By: Bryan Tropeano

If a company can get in on the blockchain “craze,” then why wouldn’t they? At least, that’s what seems to be behind the thinking with HTC’s previous entry into the world of blockchain phones. Now, they’ve announced they’re releasing a new, cheaper phone aimed at crypto users – the Exodus 1S.

This new offering is the follow-up to the $700 Exodus 1 that was released last year as HTC’s first volley into the blockchain phone sphere. What is a blockchain phone, you ask? It’s simple – it’s a regular phone but with a catch. These phones allow you to run a full Bitcoin node. A node is, in essence, a computer and we need a number of them making crypto transactions and blocks in order to maintain the integrity of the entire network.

“We gave users the ability to own their own keys, and now we’ve gone one step further to allow users to run their own full Bitcoin node,” Phil Chen, HTC’s Decentralized Chief Officer, said in a press release. “We are providing the tools for access to universal basic finance; the tools to have a metaphorical Swiss bank in your pocket.”

While the Swiss bank metaphor certainly conjures up ideas of shady dealings and hiding money from the FBI, I imagine they’re simply embracing the spirit of Bitcoin.

The Exodus 1S, which fetches a cheap $244, is not intended for mining Bitcoin. Chen tells Forbes that the smartphone is able to hold and support the Bitcoin ledger in its entirety with the help of an inserted SD card.

The new blockchain phone also comes complete with its own built-in wallet for you to hold (or HODL if you’re into crypto slang) all of your coins.

Now, if the phone was only capable of helping you make crypto transactions it would seem very limited. This is, after all, still a phone and performs like one. Unfortunately, to bring the price tag way down, they’ve stripped it of any bells and whistles.

The Exodus 1S includes a Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 processor that runs on Android Oreo 8.1. It rocks a 5.7-inch HD+ screen with 4GB of RAM and only 64GB of storage, but with an SD card slot (over 400 GB), you should be just fine.

With HTC’s newest smartphone, Bitcoiners can now make transactions from anywhere and at any time.

Bryan TropeanoBryan Tropeano is a senior producer and a regular reporter for NewsWatch.  He lives in Washington D.C. and loves all things Tech.