While some blockchain projects have received support and coverage from the general public, many others are still largely unheard of. One such instance of a little-known blockchain project is Helium, which aims to revolutionize the way we use wireless internet and cellular data.
Often referred to as “the people’s network,” Helium has the potential to unite blockchain technology, wireless infrastructure, and the Internet of Things (IoT) into one comprehensive project. At the same time, many crypto investors have managed to make passive income from mining Helium.
What you should know about the helium blockchain, how it’s transforming the wireless coverage landscape, and how to use it are all explained here.
What is the Helium Network?
The Helium Network is a blockchain-based cryptocurrency that aims to build a decentralized wireless network that is not dependent on cellular tower or satellite infrastructure. With Helium, anyone can own and manage a wireless Internet of Things network using a special, portable radio router called a hotspot.
What is a Helium Hotspot?
To receive mining rewards, miners purchase a Helium hotspot, which is a plug-and-play wireless device resembling a router. Users use hotspot devices, which serve as nodes, to encourage them to contribute to the construction of this decentralized wireless network. Then, while also earning HNT tokens, these connect to nearby IoT devices.
According to Helium, its hotspot can provide connectivity 200 times farther than conventional WiFi. That’s as a result of LongFi, a new wireless innovation from Helium. The existing LoRaWAN wireless protocol and Helium’s own blockchain are combined in LongFi by Helium.
The limitations imposed by a centralized cellular provider, such as data caps and overage fees, are not present with Helium, in contrast to conventional WiFi routers. Other purchases, such as SIM cards, are not necessary when using Helium hotspots. Additionally, they come pre-encrypted in full.
Users can purchase hotspots from independent producers Helium has endorsed. RAK, Nebra HNT, and Bobcat Helium Miners are a few well-known producers. Helium Hotspots typically cost around $400 USD.
Unlike other blockchain projects, Helium uses a different consensus mechanism called Proof-of-Coverage (PoC). In a PoC system, an algorithm periodically checks and rewards users who can demonstrate that they have been offering reliable coverage.
Sometimes tests are conducted on hotspots as part of a PoC consensus system to verify that they are indeed providing coverage. These tests are random and done automatically. A hotspot operator receives a specific number of HNT tokens for passing this test.
Participants in the PoC challenge mechanism within this system can be categorized as challengers, transmitters, or witnesses.
- A hotspot that challenges another hotspot is known as a challenger.
- The transmittee, or the challengee, is the target of the challenge.
- Hotspots that are geographically close to the transmittee are known as witnesses. Once the target has finished a PoC challenge, they transmit and confirm it.
What is Helium’s HNT Token?
The native cryptocurrency in the Helium ecosystem is the HNT token. Depending on how much data they process and how many other hotspots are close to a user’s location, hotspots that contribute coverage are rewarded with tokens.
The total number of HNT tokens that will ever be produced is 223 million. HNT and other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin share this in terms of their tokenomic structures. The 223 million tokens will all be produced within 50 years, according to the HNT halving schedule.
HNT tokens are used to reward hardware that transmits data to the internet, accounting for about 30% of the total supply. Another 35% of HNT tokens are rewarded for participating in PoC challenges. The management, founders, and investors of Helium receive the remaining 35% as a return.
Helium Data Credits
Data credits are yet another non-tradable cryptocurrency type employed by Helium. Data credits are always worth US$0.00001, or US$1 of HNT will produce $100,000 in data credits. On the Helium network, data credits are required to transfer a single byte of data. They’re non-exchangeable and tied to each user.
How Does Helium Mining Work?
Helium mining uses radio wave technology instead of typical cryptocurrency mining, which employs powerful hardware such as ASICS or GPUs. In comparison to conventional crypto mining techniques, it uses a great deal less energy.
Passing Proof of Concept challenges and receiving token rewards are prerequisites for mining Helium tokens. Additionally, the precise formula for how many tokens a user can earn depends on the volume of traffic at their hotspot and the number of other hotspots in their neighborhood. They will typically make less money the more competitive their industry is. Although there might be fewer hotspots to compete with, there will be much less traffic in a rural area.
The token rewards also change according to the hotspot’s function during the PoC challenge procedure. Around 0.95% of all mining rewards produced over a period of time are given to rewarding challengers, 5.31% are given to transmitters, and 21.24% are given to hotspot witnesses.
