Taiwan’s HTC has followed up on its Exodus 1 smartphone with a cheaper version that from a crypto view does a hell of a lot more.
The Chinese phone maker’s latest model is the Exodus 1s, which weighs in at half the price of its more expensive relation and it runs a full bitcoin node.
Running a full node would require continually syncing with the blockchain in order to broadcast the latest version of the blockchain and its verified transactions.
The bitcoin blockchain is around 200GB in size at present and the stress on a smartphone let alone trying to use it for other purposes at the same time, could prove problematic.
Although you can’t mine bitcoin with the phone not yet at any rate – being able to run a full node opens up the potential in a significant shift for the decentralisation of the network.
Could massively expand number of Bitcoin full nodes
Currently, there are 5,000 full nodes and the Exodus 1s could change that my several factors.
The phone will appeal to blockchain developers but also to those in the wider crypto community, attracted both by the onboard key storage in a secure enclave it calls the Zion Vault and now the full node ability.
The bosses at HTC are going all in on crypto and clearly see it as a key differentiator in the highly competitive smartphone market.
The phone doesn’t launch until the third quarter and will be priced between $250-$300.
Phil Chen, HTC’s Decentralised chief officer, sees the phone as a breakthrough in challenging the centralised applications of today, such as Facebook, AirBnB, Uber etc, although he didn’t name any company in particular.
HTC says the initiative is part of its overarching mission to “empower the user”.
Pruning the Merkle tree
On further examination it turns out the Exodus 1s will not be syncing with the entire 200GB chain but instead a “pruned” version, which refers to the pruning of the Merkle tree.
Chen says HTC’s engineers will be able to get the chain down to a workable size on the phone with the help of an SD card upon which most of the full node would be stored.
In comments provided to Mashable, Chen said “you’ll definitely want to operate this over wifi”, when addressing the issue of power and computing resource.
“Full nodes are the most important ingredient in the resilience of the Bitcoin network and we have lowered the barrier to entry for any person to run a node, which is simply a computer, mobile in our case, participating in a global bitcoin network that propagates transactions and blocks everywhere, which is the foundation and fundamental definition of a peer-to-peer cash system,” Chen explained.