Crypto Projects developing Hardware

Cryptocurrencies backed by physical products are a minority in the emerging market of digital assets. The majority of projects focuses solely on the software side, which is obviously a huge market for itself and doesn’t involve all the risks included in the production cycle of a physical product. However, physical products are needed in a variety of sectors and can offer great additions to the software solutions provided by different projects. Therefore, I took a closer look at different crypto projects developing their own physical products and will present them to you in this article.

Sirin Labs
The first and probably most widely known product in this list is the “Finney” smartphone developed by Sirin Labs. It is labeled as the first blockchain smartphone and therefore offers unique features. It has a built-in cold storage wallet, runs on its own operating system Sirin OS and offers a decentralized application center supported by a token conversion service.1 Following the footsteps of Sirin Labs’ first smartphone, the Solarin, the Finney phone also focuses on cyber security. Its 3-factor-authentification (Biometric, Lock Pattern, Behavioural) denies unauthorized access, the communication is encrypted and its Intrusion Prevention System helps to detect cyber attacks.2 Its other features include a 12 MPX main camera, an 8 MPX selfie camera, 128 GB storage memory, a 6 inch 18:9 notch design display and an additional 2 inch multi-touch safe screen for the cold storage wallet.3 In addition to the smartphone, which is only one part of the Finney device family, Sirin Labs will also launch an all-in-one PC.4

Manufacturing hardware is a key part of the Skycoin project. They have a department with 30-40 people working on Skycoin’s hardware projects right now.5 Their most prominent device is the Skyminer, which serves as an access point to their decentralized internet Skywire. It consists of 8 hardware nodes made up of 8 Orange Pi Prime PCB boards.6 Participants of the network Skywire connect to a Skyminer wireless, which is why Skycoin is also manufacturing antennas. The design of these antennas includes an engine at the bottom and the top, enabling them to move in every possible direction.7 The antennas will have a range of up to 5 km.8 Completing the list of network devices, they are developing a Skywire router, which will automatically direct all of a user’s network traffic using a VPN, once the router is plugged into the Skyminer.9 In addition to their network devices, Skycoin is also launching a multicoin hardware wallet, to make the storage of Skycoin and other supported cryptocurrencies as safe as possible.10

A fairly new company in the crypto space is Ecomi. Despite having stepped in the spotlight just recently, they already offer a fully functional hardware wallet. It has the same size than a credit card and acts as a true cold wallet, by never connecting to the internet directly. While interactions with the cold wallet are made via its companion app available for Apple and Android, the “Secure Wallet” requires you to physically confirm every outgoing transaction. The two confirmation steps involve a confirmation of the amount to be sent (shown on the Secure Wallet display) and pressing the confirmation button to finalize the transaction.11

What makes the Secure Wallet stand out from other hardware wallets, is its utility for digital collectibles. Given that Ecomi is mainly working on bringing digital collectibles to the blockchain, you can not only store digital collectibles on the Secure Wallet, but also see each of those collectibles in Augmented Reality by using Ecomi’s app in combination with your smartphone camera. You just need to point your camera to the backside of the Secure Wallet and it shows your selected digital collectible.

Solar Bankers
Moving on to the energy sector, Solar Bankers is a cryptocurrency company that offers a variety of physical products. Their flagship product is their solar panel DPV (Deflecting Photovoltaic). It is designed to endure high temperatures and is therefore 30% more efficient than standard solar modules. Core elements of DPV are the use of a holographic foil in combination with the use of a significantly lower amount of silicon than in regular solar modules, which makes its production costs 50% less expensive in comparison. Its maintenance costs are reduced as well, by using a self-cleaning surface, that reduces the amount of dust/sand on the module. Its durability is proven to be over 25 years.12,13

