HTC Exodus 1 blockchain phone gets a price in real money and new crypto-features

HTC Exodus 1 blockchain phone gets a price in real money and new crypto-features
Foldable and 5G are undoubtedly the major buzzwords of this year's Mobile World Congress, but HTC is one of the few companies doing its own thing. The smartphone vendor, which hasn't found a lot of mainstream success over the past few years, unveiled a new smart mobile hub with 5G capabilities rather than a 5G-enabled prototype phone yesterday, following up that somewhat curious announcement with an expansion of an even more niche product today.

Remember the Exodus 1? You don't? That's cool, it's not like the company went out of its way to advertise the so-called blockchain-powered smartphone for a very wide audience. But after accepting orders exclusively made using Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin cryptocurrencies for a couple of months, HTC is now letting you pay for the handset with "traditional" money as well.

Specifically, $699, which feels like a pretty fair price for a 6-incher with a sharp Quad HD+ display, rather thick bezels, transparent rear cover, a Snapdragon 845 processor under the hood, 6GB RAM, 128 gigs of internal storage space, dual 12 + 16MP rear-facing cameras, dual 8MP front shooters, and a 3,500 mAh battery. Of course, none of that matters for the presumably tiny target audience of the HTC Exodus 1, which primarily cares about things like the Zion wallet for secure crypto management and Social Key Recovery functionality.

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HTC is actually expanding on the phone's crypto-features as well, with support for several new decentralized apps (or dApps), including a native web browser. Opera will enable Exodus 1 users to make direct micropayments to content websites supporting the functionality, initially with Ethereum only and down the line with Bitcoin and Litecoin too. The micropayment concept is obviously not entirely new, but HTC and Opera think they can take the idea to the next level by eliminating transaction fees.

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Another interesting dApp supported by the Exodus 1 is simply called Numbers, putting users in direct contact with companies looking to buy their activity tracking data. You'll know exactly what the app monitors, from walking to sleeping to driving information, and you can choose what to share with a third party while earning a little bit of money. That's... pretty cool, although it's unclear if it can take off when there are so many companies shamelessly tracking you without so much as a heads-up.

HTC's bold vision for the Exodus 1 and beyond is to "empower users to own their own data" in the upcoming "web 3.0" era. But is the world ready for mainstream cryptocurrency adoption? And if not, can the company survive long enough to help blockchain technology take off? 

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