The rise of cryptocurrencies has naturally birthed changes and developments in our technology and IT systems. One of the most prominent products to bring about this change has been cryptocurrency and the Blockchain technology it brought with it. The decentralised control of many cryptocurrencies works through distributed ledger technology, and in most cases, a blockchain works as a public financial transaction database. The ‘block’ in the chain stores digital information about transactions and is stored on a public database which is the ‘chain’.
Amid other worries such as the continuous rise and fall in the value of the currency, cryptocurrency holders generally fear their keys being stolen. A private key is a sophisticated and smart form of cryptography that allows users to access their cryptocurrency, protecting their funds from unauthorised personnel. Many cryptocurrency owners safeguard themselves with software wallets and mobile or desktop apps that are portable and easy to use. The apps themselves either store the keys or entrust them on the servers of a third party. However, given that everything is connected through the internet, software wallets and apps risk the potential of being hacked, making them highly vulnerable. As cryptocurrencies have shot up in value over the years, a threat could result in mass amounts of loss for some.
Precisely because of this reason, the world of crypto’s super-rich prefer hardware wallets. The wallets store keys on hardware devices such as USB drives and are kept offline most of the time. Although they do need to be connected to the internet to access and carry out transactions, they offer relatively tighter security than constantly connected devices.
With this in mind, tech giants such as Samsung and HTC have adapted smartphones and have launched models that accommodate for crypto needs.
A new edition of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 smartphone has been launched which features a pre-installed cryptocurrency wallet. Knowns as the KlaytnPhone it offers its users a smooth and seamless experience when interacting with blockchain-powered services. The phone comes with blockchain apps and a crypto wallet. The wallet is based on a feature known as ‘Samsung Knox’ which is a platform built into Samsung devices. The platform consists of overlapping defence and security mechanisms that help to protect against malware, intrusions and malicious threats, making it capable of storing private keys. The Samsung S10 smartphone also features cold storage wallets which are offline wallets, allowing users to store cryptocurrency in the form of Bitcoin, Eutherum and Cosmo Coin. The device also supports selected decentralised apps known as ‘Dapps’.
HTC now has in its line up two smartphones that are aimed at cryptocurrency users known as Exodus 1 and Exodus 1S. The newest edition, the Exodus 1S, is much cheaper than its older sibling and offers much less powerful hardware. The smartphone can run a full Bitcoin node which is thought to be the first for a smartphone. The ability to to be able to run a full node means that the phone can relay, confirm and validate transactions done with Bitcoin, offering heightened privacy. Although this sounds great, the ability to run, on the phone, a full Bitcoin node does, unfortunately, come with limitations. The makes recommend that users connect their smartphones to Wi-Fi and plug them into a power source while it is running the full node to avoid disappointment.
Sirin Labs is different from the above two organisations and is an industry leader within mobile cybersecurity who have developed FINNEY, an ultra-secure blockchain smartphone with an embedded cold storage crypto wallet. For complete security, they have also developed Sirin OS which is thought to be the only operating system secure enough or storing and using cryptocurrency currently in the mobile environment. The enhanced security of the device in its entirety means that is has a built-in cold wallet that is accessible via the Safe Screen which pops up from behind the phone main screen. It also has its own app store named ‘dCenter’.
The above devices and many others like it indicate how smartphone technology is changing and adapting to the needs of their consumers. The introduction of cold storage wallets and the ability to run full Bitcoin nodes gesture a nod of approval for future technologies and advancements. With this in mind, the latest connective capabilities, and one that many smartphones are ready for, could also lend a helping hand.
The combination of 5G and blockchain technology has the future potential to unleash a massive surge of economic value, which might just be what cryptocurrency needs right now. To understand the true potential and relationship of 5G and Blockchain, we must think of it a multifold. The competence of 5G coverage through its ability of reduced latency along with its high speeds and capacity is the perfect formula to assist IoT devices to be widely used. Giving them this ability will mean these devices will leverage security, immutability, decentralisation and consensus arbitration of blockchains as foundational layers. Put simply, driverless vehicles, smart cities and smart homes will finally receive the technology they have been longing for to handle their specific needs and requirements and become a reality.