In addition to the DPV, Solar Bankers offers five other physical products. The first one is a concentrator called ‘Umbrella’, which offers a concentrating film that can be placed above standard solar modules to improve their efficiency.14 The second product in this list is an energy generating solar tile, which can be mounted on rotating cubes that follow the motion of the sun to generate as much electricity as possible.15 The third product is an energy generating solar window, which is covered by a fully transparent, nano-structured film, that redirects a part of the incoming light onto solar cells, which are integrated in the window’s frame.16 Product number four is a light recycling module, that recycles artificial light and converts it back into electricity by using a holographic film that redirects a part of the light onto mounted solar cells.17 The fifth and latest addition to this series of products is the Solar Bankers Node, that consists of a solar panel, a battery and a Raspberry Pi, enabling the project’s blockchain nodes to run on solar power only.18

Asia-based company Electrify is producing hardware as well with their own IoT smart device “PowerPod”. It supports Electrify’s platform Synergy, that enables individuals to trade energy peer-to-peer without the need of middlemen.19,20 The PowerPod offers different features.21 For energy providers, it can monitor and log the amount of electricity generated and write it onto a blockchain.22,23 For consumers, it can serve as a monitor to track how much energy was consumed.24 Additionally, PowerPod might include a functionality for consumers to participate in demand response programs, where they can reduce their power consumption in case the grid is undersupplied.25

Infographic about the Hardware Projects
As an overview of all the mentioned projects in this article, I created an infographic in a poster format:
I also made a downloadable version of the poster displayed in this article, which you are more than welcome to share or print! Download it here:

