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Himalaya alligator leather, gold and diamonds: new crypto phone debuts costing BRL 218,000



At an event in London earlier this week, smartphone maker Vertu unveiled its latest device, Metavertu—a “Web3 phone” that can run its own blockchain node and turn photos and videos into NFTs with a single click.

The device itself is intended for a very specific portion of high-end users. All models sport a ceramic bezel and Vertu’s sapphire glass display, powered by a Qualcomm SnapDragon 8 Gen 1 CPU. a 4,600 mAh battery rounds out the spec list.

The base model comes with a carbon fiber finish, 12GB of RAM and 512GB of internal storage and is priced at $3,600. The top-of-the-line model, meanwhile, has 18GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, and is wrapped in “Himalayan Alligator Leather”, 18K gold and diamonds. The price? Impressive US$ 41 thousand (R$ 218 thousand at the current price).The entry-level (left) and high-end (right) Metavertu phones (Image: Vertu)

Vertu’s new luxury audience

Anyway, if you pay 1 million dollars in a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT, that is already extremely restricted to a specific portion of the population.

That’s presumably what Vertu is betting on. The manufacturer previously sold mid-range specs and outrageously expensive finishes to luxury consumers (in 2017, it went bankrupt and went through a succession of owners before relaunching in 2018).

Nowadays, the upper class is moving into the exciting world of Web3, NFTs and the metaverse, with the emergence of a “nouveau riche” crypto, for whom the CryptoPunks and Azuki NFTs collections are the new Burberry and Louis Vuitton.

But the problem with Web3, Vertu CEO Gary Chan said at the phone’s launch event in London, is that its complexity is a bucket of cold water for attracting new users. “We want to reinvent the smartphone to simplify Web3,” he said.

Gary Chan, CEO of Vertu. (Image: Stephen Graves/Decrypt)

Web3 with one click

With that in mind, Metavertu can switch from Web2 mode — the default Android operating system seen on most smartphones — to a Web3 mode. Users can create a crypto wallet in a few clicks, with private keys protected by the phone’s trusted execution environment (TEE), and access a suite of decentralized applications (dApps) through a user-friendly Android-style interface.

A Metavertu cell phone. (Image: Vertu)

These dApps include VOS, which allows the phone to be used as a “validator,” a lightweight node, and a simple client on the Ethereum blockchain, according to a Vertu spokesperson. Another dApp, Vshot, allows the user to create an NFT of a photo or video with just one click.

The phone also includes Vtalk, an encrypted peer-to-peer instant messaging app that “integrates features of decentralized social networks,” including DAOs, according to Chan.

On top of that, users have access to 10 terabytes of distributed IPFS storage, as well as access to Vertu’s 24/7 “red button” concierge service. Even this service has been updated to reflect the Web3 world.

“We have a special NFT investment team to help our users better understand NFTs quickly,” said Chan. This includes guiding newcomers through the process of collecting non-fungible tokens and advising them on what future collections are worthwhile.

Metavertu will be on sale from 3 November through Vertu’s website as well as its physical stores, including a new Bond Street location in London which will open later in the year.

*Translated by Gustavo Martins with permission from decrypt.

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