Day two of the XBlockchain Summit 2018 started with an exhilarating reveal as the Pundi X team dropped a little surprise on all of us.. the XPhone.
“A smart phone, but so much more”
Pundi X’s Zac Cheah and Pitt Huang also gave the lucky audience a live demo of their product, making the world’s first blockchain phone call on the XPhone using the Function X software.
The reveal, aptly named Function X: Hello World, also saw a frenzy of attention by viewers of the livestream, and lively comments such as ‘how much is this??’ and ‘time to change phones!’ reflected the positive sentiment received by Function X and the XPhone.
What’s unique about it is its ability to toggle between 2 separate modes — traditional mode and blockchain mode.
Many blockchain projects have grand plans, but do not meet the current level of usability that its centralised counterparts offer. One key example would be exchanges — while decentralised exchanges have the advantage in terms of security and stability, centralised exchanges still have the highest volume due to its ease-of-use.
With that in mind, the XPhone set out to harness decentralised architecture in the form of Function X, and incorporates it into an everyday item that is popular throughout the world — a mobile phone.
The Pundi X team, ever-careful not to stray too far from conventional smartphone interfaces, incorporated both the traditional telco interface, as well as a blockchain mode, to bring users the best of both worlds.
Its ‘traditional mode’ feels no different than any other Android phone in the market. Using a regular SIM card, it is able to call, text, and run any applications from the PlayStore.
With a single swipe, the XPhone transitions seamlessly into Blockchain Mode; and this is where the magic happens.
In this mode, the XPhone does not transmit any information through any telco. Instead, each XPhone is a node in the network, with its own unique ID. XPhones are able send messages, emails, and even call other XPhones on the blockchain. The XPhone is able to upload files onto the blockchain, only accessible by those with the correct key.
Without having to go through a telco, all communication done on the blockchain is purely peer-to-peer. There are 3 main benefits of doing so.
1. There is no third party who can make use of the information. All communication that occurs on the blockchain remains private unless the permission is granted by the owner.
2. There is no third party who can disable your account. Applications such as Telegram may have encrypted the communication channels, but they retain the power to close any account without warning. With blockchain communication, ownership of your account belongs solely to you.
3. Files being stored on the blockchain enjoy the same kind of security that Bitcoin does.
These dApps can then be downloaded through the f(x) docker, the decentralised equivalent of the Apple Store and/or Play Store today.
Can I Buy An XPhone Yet?
The focus of the XPhone does not lie in the hardware, but in the software powering it. Pundi X will not be selling the XPhones. Once the developers have perfected the software, they will send the specifications required to various manufacturing companies who can then choose to produce their own hardware. By doing so, they are not limited to a single manufacturer, and can disseminate their product quickly without being hampered by logistical constraints, inviting the world into their ecosystem. As Pitt Huang has mentioned, ‘We look forward to having you to join the world of Function X.’
CG Founders & Pundi X Founders with the new XPhone
The XPhone runs on f(x) chain, a high performance and secure public blockchain. This is achieved by combining their software with hardware implementation.
The f(x) chain uses Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (pBFT), and has a new block created every 1–3 seconds: significantly faster than Bitcoin’s block creation rate.
Bitcoin currently has about 7,000 nodes verifying the network, while Ethereum has about 25,000 nodes around the globe. However, these require specialised mining equipment; regular consumer hardware is unable to provide the computing power needed to compete with large mining pools. This inherently means that the number of nodes these networks can achieve is limited.
On the other hand, not only are XPhones nodes in the network, each and every XPOS machine can also function as a node as well. By having a large network of nodes, the f(x) blockchain is poised to have high levels of security, privacy, as well as increased throughput (transactions per second). Pundi X aims to surpass the number of nodes that Ethereum and Bitcoin have within 1 to 2 years.
The unveiling of the XPhone is one of the most promising developments in the blockchain space. By creating a modified Android 9.0 OS, it paves the way for rapid mass adoption — which directly leads to a larger and more secure network.
The ability to switch between traditional and blockchain ensures that early adopters are not handicapped by the lack of dApps — they can simply swipe over to the traditional mode to enjoy the full benefits of a normal smartphone, switching over to the blockchain mode at will.
With its launch scheduled for the first half of 2019, it is definitely something to look forward to.
15 October 2018