Huawei, one of China's leading mobile phone sellers, will allow some of its users to download a bitcoin wallet beginning on May 11.
Through the company's own mobile application store, known as AppGallery, Huawei customers will be able to access BTC.com's bitcoin wallet, which they can use to send, receive, and store the cryptocurrency. AppGallery will be immediately available on new phones and will be deployed to older models in the coming months.
BTC.com is run by Bitmain, one of the world's top manufacturers of hardware that is designed specifically for cryptocurrency mining. The organization behind the site also runs the largest bitcoin mining pool by hashrate, which, at press time, had mined nearly twice as many blocks as any other pool over the past 24 hours.
The news appears to represent a reversal of sorts because, in the past, the Chinese government has blocked access to cryptocurrency-related apps in other mobile app stores.
In the wake of an apparent ban on cryptocurrency exchanges, trading platforms that had been operating in the country either shut down or moved their operations offshore by the end of October 2017. The Chinese government followed up this year by blocking exchanges' channels on the popular messaging app WeChat. However, Chinese citizens are still permitted to own digital assets.
This latest development does not represent Huawei's first foray into the blockchain space, nor, arguably, its most significant. Last month, the firm unveiled a Blockchain-as-a-Service platform. In March, details emerged about a set of open-source software solutions that the company is pursuing, which, it asserts, will allow people to measure the performance of various blockchain platforms and evaluate certain differences between them. That same month, reports stated that the firm was looking into building a phone that would be tailor-made for running blockchain-based apps.
US officials have speculated that Huawei's hardware could be built to facilitate spying by Chinese government agencies. Other countries have sought to keep its products out of their borders as well, including Algeria, which more recently appears to be working with the company again.