Cryptocurrency has dominated the news cycle over the last few weeks, thanks in no small part to the congressional hearings about Facebook’s planned Libra stablecoin. As attention grabbing as those headlines are, however, they often miss the bigger picture when it comes to cryptocurrency-related topics. Big things are happening in the crypto world, particularly in bitcoin technology. In this post, we’re taking a look at three recent bitcoin tech stories you may have missed.
1. HTC’s new smartphone can run a full bitcoin node. Last week, Taiwanese consumer electronics firm HTC officially announced the Exodus 1s, their second-generation “blockchain phone.” As a smartphone it’s nothing special, featuring a standard Snapdragon 845 CPU and 4 GB of RAM. For cryptocurrency users, however, the Exodus 1s may just be the next must-have purchase of 2019. In addition to providing a physically isolated hardware wallet and built-in DApp support, the Exodus 1s can function as a standalone bitcoin node. Priced at just $244, the Exodus 1s is also surprisingly affordable. Unfortunately, HTC does not plan to release the phone in the U.S.
2. Opera adds crypto wallet in latest update. Users of the Opera web browser can now make direct bitcoin payments using app’s new built-in cryptocurrency wallet. While less popular than Chrome or Firefox, Opera has around 300 million users worldwide. In addition to allowing users to make bitcoin purchases directly from their smartphones, the update also includes support for the TRON crypto token and associated DApps. Opera has a well-established track record of innovation in the web browser space, often introducing usability and privacy features years before those ideas are incorporated into other browsers. Should Opera’s crypto wallet become a popular feature, other web browsers may soon adopt the idea.
3. Bitmain opens “world’s largest” cryptocurrency mining facility in Texas. China-based cryptocurrency mining hardware maker Bitmain formally announced the opening of a new mining facility located in the rural community of Rockdale, Texas. Housed in a former aluminum-smelting plant, the facility has the capacity to draw a staggering 300 megawatts of power for mining bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. At full power, this would easily make the Rockdale plant the highest-capacity crypto-mining facility in the world. The mining facility is currently using a fraction of that capacity — around 25 megawatts — but the company plans to ramp up mining activity as bitcoin’s price increases.