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Why the Crypto Smartphone Space Race is an Early Battleground in the Race to Democratize Web3

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The sprawling cryptocurrency landscape has become a disruptive force in the smartphone market, and with skyrocketing pre-order statistics and emerging rivalries abound, Web3-ready handsets are set to become the latest battleground in a breakout year for crypto. 

Following the initial launch of Solana’s first crypto smartphone, the Saga, sales performance was initially poor amid widespread bearish market sentiment. Now, Solana’s second iteration, Chapter 2, launches amidst a market frenzy–as well as fresh competition. 

Designed to provide unprecedented access to decentralized technology such as cryptocurrencies and blockchain while also reaping the benefits of more advanced cybersecurity, crypto smartphones offer a brand new level of innovation in a smartphone industry that’s become saturated. Could we be witnessing the start of a brand new space race sparked by cryptocurrencies?

Crypto Smartphone Competition Intensifies

When the Solana Saga initially launched as one of the world’s first crypto smartphones in 2022, only 2,500 units were sold despite early projections of between 25,000 and 50,000 sales. 

Things have changed a lot since then, and the blockchain specialist’s hotly anticipated follow-up, Chapter 2, managed to take 30,000 pre-orders in just 30 hours

Crucially, the Chapter 2 is set to offer the clearest insight yet into the power of crypto-enabled smartphones while shining a light on the possibilities brought by the landscape. The smartphone will also offer the impressive levels of incentivization that its predecessor, the Saga became famous for. 

“For developers, Solana Mobile is creating a massive opportunity for crypto app teams looking to incentivize their users,” explained Raj Gokal, president and co-founder of Solana Labs. “It gives them a concentrated distribution channel to die-hard, dedicated users. It allows them to do this without any prohibitive app store fees.”

Chapter 2’s presales have since surpassed 100,000, helping to secure $45 million for development in the process. The significance of Solana entering the world of smartphones isn’t lost on the cryptocurrency landscape’s biggest players. The firm is known for its blockchain which reaches far into the world of decentralized finance (DeFi) applications and services. 

Solana also has the second-highest sales volumes for non-fungible tokens with over $4.7 billion, trailing only Ethereum’s market-leading $42 billion. However, the interconnectedness of a dedicated smartphone could help to bolster Solana’s market presence by breaking new ground in the smartphone industry.

However, the blockchain giant will face severe competition, and January 2024 also saw the launch of Aptos’ JamboPhone, a cryptocurrency-ready device packed with Web3 features intent on unlocking “the digital economy for users in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.”

Weighing in at $99, the JamboPhone is set to provide cryptocurrency services for developing regions, unlocking the potential of the technology in societies that may not have direct access to banking services. 

The credentials of the device also seem fair value for money, with specifications reportedly featuring an Android 13 framework, 4,900 mAh battery, a 6.5” LCD display, dual SIM feature, and even a dual lens camera. This makes the JamboPhone very similar in composition to the Nokia C32, which acts as a highly functional budget-friendly smartphone. 

With Bitcoin reaching a fresh all-time high value in early 2024 and the return of bullish sentiment in the cryptocurrency market, we’re likely to see more battles played out as leading manufacturers seek market dominance throughout different industry niches. 

Why are Crypto Smartphones Important?

The reason crypto smartphones are important is that they have the power to synchronize with decentralized features throughout cryptocurrency and blockchain landscapes. 

Handsets can offer advanced blockchain capabilities, unparalleled levels of security, and more advanced features linked to the operating system that they run. Crucially, crypto phones also make it easier for users to access cryptocurrency and blockchain platforms to perform tasks that could encounter more hurdles on traditional smartphone devices. 

One of the biggest innovations that crypto smartphones can offer is built-in blockchain integrations. This means that users can access their crypto, create transactions, and use decentralized applications (DApps) without having to share private information with third-parties. 

Blockchains are well-known for their significant encryption features and actively protect user data from potential cyber attacks. 

Crypto smartphones have become such a draw for consumers that even Apple, a company that has historically been cautious in adopting Web3 technologies, has recently moved to support NFTs on its app store–although the heavy 30% fee associated with the support offers a key indication that mainstream manufacturers are yet to bridge the gap to compete with their emerging rivals from the cryptocurrency landscape. 

The New Kids on the Bloc

The early signs of positive market sentiment towards blockchain-powered crypto smartphones in 2024 shows that it’s certainly possible to find sustainable levels of demand for this emerging technology. 

With a blend of Web3 functionality and crypto accessibility, the vibrant cryptocurrency bull market will only catapult the 2024 launches of Solana’s Chapter 2 and Aptos’ JamboPhone further into the fore. 

This could help to build a vibrant smartphone market beyond the saturated mainstream and provide the blueprint for a brand new era of advanced, resourceful, and secure devices as the Web3 age gathers momentum. The latest technological space race is underway, and it could ultimately democratize the next iteration of the World Wide Web.

Dmytro is a tech and crypto writer based in London. Founder of Solvid and Pridicto. His work has been published in IBM, TechRadar, Bitcoin.com, FXStreet, CoinCodex and CryptoSlate.