Superstar Lionel Messi backs blockchain smartphone

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The Barcelona striker, Lionel Messi, is going to be brand ambassador for Sirin Labs product launch of what it says is the world’s first blockchain smartphone, called the Finney phone.

Sirin Labs is an Israeli startup and has managed to land a deal with Messi, arguably one of the most famous footballers in the world. Messi, according to reports, see “the power” that blockchain technology can potentially bring to the smartphone sector.

The phone is named after Hal Finney, a cryptocurrency pioneer and will have a price tag of $1,000. This is modest by comparison with the Solarin smartphone launched in 2016, which cost an eye-watering $16,000. And, it isn’t much more expensive than the latest iPhone from Apple.

Back in July, Sirin Labs’ chief marketing officer Nimrod May told British newspaper, The Independent that the company is very enthusiastic about blockchain, saying: “We want this phone to make all the benefits of blockchain technology available to as big an audience as possible, while making cryptocurrency accessible to the mainstream.”

The phone will have a built-in cryptocurrency wallet that can be viewed on a hidden screen. This screen slides out from behind the main display. It is unique both in terms of its software and hardware, having done away with the slab design used by most contemporary smartphone manufacturers. Sirin Labs also describes the Finney phone as an “ultra-secure blockchain smartphone” that capitalises on the team’s knowledge of cyber security and crypotcurrency.

A successful ICO

To help fund the Finney’s development, Sirin Labs looked to the blockchain economy and launched an initial coin offering (ICO) and with over $157 million raised, Sirin Labs’ ICO was the fourth largest in history.

The Finney phone specs are on a par with Samsung

Looking at the technology, the Finney smartphone is able to compete with the best already available. It features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor — the same that Samsung uses in its flagship Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus smartphones — and a 6-inch display that features the same notch design as the iPhone X.

It’s the blockchain operating system that is most important

But it’s not the hardware that the executives at Sirin Labs are most excited about. The Sirin OS (operating system) that makes it the “world’s first blockchain smartphone.” Sirin Labs also claims to be “in the midst of conversations with many of the top OEM phone developers regarding having them use the Sirin OS in upcoming blockchain-enabled smartphones.”

However, it could be the power of Lionel Messi that will ultimately make this phone successful.

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