Crypto Hardware Projects – Ultra High Quality – Width: 4960 Pixel
Sources – Sirin Labs
“SirinOS – Built-in cold storage wallet – Decentralized Application center (dCENTER) – Learn & Earn Incentivized Education – Token Conversion Service”
Sirin Labs; Official Website; Finney – Features; 29.11.2018
“Cyber Protection – Behavioural based Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) – Blockchain based, full tampering proof – Physical security switch (for wallet protection) – Secured communications (VoIP, text, email) – Three-Factor authentication: Biometric, Lock Pattern, Behavioural”
Sirin Labs; Official Website; Finney – Features; 29.11.2018
“Finney – The First Blockchain Smartphone – 2” Multi-Touch Safe Screen – Built-in “Cold Storage” Crypto Wallet – 12 MPX Main Camera – 8 MPX Selfie Camera – 6″ 18:9 Notch Design Display – 128 GB Storage Memory – SD Memory Card Slot”
Sirin Labs; Official Website; Finney – The First Blockchain Smartphone; 29.11.2018
“From SIRIN LABS, creators of SOLARIN the world’s most ultra secure mobile phone, comes: The FINNEY Device Family. The first open source, secure smartphone and all-in-one-PC that run on a fee-less blockchain.”
Sirin Labs; YouTube; Introducing Finney – Secure Open Source Consumer Electronics for the Blockchain Era; 17.06.2018
Sources – Skycoin
“I would estimate, that there are 30-40 people working on Skycoin’s hardware projects right now.”
Hardware Cat;; Hardware Cat – Interviews with the Skycoin Team; 17.06.2018
“The first generation Skyminer hardware configuration consists of: 8 hardware nodes made up of 8 Orange Pi Prime PCB boards.”
Skycoin; Telegram; What is a Skycoin Skyminer; 19.03.2018
“The current design of the antenna includes an engine at the bottom and the top, which enables an antenna to move in every possible direction. This allows users to position antennas at several locations.”
Hardware Cat;; Hardware Cat – Interviews with the Skycoin Team; 17.06.2018
“its mostly less than 3 or 5 km for most links; 50 km and 500 mbit/second links are expensive; 150 mbit/second and soon 500 mbit /second over 1 to 3 km is doable; with 35 Db gain highly directional antennas; and can be done cheaply”
Synth; Telegram; Skycoin Main Channel; 01.02.2018
“Furthermore, we are developing a Skywire router, which will automatically direct all of a user’s network traffic using a VPN, once the router is plugged into the Skyminer.”
Hardware Cat;; Hardware Cat – Interviews with the Skycoin Team; 17.06.2018
“The Skycoin hardware wallet will support dozens of alternative coins as well as the ones on Fiber. This is on top of the convenience already provided by Skycoin mobile and desktop wallets.”
Skycoin; Business Whitepaper v1.0; Hardware Wallets; 02.04.2018
Sources – Ecomi
“Introducing the Secure Wallet. The smart, secure way to protect your Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. At the size of a credit card, it offers everyday convenience. The Secure Wallet is a true cold wallet. It never connects directly to the internet, keeping your assets safe from cyber criminals. Using the companion app available for Apple and Android, you can see all your balances at a glance, easily receive and securely send your cryptocurrencies. When sending cryptocurrency out the secure wallet, you must first confirm the amount you are sending, shown on the Secure Wallet display, then physically press the confirmation button to finalize the transaction. The Secure Wallet protects your cryptocurrency with top of the line security. In fact, the Secure Wallet is certified CC EAL5+, the highest security standard for government level deployments. The Secure Wallet protects your Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash, with more currencies continuously added. The Secure Wallet consists of an E-Paper Display for user feedback, a button for power and transaction confirmations, charging LED, charging terminals. Inside the Secure Wallet is a Bluetooth chip for wireless connectivity and the hardware secure element protecting your private keys.”
ECOMI; YouTube; ECOMI Secure Wallet; 24.07.2017
Sources – Solar Bankers
“This approach reduces the amount of silicon required in the production process by over 90 % and simultaneously raises the efficiency of the individual PV cell to unmatched levels. Using a holographic film, Solar Bankers’ module is currently able to focus light rays by a factor of 10. Existing technology will increase this figure up to an estimated factor of 30, while the amount of silicon will be reduced further, from 10 % to 5 % of that used in a conventional solar panel. Solar Bankers uses materials that provide a sunlight conversion rate of 28 %, placing it well above standard silicon cells (17 %) and the latest thin-film modules (8 %). In 2011, Solar Bankers was also granted a U.S. patent for a high-concentration refraction module with an integrated inverter. The low production costs and high-efficiency allow rates as low as 65 U.S. cents per Watt, a phenomenal price for solar power.”
Solar Bankers; Official Blog; Taking Solar Power to the next Level – Interview with pv magazine; 19.05.2013
“Solar Bankers’ Holographic Module, also referred to as Deflecting Photovoltaic (DPV), is a solar panel designed for high temperature environments that enables higher performance at a lower cost when compared with standard solar modules. … Solar Bankers’ module is up to 30% more efficient than standard panels at high temperatures; Solar Bankers’ DPV module uses only 25% of the silicon used in standard panels (silicon is the most expensive components in solar modules); Solar Bankers’ module is tested by the Fraunhofer Institute and has a proven durability of over 25 years; Solar Bankers’ module implements a highly hydrophobic film that renders its front surface self-cleaning and thus significantly reduces dust/sand deposition, which usually incurs high maintenance costs.”
Solar Bankers; Official Website; Devices; 15.08.2018
“Solar Bankers’ Concentrator is intended for use in combination with standard modules to improve their efficiency and achieve greater energy output. The Concentrating Film, referred to by the name ‘Umbrella’, applies the efficiency-maximising technology used in the Holographic Solar Module to existing installations.”
Solar Bankers; Official Website; Devices; 15.08.2018
