Smartphone maker HTC Corp. is joining with Midas Labs, a designer of programmable blockchain mining chips, to develop a native cryptocurrency mining app for its Exodus 1 phone for the privacy-focused Monero currency.
According to Midas Labs, DeMiner is comparable to mining apps that run on desktop computers but is energy-efficient enough to run on a mobile device without overheating the onboard chip. The software should allow for the effective mining of Monero cryptocurrency on a mobile device, while plugged in, for the first time.
Monero is an open-source cryptocurrency launched in April 2014 that focuses on privacy and decentralization. It uses a cryptographically obfuscated public ledger designed to faithfully record transactions in distributed tamperproof blockchain without permitting third parties to determine the source, amount or destination of currency exchanges.
According to Midas Labs, Exodus 1 users running DeMiner can mine $0.0038 of the cryptocurrency per day.
Although this will make users only a small amount of money, it will also increase the decentralization of the currency by adding many more potential miners to secure the protocol. Blockchain technology creates a tamperproof ledger by broadly distributing its transactions between multiple nodes and miners act to secure the network by providing proof-of-work for every cryptographic hash representing blocks of transactions added to the network. The more miners operating on a network, the stronger the security.
“Bitcoin and mobile phones are the most important and impactful technology inventions of recent times,” said Phil Chen, decentralized chief officer at HTC. “I am lucky enough to be involved on the frontlines of both these technologies. What drives our decisions around these technologies is our values; specifically, the question of how we can further decentralize and create a more inclusive monetary system.”
Chen added that the number of mobile phones globally is approaching 3.5 billion as of 2020. That is a great deal of computing power that could be used to further decentralize blockchain networks that currently goes untapped.
“At HTC, our position is to use the mobile phone to drive further decentralization. The mobile phone has become the primary computing device of the people and making it accessible to everyone empowers the people,” Chen said.
Monero’s market cap is somewhat small at only $918 million when compared to the extremely popular cryptocurrency bitcoin at $117 billion. However, bitcoin cannot be readily mined on mobile devices because it’s proof-of-work protocol is so intensive that it relies heavily on energy-hungry mining chips, which are commonly centralized in large facilities and data centers.
“Cryptocurrency mining should never be limited to centralized farms or giant miners. Mining on mobile or other personal devices perfectly meets the main spirit of blockchain, i.e., decentralization,” said Jri Lee, founder and chief executive of Midas Labs. “Mobile mining will meaningfully add to decentralization as it will increase the security of the network. If we’re helping to secure the networks, then all cryptocurrency users benefit from it.”
HTC developed and launched the Exodus 1 smartphone to become a mobile platform that would support blockchain technology through cryptocurrencies but distributed applications as well. The phone initially went on preorder in October 2018 for cryptocurrency but became available in February 2019.
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