The Sirin Finney is the perfect phone for crypto enthusiasts and those who care deeply about mobile security
While it’s true that we’ve no shortage of smartphones to choose from today, it also kind of feels like they don’t look or work too differently from one another.
The Finney phone is very different from other phones. The second handset by Sirin Labs (its first phone three years ago was a €15,000 phone made with black carbon leather and 18K gold, by the way), the Finney is touted as an ultra-secure mobile device to conduct cryptocurrency transactions on. For those not into crypto but care deeply about security, the phone is also hardened with many features to protect it from being compromised by hackers.
An ultra-secure crypto wallet
Let’s talk about the crypto part first. The main reason why cryptocurrencies haven’t achieved mainstream adoption, despite all the recent buzz around Bitcoin and Ethereum, is the difficulty in storing and transferring them. The lack of knowledge about what they can be used for is another.
For instance, did you know that you can pay for food at Kopitiam’s KOPItech food court in the new Funan Mall with cryptocurrency? If you’ve Bitcoin, Ethereum or Creatanium, paying for your chicken rice with the Finney phone isn’t that much different from the other mobile payment modes. The Finney supports major cryptocurrencies and tokens, and even includes its own token conversion service that lets you easily swap one cryptocurrency with another or buy new cryptocurrency right on the phone.
The key technology that enables Finney to perform secure crypto transactions is its built-in hardware crypto wallet. This is a “cold storage wallet”, which means it’s only activated when you slide out the 2-inch Safe Screen at the top of the phone. The fact that the wallet has a separate secure hardware element and disconnects from the internet when you close the Safe Screen means bad actors can’t steal your crypto assets even if they managed to hack into the phone.
An ultra-secure phone for communications
But Sirin isn’t taking things for granted and is using a multi-layered security approach to protect the phone, including using a machine learning-powered IPS (intrusion prevention system) to look out for threats in real time. Whether it’s someone trying to hack the phone over the internet or you accidentally clicking on a phishing link, this IPS will attempt to stop the danger and warn you. Sirin says it’s currently working on a mode that lets users disable the phone’s speaker and other sensors, and this will be a free update once it’s ready.
Finney’s third secret sauce is its Sirin OS. Put another way, while the underlying operating system is based on Android 8.1, it’s meshed with Sirin’s proprietary code to achieve that deep level of integration between hardware and software we’ve talked about earlier. Together with the aforementioned hardware cold storage wallet, secondary display and firewall, Sirin hopes that blockchain users will find the Finney more compelling than the HTC Exodus, which is another crypto phone that’s on the market (but not available here in Singapore).
Running an OS certified by Google has other advantages, too. For one, the Finney supports the Google Play store, so you can continue to use your favourite Android apps on the phone. The phone also comes pre-loaded with third-party secure communications apps, such as TrustCall for secure calls and text and ProtonMail for secure, end-to-end encrypted email. There’s also a separate dCenter (decentralised app store) where you can find games that let you earn tokens.
A phone for the security conscious
The Finney uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 processor and comes with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage (expandable with microSD). I’ve been using the phone for a month now and I’ve never experienced any slowdowns in performance despite all its security features. The 6-inch, 2,160 x 1,080-pixel display is also big and beautiful; and in the camera department, you get a 12MP, f1.8 rear camera and an 8MP, f2.2 wide-angle selfie camera. The phone’s 3,280mAh battery can be charged over USB-C and I found that it only takes 30 minutes to get from 0 to 50% charge.
To sum up, the Finney is a very unique phone. It may not be everybody but for the things it’s designed to do — such as secure crypto transactions and secure communications — it does them very well. For blockchain and cryptocurrency enthusiasts or those who care very much about online security, there’s arguably no better phone than the Finney.