Should You Store Your Crypto in a Finney Phone?

Finney blockchain phone (Courtesy of Sirin Labs)

The recently launched Finney smartphone enables users not only to make calls, send text and use apps but it also allows users to store digital currency in their smartphone device.

In this article, we introduce the Finney Phone and discuss whether you should use it as a cold storage device.

What is the Finney Phone?

The Finney Phone, named after bitcoin pioneer Hal Finney, and manufactured by Sirin Labs, is billed as the first smartphone with a built-in cold-storage cryptocurrency wallet. It is Sirin’s second smartphone, following the Solarin, which was released in 2016. The Finney is far less expensive than its predecessor though, with a cost of $1,000 versus the $13,000 price tag for the Solarin.

The development of the Finney phone was funded by the nearly $160 million raised in Sirin Labs’ December 2017 ICO. The Finney is manufactured by Foxconn and runs a security-hardened version of Android, called the Sirin OS, which supports the security of the hardware cryptocurrency wallet.

The Finney resembles any modern smartphone with a unique design, but there is nothing about it that indicates it’s a cryptocurrency wallet, which we feel makes it even more secure when compared with other hardware wallets. Unlike the Trezor or Ledger, it won’t be easily recognizable as a cryptocurrency storage device.

Because the Finney phone includes crypto-related features never-before-seen in a smartphone, it gives users a level of security never-before-found in a smartphone. There’s no more worrying about the safety of your funds in a mobile bitcoin wallet when you’re using the Finney.

Sirin Labs aimed to balance this security with simplicity for users. They may not have gotten it 100% figured out, but the Finney is certainly a few steps forward in the combination of security, simplicity, and ease-of-use.

The Finney Safe Screen

The standout feature of the Finney phone is its Safe Screen, which is a 2-inch PMOLED touch screen that slides up from the back of the phone. When the Safe Screen is hidden, the cryptocurrency wallet is disconnected from the internet and remains fully offline. Sliding the screen up activates the cryptocurrency wallet.

When the Safe Screen is up and the wallet is active it’s possible to send, receive, and convert cryptocurrencies in the wallet. There is support for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Sirin Labs’ own SRN token. Plans are in the works to add support for additional cryptocurrencies in the future.

One of the outstanding features of the wallet is the ability to convert between held coins, avoiding the need to go through an exchange. Making a conversion is as easy as choosing the currencies to convert from and to (the wallet shows exchange rates), determine the transaction fee, enter your password, and approve the transaction. With support for more cryptocurrencies, this will become a very popular and valuable feature.

DApps & Security Suite

Another blockchain-related feature included in the phone is the dCENTER. This is where the Finney presents users with a group of curated DApps. Many of them can also earn you cryptocurrency by using them.

The Learn & Earn apps pay you to watch videos about other cryptocurrencies and in some cases answer short, easy questions. Theoretically, you could recover the cost of the phone through these Learn & Earn DApps, but currently, there just aren’t enough of them.

The third major blockchain feature is the Cyber Security Center. Here, you’ll find secure email and communications via Proton Mail and TrustCall respectively, as well as app whitelisting, an app lock feature, and a powerful real-time machine learning-powered intrusion protection system.

To increase the security of the wallet even more, Sirin Labs designed and implemented their own dedicated:

  • Memory
  • Processor
  • Screen
  • Keyboard
  • Firmware
  • Software

In short, the Finney Phone is similar to having a hardware wallet like the Ledger attached to your phone, allowing you to safely store, send, receive, and convert cryptocurrencies.

Good idea to use as a Crypto Wallet?

Of course, the real question is whether the Finney is a good idea for a crypto wallet. If you have to buy a smartphone with a built-in cold storage wallet then the Finney might be good for you, although the HTC Exodus is a less expensive alternative.

If you’re only curious about cryptocurrencies and the ability to have cold storage right on your phone then maybe not. Consider too that currently the Finney only supports three cryptocurrencies. If you regularly spend bitcoin or ether when you’re out and about the Finney might serve, but there are certainly less expensive smartphones and other solutions.

If you have $1,000 to spend on a smartphone you have a huge array of choices besides the Finney. If you want that built-in cold-storage wallet the Finney is your device, but if you don’t need that functionality on your smartphone the money could be spent better elsewhere.

You could get an excellent smartphone for $900 or less and have plenty left over to buy a standalone cold storage wallet like the Ledger or Trezor. Not only would you get secure storage, but you’d also be able to store far more than three different cryptocurrencies.

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