This NFT phone sounds as ridiculous as its price tag

Promotional image for the Vertu Metavertu phone
(Image credit: Vertu)

Fancy a phone you can use to mint NFTs while taking snaps on your yacht in the Marini di Capri? Here it is. While many are struggling amid rising prices, it seems there's still a market for ludicrously priced devices, and Vertu is betting on what it describes as the first-ever 'Web3 phone'.

The Metavertu can run its own blockchain node, allowing users to turn photos and videos into NFTs. It can also be used as a 'validator' on the Ethereum blockchain. But with a ceramic frame and sapphire glass screen, even the starting price makes iPhone 14 prices look like peanuts.

Promotional image for the Vertu Metavertu phone

The entry-level Metavertu (left) and the top-of-the-line model (right) (Image credit: Vertu)

Unveiled at an event in London amid a lot of black outfits and sunglasses, the Metavertu packs a Qualcomm SnapDragon 8 Gen 1 CPU, a 6.67-inch 2400×1080 AMOLED display and a three-lens camera array. The top-specced model boasts 18GB RAM and 1TB storage and comes encased in 'Himalaya Alligator leather', 18K gold and diamonds. The price tag? A mere $41,500 / £35,660.

There are several calfskin leather and alligator skin finishes and a 'basic' carbon fibre entry-level model with 12GB RAM and 512GB internal storage. Thats' available for preorder for a modest $3,600 / £3,093 (and we thought the rumoured iPhone 15 Ultra sounded like it would be expensive). Users get 10 terabytes of distributed storage on IPFS and access to Vertu’s 'red button' 24/7 concierge service, which now includes a 'special NFT investment team' to help users understand NFTs and to recommend collections to buy.

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Who will pay $41,500 for a phone? Presumably, the same people who buy Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Metavertu is described as a 'Web3 phone' that can run its own blockchain node and turn photos and videos into NFTs in a single click. Vertu CEO Gary Chan said the aim was to "reinvent the smartphone to de-complicate Web3.”

The phone can switch between a standard Web2 Android operating system and a Web3 mode, which has an Android-like interface designed to feel familiar to users. That allows users to easily create a wallet with private keys protected by the phone’s trusted execution environment (TEE) and to access decentralized applications (apps). These include VOS, which allows the phone to be used as a “validator, light node and light client” on the Ethereum blockchain, and Vshot, which allows users to mint an NFT from a photo or video. There's also an encrypted peer-to-peer messaging app called Vtalk.

Promotional image for the Vertu Metavertu phone

People looking cool with various configurations of the Metavertu phone (Image credit: Vertu)

The Metavertu is a big bet for a company that went bankrupt in 2017 and has changed hands several times. The company previously went for luxurious trimmings but middling specs, but the upcoming release shows it's now focusing on eyebrow-raising tech as well as look. 

An ad on the company's Twitter account (opens in new tab) seems to be a challenge to Apple in a metaverse-themed parody of the tech giant's famous 1984 Apple Macintosh Commercial (we think it's a parody, it's hard to tell), declaring that 2022 is not the new 1984. Although we're not very convinced the Vertu will dethrone Apple with these prices.

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The Metavertu is on sale on the Vertu website (opens in new tab) for delivery from 3 November. It will also be available at stores, including a new store on Bond Street in London, which is due to open later in the year. If you're not convinced, see the best current iPhone 14 prices below, and see our pick of the best iPhone 14 cases.

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Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes news and features, updates buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment for creatives, from monitors to accessories and office supplies. A writer and translator, he also works as a project manager at London and Buenos Aires-based design and branding agency Hermana Creatives, where he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors who specialise in producing photography, video content, graphic design and collaterals for the hospitality sector. He enjoys photography, particularly nature photography, wellness and he dances Argentine tango.