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A tangible crypto product: Elastos TV box sells over 100,000 units

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A blockchain you can hold in your hand and plug into your TV.

It's not often you get to see tangible crypto-related products.

Meet the Elastos TV box. It sold over 100,000 units in its first month on the market and intends to conquer half of China's TV box market, according to Elastos senior IoT manager Yuxin Zhang.

Does television need to be on the blockchain? Not necessarily, but as the design shows, there might still be room for disruption. The above video shows someone in South Africa using their phone as a remote control to change channels on a TV set in Shanghai.

"Our goal at Elastos is to usher in a new era of internet — one that is fully decentralised, yet fit for commercial grade use. The success of the first round of sales of the Elastos TV Box, complete with the Elastos Carrier software which enables these devices to act as nodes on the Elastos network, is unprecedented," said Rong Chen, CEO and founder of Elastos.

The evolution of TV boxes might be one of the simpler examples of early IoT in action, first bringing TV online and then gradually tying more devices to it, with benefits like better ways of managing parental controls on the go from one's phone, the ability to watch something on one's phone and TV and pick up right where the other leaves off, and a heavier emphasis on data storage rather than streaming.

The addition of cryptocurrency right through the TV or phone might bring some new twists though. In hindsight, mobile phones and personal computers probably devastated TV shopping channels much quicker and harder than other types of programs, and they're unlikely to come back just because crypto arrives.

Overall, the Elastos box might mean much easier integration between the TV screen and other devices and just about anything else in the purview of the IoT dream. On the other side of the screen, you might be looking at the ability to much more easily track viewers for different shows at different times – a valid way for increasingly desperate TV companies to move deeper into the digital age and doubtless much more.

The addition of blockchain technology might be a necessity in the end, rather than an optional extra. The ability to identify unique devices and how they should or shouldn't be connected can probably make cybersecurity easier in an age of endlessly connected devices by more reliably preventing "imposters" from worming their way into different networks.

There are also all the privacy implications that come with the age of IoT, and blockchain systems might be the only viable way of really managing them. These systems can then be connected with self-sovereign identity systems to build out a real functional holistic Internet of Things.

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According to Shijiu CTO Yunlong Zhou, it's already bringing benefits in the form of cost reductions and the company plans to roll it out to all its systems in the future.

"By using the Elastos Carrier, we significantly reduced development and operation costs for this product," he said. "The Carrier feature will be fully deployed in all TV Box systems in the future."

There's also the unique blockchain idea of data scarcity, which is already being explored for a range of DRM applications, and will certainly come in handy on the Elastos TV box.

Some of the features already found here include "family and friend interaction" (whatever that means in the context of a TV set), a personal cloud disk and Interplanetary File System (IPFS) storage. Each feature is designed to mirror those of the Elastos ecosystem, turning the TV into a much more functional extension of a home network.

As for Elastos, the box itself is intended to serve as a node on the network to better secure it just like miners help secure bitcoin, except hopefully without all the noise, heat generation and energy consumption.

"We are well on our way to establishing a node count of 1 million by the end of 2018," Chen says.

The physical cryptocurrency world has so far been mostly limited to hardware wallets, followed shortly by phones, specifically the upcoming HTC Exodus and the Sirin Labs smartphones, and now there's a TV box.

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VET, XLM, BTC and ADA.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade. Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

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