Launching a $1,000 cryptocurrency-centric smartphone amid the worst cryptocurrency crash in years seems like a cruel joke.
Solana Labs, the tech company behind the Solana blockchain, has unveiled plans to launch an Android phone specifically designed for its cryptocurrency ecosystem. However, not all blockchain experts are thrilled with this announcement.
“Cryptocurrency doesn’t need cryptocurrency native phones,” tweeted Justin Bons, founder and CIO of cryptocurrency investment firm Cyber Capital. “She needs better software that can run safely on the phones we all already own!” “.
If it ain’t broke
Solana Labs CEO Anatoly Yakovenko launched the phone, dubbed Saga, at an event in New York. “We haven’t seen a single cryptographic feature at Apple’s developer conference, 13 years after the birth of bitcoin….. I think it’s time for crypto to go mobile,” Yakovenko noted.
In a press release, Yakovenko hailed the Saga as a benchmark device that will set “a new standard for the web3 experience on mobile.”
“Everything is going mobile,” noted Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX at the launch event. Acknowledging that the crypto experience on mobile is lagging behind, he said the best solution to bridge the gap is to have “the actual wallet built into your phone.”
In an email exchange, Austin Federa, communications manager at the Solana Foundation, pointed out that one of Saga’s key differentiators is the Solana mobile stack.
“We live our lives on our mobile devices, with the exception of Web3, which is still largely glued to the desktop,” Federa explained. “The Solana Mobile Stack will give developers the tools they need to create amazing mobile experiences on Android and is built to support Web3 business models with no extractive costs to developers or users. »
Saga will include a Web3 dapps (decentralized apps) store, a Solana Pay app for making on-chain payments using QR codes, a mobile wallet adapter and a “seed vault” that will store private keys of the owner.
However, like Bons, Lumi, an independent blockchain researcher, is unimpressed.
“Web3 or blockchain-enabled smartphones have been around since at least 2019, and they’ve all been failures,” Lumi said on Twitter DMs, “regardless of whether they were launched and backed by online payments teams.” crypto or real mobile manufacturers like HTC. »
Lumi explained that the “cryptophone” genre involves jamming a physical hardware wallet into a mobile phone, which he says is perhaps the most questionable security practice he has ever seen promoted in the crypto space. .
Don’t carry your wallet with you “has always been and always will be a sound and smart security practice,” Lumi noted. “But, if you don’t carry a wallet with you, why would you need a dedicated hardware wallet? “.
The wrong tree
Bons and Lumi also questioned Solana’s safety record. “Security is exactly what Solana is most criticized for,” Lumi asserted. “Their blockchain has been down at least seven times to date, often resulting in extreme negative price action for holders of [cryptocurrency Solana]. »
In addition to security issues, Lumi also pointed out flaws in the Solana ecosystem. In particular, he pointed to the recent event where Solend, a Solana lending platform, apparently had no qualms about going against crypto ethics and granting itself the power to take over the account of a person. The decision was ultimately rejected by an overwhelming majority of people, which did not sit well with her community.
Web3 or blockchain enabled smartphones have been around since at least 2019 and have all been failures.
Bons believes problems with Solana are something to be addressed in software, not something that can be fixed with a new smartphone.
“The worst part is that despite the price tag, this phone won’t compete with other premium offerings in the same price range,” Lumi pointed out. “It’s not the new, the limit pusher, really the latest generation whatever.”
The Saga features a 6.67-inch OLED display, 12GB of RAM, 512GB of storage, and the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 mobile platform. It will be designed and manufactured by OSOM.
“Go ahead and buy it,” Bons tweeted sarcastically. “But don’t expect it to make any difference.”
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A crypto-focused smartphone isn’t worth it.
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