Blockchain Startup Launches $80 Smartphone That Rewards Users With Crypto

Electroneum, a London-based blockchain startup, has released the M1, an $80 Android phone with built-in cryptocurrency mining capabilities. The company announced the news at the Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona on February 25.

Electroneum’s products and services are targeting the unbanked and are focused on driving cryptocurrency adoption for the purchase of everyday items such as food by using the company’s native coin, the ETN. Users can store, send, and receive digital coins via their smartphones, removing the need to have a bank account.

The company said its new M1 is a Google Mobile Services (GMS)-certified smartphone that comes with a cloud mining technology integration enabling users to earn crypto through an app. However, the M1 will only be able to mine only Electroneum’s native token ETN, with a claimed monthly return of “up to $3.” Once set up, mining can be carried out offline, the company said.

The ETN tokens earned through mining can be utilized to pay for all kinds of online services and will be tradable on several exchanges. According to data from CoinMarketCap, 1 ETN was worth around $0.0073 and had a market capitalization of around $65 million at press time.

Despite the affordable $80 price tag,the M1 phone packs a wide array of useful features. The M1 offers 4G, 8 GB–32 GB of storage and two SIM slots, and is powered by a Quad Core 1.3 GHz processor. The cameras, however, have been deemed “less than overwhelming,” as the rear-facing camera has 5, while the front-facing has only 2 megapixels.

“To start with we will be selling the M1 in South Africa, as this is our first launch market,” Nick Cook, head of operations at Electroneum, said. “The M1 will be sold through local vendors.”

As the company is targeting developing nations, the M1 might be priced as low as $60 at certain African countries.

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