Sirin Labs has unveiled its flagship product, the FINNEY blockchain phone, after raising $157 million earlier this year in the fourth-largest initial coin offering (ICO) ever.
Named after the iconic computer scientist and early bitcoin develop Hal Finney, the new phone is available to pre-order now (just in time for Christmas delivery).
It comes just a few weeks after the launch of HTC’s blockchain phone, the Exodus 1. So how do they stack up against each other? Which blockchain phone should you buy? We dive into the details of both so can make a better decision. But first…
What is a blockchain phone?
A blockchain phone is a device that incorporates blockchain and cryptocurrency features. Most notably, a hardware wallet for storing crypto safely and access to a “decentralized app” store where you can access blockchain “dapps.”
HTC was the first to launch a commercially available blockchain phone, the Exodus 1, but Sirin Labs followed up with the FINNEY. Others include the Sikur phone.
Sirin Labs FINNEY
The much-anticipated FINNEY is the first in a line of blockchain products planned by Sirin Labs which will also include a blockchain PC. What do you need to know about the new phone?
The phone launches for pre-order at $999. However, you can only pay with the Sirin Labs token, SRN. More payments options are coming soon, but SRN holders will get a 10% discount.
The Finney features cold wallet storage for your cryptocurrency. It’s essentially a second device built into the same phone case. It operates completely separate to the phone’s processing system.
There’s even a separate LCD screen which slides up out of the phone to enter your seed phrase.
The reason for this separation is simple. The cold wallet should not be accessible to the main phone processor, which connects to the internet and therefore vulnerable to hacks.
The Finney runs on a modified version of Android, called SirinOS. It is an “ultra-secure, Google-certified fork of Android.”
Access to Dapps
Just like your smartphone has access to an app store, the Finney will bring you easy to access to “dapps” (decentralized apps) through its dCenter.
Sirin Labs has also anticipated the problem of using requiring different cryptocurrencies for different dapps. The Finney will automatically convert BTC, ETH, or SRN to an app’s native token when required. The idea being to streamline the user experience.
Further reading: There’s a Dapp for that! 10 Best Dapps in 2018
Storage and processing
The Finney features 128GB storage, 6GB RAM, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Chipset (exactly the same as the HTC Exodus 1, if you’re wondering).
The Finney blockchain phone also features a unique artificial intelligence intrusion detector and a cybersecurity suite. The phone is built with security and safety in mind.
The Sirin Labs Finney is built by, and for, the blockchain community. It puts security at the forefront with a super-modified OS, security features and a separate cold wallet. Whether the user experience is as enjoyable as a traditional smartphone remains to be seen.
HTC Exodus 1
The Exodus 1 is HTC’s big play in the blockchain space. Some of the security features fall short of the Finney, but it may offer a better user experience.
The Exodus 1 blockchain phone is available for 0.15 BTC (about $633 at today’s price). That makes it slightly more affordable than the Finney unless crypto prices change dramatically again.
The Exodus 1 also features a separate hardware wallet called Zion. It works by ring-fencing the storage outside the main processor, again to prevent the wallet from being “online” and vulnerable to threats through the main operating system.
It uses a “quarantined” system called Trustzone, but this is not without its vulnerabilities. Exploits are theoretically possible and early critics may give the edge to the Finney here when it comes to crypto storage.
The Exodus 1 blockchain phone will use the basic Android operating system. The Finney may offer a little more security thanks to its modified OS with additional security features.
Access to Dapps
We are promised a trusted and user-friendly interface for accessing decentralized apps but we are yet to see exactly how this will function.
Storage and Processing
The processing specs here are identical to the Finney: a Snapdragon 845 processor, 128GB storage, 6GB Ram.
The Exodus 1 features a 16-megapixel dual rear camera (and a forward facing camera for selfies).
Additional security features include a “Social Key” recovery system. In case the phone is lost or stolen, you can give three-five friends a piece of your private key. When brought together you can access your crypto again, even if the phone is lost.
The Sirin Finney is developed by blockchain enthusiasts for blockchain enthusiasts. Security and crypto storage is the number one priority. You could look at it as a hardware storage device with smartphone capabilities.
The HTC Exodus, on the other hand, is very much “smartphone first,” with additional crypto storage capabilities as a bonus.
The Finney is likely to be the phone of choice for the crypto community right now. But the HTC Exodus 1 could be the phone that takes blockchain mainstream.