Huobi has announced its sixth token sale to take place on its IEO platform Prime on September 11. The exchange will open trading for NODE, the native token of the Whole Network which also offers a blockchain phone called Acute Angle. In a twist on previous Prime offerings, Huobi users will be able to buy the phone using HT tokens.
Huobi Group was among the early-stage investors in the Whole Network project through its venture capital arm, Huobi Capital. The Acute Angle phone has already launched in China and will be rolled out across Southeast Asia during the remainder of this year, with further expansion into Europe and the US next year.
The phone is based on Android and includes several features designed to appeal to crypto enthusiasts. These include a built-in wallet, an optional plug-in cold wallet, and a notification function that tracks the crypto markets and alerts the user when certain programmed conditions are met. There will also be a blockchain version of an app store, where users can download apps and dApps to their phone.
Perhaps most attractive to those who favor the reward model used by projects such as the Brave browser will be the reward feature. Acute Angle users will be eligible to receive free NODE tokens via airdrop for interacting with other members of the crypto community on their phone.
Whole Network plans future rollouts of new models of blockchain phones, including a 5G model.
In the press release accompanying the announcement, Huobi CEO Livio Weng stated that the company believes blockchain phones have a bright future in a world that’s moving to embrace 5G and other telecommunications innovations.
The Latest in the Line?
Blockchain phones come in different flavors. Samsung caused great excitement earlier this year when it confirmed it would be incorporating blockchain features into part of its smartphone range. The flagship Galaxy S10 was launched in March, featuring a “Blockchain Keystore” offering storage and transactions for Ethereum-based tokens. Since then, it’s been upgraded to include Bitcoin, and the Blockchain Keystore now includes 17 dApps.
However, Samsung is a global tech behemoth, with a 23 percent share in a smartphone market worth more than $500 billion annually. The Galaxy S10 isn’t selling itself on being a blockchain phone; rather, the incorporation of blockchain features extends its broad appeal into the niche of crypto users.
However, the Acute Angle phone is of a different variety - the kind that sells itself based on its blockchain features, developed by a blockchain startup. There is precedent here. Israeli startup Sirin Labs was the first to market back in January this year with a blockchain phone called Finney. However, in April, news reports emerged that the company had laid off 25 percent of its workforce. Nevertheless, Sirin went on to launch the Finney phone to users in Singapore at the end of August.
Acute Angle will be pitching its phone at $515, which is the lowest price of any blockchain-enabled phone on the market today, including the Galaxy S10. Perhaps the lower price point will prove sufficient to attract more users than Sirin has been able to achieve.
As things stand, security remains one of the biggest challenges within the crypto space. Exchange hacks, spoofing, phishing, and malware are all too common. Therefore, it’s natural that users will be cautious in adopting innovations like blockchain-enabled smartphones until they’ve proven their security capabilities.
All this said, it’s early days for the blockchain smartphone market. Furthermore, Acute Angle is the first phone that will have the backing of an established player in the space, meaning it can ride on the coattails of Huobi’s reputation and user base. Time will tell if the promise of in-built dApp stores and wallets at a more consumer-friendly price point is going to lure users into testing out the blockchain phone capabilities for themselves.