Ethereum Mobile Client ‘Status’ Hopes to Bring the Blockchain to Smartphones. Here’s Why It’s A Great Idea

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The Ethereum platform has really been playing host to some interesting ideas. Let’s start with CryptoKitties. They have thousands of users in a frenzy as people buy, trade, and sell digital cartoon cats. Skyrocketing demand for the little felines even slowed down the entire Ethereum network by 11% last week.

But there’s another program built on Ethereum technology (that might not be as fun as CryptoKitties), which still represents a major development towards the future. This one is called Status.

Status is both an open-source messaging app and mobile browser. It also lets users interact with decentralized applications which operate on the Ethereum network.

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The Status team hopes these features, coupled with built-in chat and wallet functionalities, result in a product where the benefits of the blockchain can be placed in the hands of “everyday smartphone users.”

Photo: CoinDesk

The company said in a blog post to simply “think of Status as a mobile OS, built for Ethereum.” They hope for an internet where users “ truly own their own data… preserve the human right to privacy… [and] where we can freely transact without middlemen, and ultimately take back control of our digital identities.”

And it seems many across the world agree with their sentiments. Status raised at least US$ 100 million through its ICO, with one person contributing the princely sum of $8.5 million worth of Ether. In fact, all the buzz and excitement with the ICO congested the Ethereum network so much that many transactions ultimately froze and failed.  

Still, those interested in Status are no doubt impressed by the fact it’s going to be Ethereum’s first implementation onto iOS and Android.

One of the reasons Status opted for Ethereum is due to its ‘status’ as a social technology. As such, Status’ messaging platform is arguably the biggest and most innovative part of the entire package. Built on top of Whisper, it gives users the ability to chat one-on-one, in groups, and even carry out social payments in conjunction with the built-in Ether wallet.

Photo: Status Medium Page

Those who make a profile can exchange ideas and goods, plus search for other Status users and decentralized apps through a hashtag-based search coined as ‘Discover.’ Status has a focus on messaging and chats to take advantage of the ever-expanding mobile experiences desired by billions across the globe.

The team announced a $1-million-dollar bug bounty at Ethereum’s annual developer conference in November to encourage people to find bugs within the system and submit possible solutions to problems.

Also during the November conference, Status said they were working on the development of a hardware wallet that supports ERC-20 tokens. It’s primed to send and receive Ether by relying on near-field communications and Bluetooth transferring abilities.

Right now, Status is still in development and is currently taking emails from those interested in getting early access. But they’ve already made a remarkable impact across the cryptocurrency & blockchain community. Sirin Labs announced in early December that their secure open-source smartphone known as Finney would come equipped with Status.

Users of the Finney smartphone, heralded as the most secure in the world, now have a powerful tool since it’s now essentially fully decentralized with the addition of the Status messaging and browser platforms. Those who purchase the phone will also be able to use Status to get access to the wide world of decentralized apps.

(Finney Smartphone) Photo: Steemkr

About the same time, Status also joined the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance. This is the largest open-source blockchain initiative across the globe. The company hopes to team up with others in the Alliance to promote greater interaction with Ethereum.

Overall, Status looks like a promising project. Decentralized apps are a novel idea and are only going to grow in number. More importantly, Status represents a great leap forward. It’s a big cog in the push to bring the positive aspects of the Ethereum ecosystem, and of crypto-technology in general, to a larger population of people.