How Can You Become a Helium Miner?
As long as they are willing to invest the initial sum in buying a Helium hotspot from a third-party vendor, anyone can start mining helium. The performance variations between the various hotspot miners are comparatively small. Instead, success as a Helium miner has to do more with a user’s location and competition.
Its capacity to transfer data is also influenced by other elements, such as where they position their antenna and whether they put their hotspot close to a window. A hotspot’s typical range is 10 miles.
In theory, the fact that the Helium network itself is becoming more and more well-liked as a means of data transmission should more than offset the fact that Helium mining becomes less and less profitable as more hotspots are established.
Helium is a project that is still young enough for people to still make a respectable side income from setting up a Hubspot, unlike mining Bitcoin, which has become much less profitable for the average user. In addition, Helium provides a tool called Helium Explorer that enables users to view the network coverage in specific areas.
Best Helium Miners
Prior to this time, Helium, Inc. built every miner for helium. but can now be bought from other trusted manufacturers. A complete list is available here. Some of the top Helium Hotspot miners are listed below.
The Bobber 500 is a strong and dependable Helium Hotspot miner that provides excellent value for the money. With a maximum range of 500m, it is perfect for wide coverage areas. The Bobber 500 has a built-in battery that enables it to function even when there is no power. This makes it one of the most dependable Hotspot miners available. The cost to purchase the Bobber 500 is $999.
The SyncroB.it Gateway
The SyncroB.it Gateway is an easy-to-use, efficient Hotspot. It can be managed remotely and does not require much additional maintenance. You can switch the motherboard between the indoor and outdoor enclosures thanks to this device’s swappable enclosure feature. It costs $650.
Bobcat Miner 300
Although it only has a 300-meter range, the Bobcat Miner 300 is just as dependable as its older brother, the Bobcat 500. Otherwise, it is almost identical to its sibling in terms of features. The cost of this Bobcat miner is $429.
A high-end Helium Hotspot miner with exceptional performance and features is the Mimiq FinestraMiner. Its maximum range of 1 km makes it perfect for areas with extensive coverage. The Mimiq FinestraMiner can run without power thanks to a built-in battery. You can purchase the Mimiq FinestraMiner for about $600.
Unfortunately, it is not yet possible to buy this Helium miner directly in the US or Canada.
High-performance miner SenseCAP M1 is fully compatible with the Helium LongFi Network. It has an extremely effective cooling system and a fairly large storage of 64GB. The price of this HNT miner is approximately $519.
Milesight UG65 Helium Hotspot Miner
Reliable and simple to use, the Milesight UG65 Helium Hotspot Miner. It has Power over Ethernet (PoE) support built right in, making setup a breeze. This miner can operate in conditions as extreme as 40°C to +70°C. It can also withstand up to 95% humidity. Costing about $680, the Milesight miner.
MNTD Goldspot & Blackspot RAK V2
There are two Helium Hotspot miners called MNTD Goldspot and Blackspot RAK v2. Both of them have the same range and consume around 2W of power. The only distinction between the two models is that the Blackspot has a black casing and the Goldspot, as you might have guessed, has a golden one.
The Goldspot model is slightly more expensive than the black one; it costs about $550 as opposed to $500 for the black model. Overall, these two miners are neither particularly affordable nor expensive.
You can mine HNT with the Nebra Indoor Hotspot Miner by expanding the Helium network’s coverage. It is a productive and simple miner that consumes 15W, the same amount of power as a broadband router. It is available for about $500.
One of the more ambitious and immediately useful blockchain projects out there is Helium. It’s a decentralized wireless network that isn’t run by a major carrier and is made possible by thousands of participating local hotspots.
It’s possible that Helium will replace wireless data in the same way that the internet replaced cellular data and wireless because it promises to be significantly less expensive.
With a valuation of about US$3.6 billion as of late April 2022, Helium is the 52nd-largest cryptocurrency project by market capitalization. Helium has a ton of potential if its network gains more traction, especially when compared to the nine- and ten-figure valuations of the biggest cryptocurrencies in the world. It’s a network that may be immediately practical and usable to most people, which can’t be said for many other coins.