A Foxconn subsidiary will partner with Sirin Labs in developing and manufacturing a blockchain phone that will be known as Finney. The blockchain phone will assist owners in securely storing and using digital currencies such as Bitcoin (BTC). To fund the project Sirin Labs raised approximately $158 million last year in December in an ICO. Prior to the Initial Coin Offering Sirin Labs had raised $70 million for the project.
Though millions have acquired digital currencies they are hardly used in day-to-day transactions. Some owners also prefer to store them on hardware wallets which require complex private keys and passwords to access. This has made cryptocurrencies not as user-friendly as other means of payment making it unlikely for them to be adopted on a mass scale.
25,000 units pre-ordered
The startup expects to ship the blockchain phone this year in October. Sirin expects to sell Finney in eight new stores which will be located in areas that have the most active virtual currency communities such as Turkey and Vietnam. Pre-orders have already begun and so far units numbering over 25,000 have been pre-ordered.
All types of tokens will be integrated into Finney and owners of the blockchain phone will be able to shop of websites that accept virtual currencies such as Expedia and Overstock.com. On the blockchain phone all coin-related services will be activated using a physical switch. Rather than typing a complex address as well as a private key, biometric data will be used to verify identities as well as a simple password.
According to Matt Suiche, the founder of Comae Technologies, a security provider, one risk that owners of the phone could face is being kidnapped and forced to transfer their digital currencies.
“It looked like the phone design was designed to stand out visually — to make it more appealing to the public from a sales point of view. But it always makes it easier to identify targets,” Suiche told Bloomberg.
Finney is expected to retail at $1,000 but once Sirin licenses the technology to other manufacturers the price could fall.