Taiwanese mobile giant HTC has announced that it intends to focus on developing blockchain smartphones, according to local news reports

As part of a major strategy change, the company will make further cuts to its team for the second year running but will continue to focus on developing new products.

Currently, the firm employs 3,000 people, although it’s expected to layoff staff across a number of departments. At this point, the firm hasn’t revealed which areas of the business will be affected by job cuts.

Despite planning to downsize its team, HTC plans to continue investing in research and development activities. In particular, the company wants to focus on its virtual reality system Vive and smartphones. 

Going forward, the company will place a bigger emphasis on products like the VR headset Vive Cosmos and Exodus blockchain-powered smartphones.

HTC’s chief decentralized officer, Phil Chen, recently told Decrypt the creation of a blockchain smartphone where users own their private keys was a “paradigm shift.”

He said, “This really is a smartphone plus hardware wallet, which I think by definition makes it an entirely new category, whether you call it a crypto phone or a blockchain phone.”

HTC has to pivot

Once upon a time, HTC was one of the world’s most profitable smartphone manufacturers. However, in recent times, it’s struggled to compete with the likes of Apple, Samsung and Google, all of which have a bigger market share.

Because of this, the firm has continued to slash jobs. In 2015, it laid off 2,250 jobs, while laying off a further 1,500 people last year. Right now, it’s not known how many more jobs will be lost. But it’s likely that this trend will continue in the near future. 

Although further job cuts will worry some, HTC obviously has a vision for its future - and blockchain smartphones form an important part of that. With more consumers becoming conscious about issues such as security and data privacy, it seems inevitable that crypto smartphones will rise in popularity. Having developed the  Exodus 1 and the newly-released Exodus 1s, it seems like HTC could lead this market. But will the pivot work?