Sirin Labs has been focused on developing a blockchain smartphone in an attempt to corner the market for cryptocurrency enthusiasts and investors. On January 15, 2019, the company has opened its first retail store in London. Sirin Labs, an Israeli startup, has been focused on the blockchain smartphone for some time now. In 2016, they launched the Solarin, a blockchain-focused smartphone which was clearly meant for affluent cryptocurrency traders and investors, as it cost $14,000.
The Solarin didn’t gain any real traction, however, and the company went back to the drawing board. They returned in March 2017 with the Finney smartphone, which raised over $150 million in a successful initial coin offering (ICO). The Finney began taking pre-orders late last year and was priced at a much more reasonable $999. The phone includes a range of features for cryptocurrency investors, such as a cold storage wallet, its own crypto-payment service, and runs on its native Sirin operating system, which can operate decentralized apps (dApps). It was named after Hal Finney, a computer scientist that was one of the earliest adopters of Bitcoin (BTC), who passed away in 2014. Sirin Labs completely revamped its London retail store to adjust for the Finney smartphone, which began shipping last week. The location was strategic, as the company hopes that the store becomes a gathering place for cryptocurrency enthusiasts in the area. The store is specifically located in the Mayfair district of London, and will also sell smartphone accessories and clothing.
The chairman of Sirin Labs, Kenes Rakishev, elaborated on why he believed London was the perfect location to open the store. He stated: “In 2018, London’s tech sector attracted significantly more investment than other European centers, raising more than £1.8 billion. It is the ideal first location for the Finney, the first mass-market blockchain phone in the world, to go on sale.” There is a second store that is set to open in Tokyo, Japan, although a specific date has not yet been revealed.
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Hong-Kong based Binance is experiencing a huge response for Bitcoin at its newly opened trading platform on the Island of Jersey.
CEO Changpeng Zhao has reported crazy demand for new registrations on the new exchange since its opening last week which is based in the self-governing UK dependency. The overwhelming amount of applications for KYC is thought to be a direct result of the current uncertainty on the UK mainland over Brexit.
With UK prime minister Teresa May’s crushing defeat of her deal with the EU for an orderly exit from the European Union, the country is now faced with numerous options, none of which can be agreed upon by politicians charged with the responsibility of delivering Brexit. Binance’s Chief Financial Officer Wei Zhou explained why the mad rush for Bitcoin in Jersey: “Expanding the cryptocurrency exchange markets with fiat currencies in the European region is opening new economic opportunities for Europeans as well as freedom from looming Brexit uncertainty where the pound and euro are also in concern.” Zhou goes on to explain that in his view, broader cryptocurrency adoption can be achieved by bridging the “crypto-fiat channel for Europe and the UK.” Binance has maintained for a while that Brexit could well impact on Jersey in terms of it becoming a driving force within Europe’s crypto market which has lagged behind Asia and North America.
Data provider CryptoCompare recently identified Europe’s sluggish performance compared to other markets, returning less than 4% of the global volume last year. Last week, UK Finance warned of the catastrophe that would occur within the country’s financial system if a no-deal Brexit was the final outcome on 29 March.