As blockchain technology continues to evolve, it has increasing opportunities to help advance autonomous vehicles, healthcare, supply chain, and the Internet of Things (IoT) with its secure network. Meanwhile, IoT adoption continues to grow as more individuals and organizations start using interconnected devices for easier data sharing. Although blockchain technology improves IoT devices by protecting data and allowing for faster speeds, blockchain smartphones are not yet widely available.
Multiple telecommunication companies have been investing in combining blockchain technology with smartphones to create decentralized devices. One of the first blockchain mobile devices, the Finney from Sirin Labs, came to market at the end of last year. Notably, the Finney is comparable price to high-end phones such as iPhone and Samsung models.
“The Finney phone is a one-stop shop,” declared Sirin Labs’ co-founder and co-CEO Moshe Hogeg during the launch event. “Before the Finney, you needed a ledger, you needed a computer, you needed wallet software, and then you needed to go to an exchange, and then you could convert. The Finney does all of this in one phone.”
Finney is not the only blockchain smartphone currently on the market. HTC offers a blockchain technology on its phone, Exodus 1. The company recently announced a partnership with Bitcoin.com that will see that the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) wallet app is pre-installed on all new Exodus 1 phones.
While these initial devices only leverage blockchain technology in order to make cryptocurrency more accessible, people are already considering future possibilities. Phil Chen, HTC’s chief decentralized officer, envisions the blockchain smartphone evolving into as a way for people to secure and control their personal data.
The Future of Blockchain Smartphones
Blockchain technology can give users more control over their online personas and data. Furthermore, its security and anti-theft abilities could allow phone owners to use techniques such as social recovery to access their data if their device is lost. They could also blacklist the International Mobile station Equipment Identity number (IMEI) for their lost device. This process allows carriers and smartphone suppliers to quickly identify and disable blacklisted devices in order to protect personal information stored on the phone.
Blockchain supporters believe these devices will lead to the creation of a decentralized web. This “Web 3.0.” would allow blockchain and similar technologies to support decentralized applications (dapps), which would run on public, peer-to-peer networks instead of private corporate servers.
Decreasing the amount of plastic in smartphones is another benefit of blockchain technology. Verizon was recently granted a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USTPO) for a system that uses blockchain to make virtual SIM cards.
According to the patent, the system’s blockchain would associate a virtual SIM card (vSIM) with a unique user account and then activate the SIM card. The device would then send a signal back via blockchain to confirm activation.
Virtual SIM cards aren’t new technology. For example, WorldSIM offers localized virtual SIM cards to add the ability to make calls like a local. However, a vSIM would allow companies to stop using physical sim cards. Because blockchain would encrypt user data while each vSim would be unique to a device, the process could become fully digital.
Blockchain and IoT
Blockchain technology continues to grow as companies gain a better understanding of its capabilities. If you’re interested in learning how blockchain could affect your industry, check out Enterprise Blockchain for Healthcare, IoT, Energy, and Supply Chain, a five-course program from IEEE.
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Partz, Helen. (29 August 2019). China Telecom Releases White Paper on 5G Blockchain Phones. Cointelegraph.
Wood. Aaron. (9 September 2019). World’s ‘First’ Blockchain Smartphone to Become Available in New Market. Cointelegraph.
Bonifacic, Igor. (16 September 2019). HTC will preload a Bitcoin Cash wallet on its blockchain phone. Engadget.
Orcutt, Mike. (28 February 2019). What the hell is a blockchain phone—and do I need one? . MIT Technology Review.
Stevens, Robert. (21 September 2019). Verizon taps blockchain technology to replace SIM cards . Yahoo! Finance.