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Blockchain in Your Pocket? The Phone Behind Sirin's $157 Million ICO

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Uploaded by Coin News Does the world really need a blockchain phone? Sirin Labs is betting it does.The startup, which recently raised $157 million in an initial coin offering (ICO), is building an Android smartphone from scratch with special features for cryptocurrency enthusiasts: an app store for distributed apps (dapps), cold storage for private keys and easy conversion between tokens.The Switzerland-based company says the product will fill a need in a fast-growing market: a secure device that can simplify the use of cryptocurrency across multiple applications.But as an old tech adage goes, "hardware is hard," and in blockchain it may be even harder, since devices must be engineered to protect not only information but unrecoverable money.In a nod to the device's target audience, Sirin has dubbed the phone "Finney," after computer scientist and bitcoin pioneer Hal Finney.Estimating this audience's growth over the years, Sirin Labs CEO Moshe Hogeg told CoinDesk: The phone is expected to retail just shy of $1,000, putting it in the high-end range with the likes of Apple's iPhone.And it can only be purchased using Sirin's crypto token (based on the ERC-20 standard).The firm sold 40 percent of the 573 million total tokens it created during the recent ICO.As an Android device, the phone will include all the usual applications, including the full Google Play store.As Hogeg explained, "We're talking about user experience.If you don't have Facebook then forget about it." But what makes Finney different is that sirin tokens will also be stored on the device to facilitate payments for a wide variety of dapps.The decentralized app store on the Finney phone will provide users with access to a whole host of dapps – the products of a host of blockchain-based projects that have issued tokens via ICOs.These could include blockchain-based alternatives to popular tech companies such as Uber, which Hogeg said would be better for users by connecting providers directly to customers, reflecting the industry ethos.As such, the Finney would provide a one-stop shop for crypto enthusiasts to browse through dapps and spend their crypto on products and services.And through a partnership with Bancor, the decentralized liquidity market that raised $150 million last June in an ICO, Sirin's software will convert users' sirin tokens to whatever cryptocurrency is needed for a particular transaction."A user shouldn't care about technology.He shouldn't care about how things work.He should care about the value of them," said Hogeg.Hence, "the experience should be simple." Simplicity will be a prerequisite for these token-based platforms to gain traction, he said."If we want those technologies to become mainstream, we have to fix this issue of multiple tokens," Hogeg said."Our software is going to allow the user to seamlessly convert between different tokens within our phones." Sirin faces some competition in the decentralized app store arena.Coinbase CEO Brian Armstong is also working on a browser fo show more

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