Helium (HNT) is sitting comfortably in the 70s in terms of ranking and almost 2 billion in marketcap. It long ago CRACKED the top 100, so why am I bothering with this obvious winner? In short, a friend was asking about this project, and what would be the point of this blog if I didn’t sate my curiosity and fulfil the earnest curiosity of my friends? Besides, this is my blog, I’m the editor (as you can tell) and I can do whatever I want. So strap in! If I’m willing to break my own rules (as fluid as they may be) then this must be an interesting read.
Ever wonder if you can monetize your unused bandwidth on your WiFi when you aren’t using it? That would be fun. What about your low powered radio networks (LoRaWAN) that see a use cases in IoT devices? 20k Helium hotspots have been sold in the US and these hotspots earn rewards in HNT for data usage. Monetizing data access makes a lot of sense. Helium’s validation of network coverage comes in the form of witnesses or “beacons” which means you get rewards if another node verifies your connection has been online for a period of time. Their consensus protocol is Proof of Coverage, and yes, 5G is in the works.
Their software is open source, participation is welcome, and their documentation page is extensive. Extensive is good, since it seems this project has a lot of moving parts. There are the miners, oracles, state channels and community projects that show promise in executing the Big Data dream. I especially like their explorer, which has a coverage map.
Since this is a utility token, the supply (96 million right now) is increased by minting 2.5 million tokens per month (see their Tokenomics). The oracles function to stabilize the Data Credits (separate from HNT) price at $0.00001, a feature borrowed from the Maker oracle.
Their Discord requires phone number verification, but they allow me to lurk. Here is what I found out: 1. There is an active hacking campaign against them. 2. Their (professional) admins and engineers have been hunting the perpetrators 3. Their community is very active and engaged. 4. There is a lot of work to be done to ensure miners (node operators) get compensated.
Perfection is the art of admitting your failures and I can’t fault any platform that has exploits. As I said, there are a lot of moving parts in this network. The fact that they are transparent about this (at least on Discord) is not only promising but heartening. Their Telegram is a one-way, announcements only. In summary, this project does not look like it is in the “mature” stage, but it does not have to be perfect to work. I could see this network accelerating. In the meantime, I give them credit for hacking along (like we all do, ahem).