On Saturday (May 11), Phil Chen, Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC’s “Decentralized Chief Officer”, while speaking on day one of the two-day Magical Crypto Conference in New York City, said that his company’s next blockchain phone, the Exodus 1s, would be capable of running a full Bitcoin node, which sounds great. However, you don’t need to wait for HTC to release this phone to benefit from this feature; in fact, there is already an app for that, which means that you should be able to run a full Bitcoin node on most existing Android devices.
According to the Bitoin Core team, a full node is defined as follows:
“A full node is a program that fully validates transactions and blocks. Almost all full nodes also help the network by accepting transactions and blocks from other full nodes, validating those transactions and blocks, and then relaying them to further full nodes.”
HTC EXODUS 1s
- Just like its predecessor, it will support “Zion Vault”, TC’s crypto wallet app.
- It will sell for $250-$300.
- HTC is hoping to release it by the end of Q3 2019.
- Initially, the phone will only support the Bitcoin blockchain, but support for other public blockchains, such as Ethereum, may be added in the future.
Chen told Engadget:
“There is a shortage of full nodes in the network. By taking a more long-term, ecosystem perspective as a device manufacturer we believe we can help grow this network for application developers which in turn would benefit everyone using Bitcoin. There's a sense of being my brother's keeper here for running a full node. “
Currently, the full Bitcoin blockchain takes up over 200GB of storage space. HTC says you can run a “pruned version” on the phone, but to run a full node, you will need to get a very high capacity microSD card. By the way, this feature is also being added to the EXODUS 1. In both cases, you will need a decent Wi-Fi connection.
Bitcoin Core for Android
HTC’s upcoming EXODUS 1s blockchain phone sounds interesting and the price seems quite reasonable, but what if you don’t wait till the end of Q3 or possibly Q4 to run a full Bitcoin node on a phone that you can carry anywhere with you? Or what if you have already have a relatively recent Android phone or tablet?
When reporting on this phone over the past weekend what most news outlets neglected to mention is that there is already an open source project, albeit in the alpha stage, that provides an Android app (available from the Google Play store) called “ABCore” that is designed to “make it easier to run a Bitcoin Core node on always on Android appliances such as set top boxes or repurposed tables/phones.”
ABCore, which can be described as an Android wrapper for Bitcoin Core, is a hobby project of Lawrence Nahum (@LarryBitcoin on Twitter), Chief Architect at Blockstream; for those who are interested, its source code can be found on GitHub.
Nahum says that these are the some of the reasons for choosing ABCore instead of running Bitcoin Core on Linux, Windows, or MacOS:
- “No need to keep active your PC/Server 24/7”
- “Low power consumption”
- “You can install it on home devices that are already active 24/7”
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