HTC Exodus 1 blockchain phone could help build the next Internet

(Image credit: HTC) (Image credit: HTC)

HTC raised eyebrows with the launch of its Exodus 1 blockchain phone last year, with many dismissing the product as a stunt aimed at catching the cryptocurrency bug.

However the company is keen to stress its commitment to the device, which it says could have major ramifications in building the future of the very Internet itself.

TechRadar Pro spoke to Phil Chen, HTC's decentralised chief office and head of the HTC Exodus 1 project at MWC 2019 this week to find out just how.

"Critical role"

Chen admits that the Exodus 1 endured a slightly rocky launch, which has led to what he calls a "communication gap" with many in the cryptocurrency community.

"We don't presume it to be perfect, but it's definitely a 1.0 version," he says, "it really is a super-hard problem that we've solved."

"It's interesting - a lot of people in the crypto community still don't get it...they get the space, but they don't get where the phone fits into the space."

"(But) the real developers in this space understand we are playing a critical role in this ecosystem."

Chen says HTC will now look to up its presence at developer conferences to highlight the possibilities of the Exodus 1, and will look to work closely with the 300,000-strong developer community across the world.

(Image credit: HTC)

(Image credit: HTC) (Image credit: HTC)

HTC also revealed at MWC 2019 that the Exodus 1 can now be bought with real-life currency (with prices starting at $699 in the US), rather than being limited to Bitcoin or Ethereum as had been the cases, which is hopes will widen the appeal of the device even further.

HTC and Chen, for which the Exodus 1 is clearly a major passion project, see the device as a starting point for building a new Internet ecosystem, one based around blockchain-based principles such as decentralisation.

The company revealed this week it would been partnering with Opera to better host its APIs that provide Exodus 1 users with extra security for their wallets. There's also the ability to interact, transact with and login to services directly using their private keys held on their device - with an early example allowing users to make direct micropayments to online content providers.

"This integration means a lot," Chen says, noting that the concept of owning your personal digital identity will be a major focus for his team, and one he believes can affect a wide range of verticals and industries.

HTC says that the decentralised web will allow users to protect and secure their own data by providing more transparent peer-to-peer services, getting rid of the middlemen which previously benefited from getting access to this information.

Chen is understandably positive about the future of the Exodus 1, although he wouldn't be drawn on whether there is a new 2.0 device in production just yet. For now, the team is looking at building relationships with the wider community, with a software development kit set to launch "in the coming months" for developer to engage with.

"Exodus is not about the hype - it's about building real innovation in technology," he says.

"We're still at the top of the list - we understand the timing of this thing, it's still early...We're not riding the wave, we are genuinely authentic in serving and developing for the community in creating the next generation of the internet in a decentralised way."

  • MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest showcase for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2019 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar's world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone.  
Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.