“Solar Bankers Tile is a building component that generates electricity out of sunlight. Similar to our solar module, it consists of a 3-cm thick aluminum box that integrates Solar Bankers’ holographic film and silicon stripes. The tile is mounted on rotating tubes, which follow the apparent motion of the sun to generate electricity throughout the whole day. Solar Bankers tiles can be installed both in vertical and horizontal configurations.”
Solar Bankers; Official Website; Devices; 15.08.2018
“Solar Bankers’ Window is a fully transparent window that generates electricity out of sunlight. Solar Bankers’ nano-structured film covers the surface of the window, re-directing a part of the incoming light onto solar cells integrated in the window’s frame for electricity production.”
Solar Bankers; Official Website; Devices; 15.08.2018
“Solar Bankers’ Light Recycling Module recycles artificial light and converts it back into electricity, enabling savings of up to 15% on your electricity bill. The device uses Solar Bankers’ holographic film to redirect a part of the light emitted by fluorescent lamps back onto solar cell mounted under the light source to generate additional electricity.”
Solar Bankers; Official Website; The Solar Bankers Node; 15.08.2018
“The Solar Bankers Node consists of a solar panel with USB output, a power bank (battery) and a Raspberry Pi. The solar panel feeds energy into the battery, which powers the Raspberry Pi and guarantees 24 h operation.”
Solar Bankers; Official Blog; Solar Bankers Node – How it works; 15.08.2018
Sources – Electrify
“The P2P contract platform, Synergy, which will leverage smart contracts to enable trading and settlement between producer and consumer. Synergy will democratise utility-level trading tools, making it available to smaller producers, providing revenue certainty for producers and cost certainty for consumers, thereby substantiating increased bankability for distributed energy assets.”
Electrify.Asia; Official Website; Technical Whitepaper; 10.12.2017
“The ELECTRIFY platform will be enhanced with Synergy, a peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading platform through the use of smart contract functionality. Synergy aims to democratise the process and allow energy consumers and prosumers to trade power with one another directly. With greater accessibility to tools for trading, more prosumers will be incentivised to install small-scale solar PV or micro wind turbines with greater assurance of a fair return on investment (ROI). Given greater visibility over a better return on investment, project owners will also get better access to financing through traditional channels or P2P financing schemes, driving adoption for decentralised energy resources (DER).”
Electrify.Asia; Official Website; Technical Whitepaper; 10.12.2017
“Synergy will offer open-source SDKs allowing any distributed energy producer to offer their surplus energy to any consumer. The community can access these options on Marketplace 2.0. … Renewable energy assets can either be embedded within a building (e.g. household solar with partial self-consumption) or a standalone asset (micro wind turbine system that is directly connected to the grid, without a direct load). Both ways, the producer can use ELECTRIFY’s PowerPod that logs power production, allowing the owner to trade it with a consumer on the blockchain. All producers will be required to place a deposit in ELEC tokens throughout the duration of the contract to incentivise honest activity on the network. The amount of ELEC tokens will be proportional to the size of the energy system, typically represented in units of Kilo-watt Peak (kWp).”
Electrify.Asia; Official Website; Technical Whitepaper; 10.12.2017
“ELECTRIFY has developed a prototype of the PowerPod, an IoT communication device that will read smart meters to log the amount of electricity generated or consumed on the blockchain. This will be used by energy producers to track their energy generation. The distributed ledger will form an immutable record that will substantiate the record of RECs generated and consumed.”
Electrify.Asia; Official Website; Technical Whitepaper; 10.12.2017
“As security and authenticity is crucial in ELECTRIFY’s ecosystem, we will create incentives for all energy producers in the community to uphold integrity and honesty. This also discourages fraud or tampering of hardware. There will be permissioned access, requiring each small energy producer and retailer to place a deposit in the ELEC token to register his/her system with the network. Depositing the required amount of ELEC tokens will allow the producer to write generation data onto the blockchain via the PowerPod.”
Electrify.Asia; Official Website; Technical Whitepaper; 10.12.2017
“PowerPod allows smart metering and monitoring of distributed generation. With a transparent and trust-less method of monitoring, energy asset owners are able to closely monitor their energy production and trade directly with consumers. For consumers, the PowerPod will be an optional device that they can purchase to monitor their energy usage in real time. With real time energy data, consumers will also be able to tell when they use the most amount of power and adjust their usage patterns accordingly.”
Electrify.Asia; Official Website; Technical Whitepaper; 10.12.2017
“In addition, the PowerPod might include functionality to allow consumers to participate in demand response (DR) programmes. DR allows consumers to reduce their power consumption when the grid is undersupplied in order to reduce overall system demand. This is most applicable in cities with lower power reliability. This allows participants to receive revenues from the energy market operator by reducing their loads. DR requires close monitoring and tracking of energy consumption and their adjustable energy amounts. Upon activation of a DR event, consumers require a means of reporting their participation details to the regulatory body and market operator that is auditable and immutable, with a strict requirement for data security and recording. This is where a distributed ledger can be used in ensuring that all DR activities are legitimate and transparent between the participant and the energy market operators.”
Electrify.Asia; Official Website; Technical Whitepaper; 10.12.2017