At a launch event Thursday in Barcelona, Sirin Labs unveiled Finney, the world's first blockchain-enabled smartphone that is readily available. The device was announced in 2017 but was made available for purchase Thursday, with a price tag of $999.

Several details about Finney were already known. It would run on Sirin's operating system — an infrastructure platform to secure mobile transactions and to enable blockchain functionality — which is based on Google's Android. The smartphone is also embedded with cold storage cryptocurrency wallet.

Sirin Labs said Thursday it would open two flagship stores — London in December and Tokyo in January. The company also announced it had signed a distribution agreement with Amazon Launchpad to make Finney available in Europe, starting January 2019. Potential customers in the United States would have to order the device online for now, since the company was initially focusing on Europe and Asia, a spokesperson told International Business Times.

Finney would be available for purchase using both cryptocurrency and fiat money, IBT learnt. Initially, only Sirin Labs' own cryptocurrency, called SIRIN (SRN), would be accepted for payments, but other virtual currencies would be included later. The cold storage wallet would also support only bitcoin, ethereum and SRN to start with, with support for other crypto tokens to be added in time. 

Additional design features were revealed Thursday too.

“The phone is framed with high gloss metal, mirror polished Aluminum, and has 3D Gorilla Glass on both the posterior and anterior of the device. These are accompanied by the metallic signature Shield Element surrounding the camera, sensors, and fingerprint scanner. The unique sliding design of the Safe Screen is Finney’s strongest feature, and operates as the gateway to the crypto world by activating the cold storage wallet,” according to the press release.

Finney Finney smartphone is framed with high gloss metal, mirror polished aluminum, and has 3D Gorilla Glass on both the posterior and anterior of the device. Photo: Sirin Labs

“We’re taking a huge step forward in bridging the gap between the blockchain economy and the consumer market. Finney is the mobile and truly secure experience crypto holders have been longing for," Moshe Hogeg, cofounder and CEO of Sirin Labs, said in the press release.

Kenes Rakishev, chairman of Sirin Labs, said with the increasing security concerns in the digital world, consumers needed products that gave them confidence that their data was kept safe, and that thinking gave rise to the idea of embedding a cold storage crypto wallet within the device.

"Cold storage solutions are impenetrable to hacks but are also totally impractical for modern living. Finney is unique and is the only phone with an embedded cold storage wallet. There is nothing else like it on the market," Rakishev said in the release.

The only competition Finney has in this space is HTC Exodus, announced by HTC Corporation on Oct. 23. The smartphone is available for ordering now, with a December 2018 shipping date. HTC Exodus is also based on blockchain and enables users to securely send and receive data of all kinds via a transmission protocol called FXTP. However, unlike Finney, HTC Exodus does not include an embedded cold storage wallet. Also, it can be purchased using only bitcoin or ethereum.

Finney The smartphone is accompanied by the metallic signature Shield Element surrounding the camera, sensors, and fingerprint scanner. Photo: Sirin Labs

Sirin’s operating system is designed to overcome the security challenges associated with the storage of cryptocurrency on mobile devices. The operating system would also enable the functionality of Finney to include the cold storage crypto wallet. The wallet would protect users’ private keys and securely generate transactions by providing a separate hardware distinct from the device hardware. The smartphone’s security features would also provide protection against online and offline on-device cyberthreats, and network attacks, and detect host-based attacks and other threats. 

Sirin Labs partnered with Foxconn to manufacture the smartphone. Since first announcing the device in September 2017, Sirin Labs — which is a startup — raised $157.8 million for manufacturing and distributing Finney.