The word “unicorn” conjures many images, but one them is probably not of a cellphone. However, that’s what a Chinese cellphone manufacturer, Sichuan Changhong Electric Co. Ltd., is calling the phone they released about 10 days ago. The phone is one of a small handful of cellphones that are purportedly based on blockchain technology, although there is still no clear description of what that truly means.
Chinese language news outlet The Paper quoted the company saying the Sichuan Changhong phone allows its user to mine legacy Bitcoin (BTC) and record information, like fingerprints and location, directly on the blockchain. An industry insider, however, said the phone doesn’t actually mine BTC as it claims. It mines the phone company’s digital currency, which can be exchanged for rewards. Other skeptics think that the use of the term blockchain is nothing more than an attempt to capitalize on the blockchain craze. Maybe “unicorn” wasn’t too far off, after all.
Lenovo is also jumping on the bandwagon with the launch of the Lenovo S5. The phone hit markets about seven days ago, and, according to Lenovo, offers a blockchain-based payment space called Z-space that is designed to provide for more secure transactions. It’s still too early to determine whether or not the phone is more secure than others.
Companies have a propensity to latch on to the word of the day. The Long Island Iced Tea did it last year, changing its name to Long Blockchain Corp. When it did, the company’s stock doubled. Eastman Kodak also tried to capitalize on the fever this past January when it announced that it would be launching its own cryptocurrency. After making the announcement, the once-great camera company saw its stock increase by 60%.
Where does this leave the consumer? Homework, homework, homework. Check out the claims any company makes, whether it has been around for 100 years or 100 days. Don’t fall for the hype, either. With as fast as a company makes a claim today, it’s easy to find supporting or detracting information. Above all, wherever possible, use a little common sense. If it sounds like a questionable deal, it more than likely is.
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