Sirin Labs has hired Chinese phone manufacturer Foxconn to produce the world’s first blockchain phone for the mass market, which will appear in stores in October 2018.
Foxconn Group to Manufacture World’s First Blockchain Phone
Foxconn Technology Group, the world’s largest electronics manufacturer for hire, with iPhones, Kindle, and PlayStation, in its portfolio, has agreed to help develop and produce a blockchain phone from Sirin Labs. Finney is a device for the cryptocurrency era, designed to help owners securely store and use digital coins without having to pay transaction fees. Additionally, the phone integrates all kinds of tokens, allows converting cash into specialized tokens, and serves as a payments tool.
Competing against digital wallets and USB sticks in a way, Finney wants to bring the cryptocurrency world to the average Joe. Moshe Hogeg, Chief Executive Officer of Sirin Labs, told Bloomberg how the current user experience is inaccessible to most.
“The mass market would never get it. There’s no chance my mom can figure out how to use Bitcoin, and my mom is smart. I think I can take it to a mass market phone in a world where innovation in phones is saturated, it’s dead.”
The startup has raised $158 million in an initial coin offering in December as well as $70 million raised previously in order to make Finney a reality. The 25,000 units pre-ordered and scheduled to be shipped in October will be sold in eight new stores in active crypto communities such as Vietnam and Turkey, among other countries. The company estimates it will be able to ship up to a few million units in 2018 and eventually partner with mobile carriers.
Security will be protected via an iris or fingerprint scans or the traditional password, instead of a complex address and private key. All coin-related services are activated with a physical switch. The security design seems to be unable to prevent thieves from kidnapping Finney owners in order to access the digital wallets. Making it easier to identify targets and allowing iris and fingerprint scans instead of complex keys and addresses could pose an unexpected risk to Finney users.
The Swiss-based startup is pricing the phone at $1,000, but aims to push the price down to $200 amid the licensing of its technology to other phone manufacturers and suppliers, including a potential deal with Huawei Technologies. The mass market is up for grabs and other two competitors are in the race. Zippie, a 10-person team with experience at Nokia and mobile OS firm Jolla, has raised $30 million in February to license its software to hardware manufacturers. BitVault, another competitor, intends to expand its blockchain phone from the military market to the masses.