Swiss firm Sirin Labs has plans to release a cell phone built especially for cryptocurrency users. “The Finney” Android phone will offer more secure storage of cryptocurrencies and the dApps (decentralized applications) they support. (dApps are computer apps built on decentralized cryptocurrency blockchains governed by network consensus. Two popular dApps now are CryptoKitties: collectable, limited edition cartoon cats that can be digitally bred; and FunFair, a provably-fair blockchain-based casino).
Sirin, who raised $157 million in an initial coin offering (ICO) held December 2017, plans to open a series of retail stores that will feature The Finney phone as well as a crypto-specialized forthcoming laptop product. Presently, the Finney phone can only be purchased using the sirin token, at the equivalent of about $1000 US.
CEO of Sirin Labs Moshe Hogeg has stated he expects the number of people using cryptocurrencies to “at least” double in 2018, and says he has identified a market of serious early adopters who want a crypto-specialized phone.
Sirin has partnered with Bancor, “a decentralized liquidity market” who will help convert sirin tokens into other crypto sought by users. The phone will be built by Taiwan manufacturer Foxconn, who also manufacture for Apple.
Hogeg promises a “simple” and secure user experience. The phone will use behavioural monitoring mechanisms such as intrusion detection and will offer several kinds of biometric identification to secure the device.
A sticking point is that the phone may eventually operate on IOTA, a cryptographic “tangle” network designed for the Internet of Things. IOTA’s model allows devices connected to it to mine IOTA and thus pay for their own use of the network. If the FInney phone does operate on IOTA, it could use the network without having to pay fees.
However, the complex IOTA system has been loudly criticized in crypto circles and has suffered high profile technical problems.
Sirin plans to present prototypes of the FInney at retail stores it plans to open in markets where crypto is hot, including Vietnam and Turkey. They hope to have a market-ready product by the end of 2018.
A Note About Hal Finney
Hal Finney was a career cryptographer, “cryptographic activist” and an early online correspondent with Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator or creators of Bitcoin. Finney was one of the first to mine Bitcoin and received the first ever bitcoin transmission of 10 bitcoins from Nakamoto.
“The computer can be used as a tool to liberate and protect people, rather than to control them.”