheaper Electroneum, an $80 Android phone that can mine cryptocurrency.

By allowing users to own their identity and data, blockchain technology can be an important enabler for a decentralized internet, but only if packaged in a way that is easy to use. It can be argued that the main obstacle to the mass adoption of both blockchain-based and decentralized Web 3.0 applications is the fact that user interfaces are not yet as easy, immediate, and intuitive as they should be for mass appeal.

Smartphones have achieved popularity by offering super-simple one-click user experiences to masses of users, including computer-illiterate ones. It seems likely that simple phone-based, blockchain-powered decentralized applications could open the Web 3.0 to the masses. For cryptocurrency users, the smartphone could replace the secure hardware wallet, just like it replaced the digital camera.

Picture from Wikimedia Commons.

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Giulio Prisco

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Writer, futurist, sometime philosopher.

ChainRift Research

Latest crypto analytics for traders and enthusiasts

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