And yet, this is pretty much what a couple upcoming “blockchain-powered” (Pusha T voice: YEUCH!) smartphones will allow users to do. While these phones—the Finney by Sirin Labs and HTC’s Exodus, both still in the works and aiming for an end-of-year release—claim to offer more security for digital coins than any other mobile device on the market, they may also put the onus on users to be responsible to a fault.

Details are relatively scarce on both the Finney and the Exodus, but based on what Sirin Labs and HTC have released so far, they appear to integrate blockchain technology in different ways. The Exodus can act as a transaction-confirming light node for an undisclosed blockchain, which should theoretically further decentralize that network.

An HTC spokesperson declined to clarify which cryptocurrency’s blockchain(s) the Exodus can act as a light node for, but a website advertising the phone mentions Bitcoin and Ethereum. The Finney will allow users to share computational resources over a distributed ledger based on the cryptocurrency IOTA, which uses a controversial directed acyclic graph (DAG) architecture different from a blockchain.

A Sirin Labs spokesperson declined to comment on criticisms of IOTA’s architecture. These bells and whistles are all well and good, but most notably both phones come with the ability to store private keys—random-looking strings of characters, the owner of which controls some associated digital coins on a particular ledger—offline.

This technique is known as “cold storage,” and it might be more trouble than it’s worth on a smartphone. The cardinal rule of cryptocurrency is that you are in direct control of your money via your private keys—if you lose your keys, you lose your money. Read more from…

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