Sirwin
Sirwin

Helium Network : Why are 55% of Hotspots Offline ?

By sjbeachy64 | SteveBeachy | 4 Mar 2023


The end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023 has seen a dramatic monthly decrease in the number of hotspots being added to the Helium network. There has also been an alarming increase of hotspots that are offline, 55% as of late February.

As a hobbyist Helium miner I find these numbers concerning . Although a hotspot can go offline simply because of losing an internet connection half the network’s miners being offline implies a much deeper problem.

One of the reasons is the deny list. According to Crowdspot.io there are over 157,000 hotspots offline due to being added to the deny list. This alone accounts for 15% of the total number of hotspots.

The Denylist is a list of Hotspot public keys and a cryptographic signature that have been identified not to be accurately contributing to Network coverage or are otherwise circumventing the good faith of the Network in an attempt to earn Rewards. Rewards gaming by dishonest actors, even as a small percentage of the Network, erodes Network integrity.

Examples include, but are not limited to: Cluster Packet Forwarders, Misasserted Locations, Misasserted Antennas, Multiple or Shared Antennas, Attenuators, Amplifiers and Data Credit Farming

Helium Network Validators optionally subscribe to the Denylist to block HNT Rewards to dishonest Hotspots while recording on-chain records of the denied transactions. The Denylist is another tool in a broader range of tools to incentivize Hotspots on the Network to provide the most honest and accurate wireless coverage possible.

The Denylist is sourced from the community to keep the Network decentralized. Credible decentralization ensures that no one entity can control the Network. Any coordinated effort to game rewards, block data transfer, or censor information to benefit one party while harming another, undermines our mission of creating global, open wireless Networks.

How “gaming” is defined is left to Denylist operators, members of the Helium Community, and ultimately the choice of inclusion by Validators.

Many have said that the algorithm used to catch cheaters on the network is too aggressive and legit mining setups are ending up on the deny list. You can easily check the Helium Explorer website to see if your miner is on the deny list.

Hotspot issues. There are also a whole host of issues including hotspots not taking the latest firmware updates or an SD card that needs to be reflashed , both which will effectively turn your miner into a paper weight.

While many participants on the network have some technical ability there are plenty that do not and given the low profitability right now they are simply unplugging hotspots or may not even be aware that their miner is offline.

Other issues are no or low Proof of Coverage activities. Lone wolf hotspots will not have any Proof of Coverage activity because there are no other devices sending Beacons for your device to Witness and there are no devices to Witness the Beacons your device is sending out. At the other end of the spectrum there is over saturation in many areas leading to slashed rewards.

The Syncrob.it debacle. There have been many complaints to the Better Business Bureau here in United States regarding the company not shipping miners even a year or two after ordering. Even when orders were cancelled and refunds requested those refunds were never issued. Syncrob.it has only responded to 5% of BBB inquiries and they have receieved an accreditation rating of F.

BBB has received a pattern of complaints on this business from customers who allege they ordered from this company and never received the product. The business has not responded to BBB inquiries.

Apologies for going off on a bit of a tangent about syncrob.it but it does contribute to the number of offline hotspots as those miners will have to look to other manufacturer’s such as Nebra for support.

I believe the biggest reason so many are offline is people giving up on the network. With decreasing earnings people are losing interest in participating in the network.

Early hotspot users were quick to brag about the returns they were earning from their participation in the network. But users who joined Helium following the early hype haven’t experienced the same gains due to the greater number of hotspots in use diluting a finite reward pool.

Although it may not be lucrative to mine until more utility comes to the network and the HNT token price appreciates I still think HNT is one of the more profitable coins to mine right now as compared to ASIC or GPU mining.

In summary it is not one reason but many reasons that 55% of hotspots are offline. I believe that the sentiment of the Helium network is a reflection of the crypto market as a whole. I mine HNT not because of the price today but because of the future token price appreciation.

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sjbeachy64
sjbeachy64

Crypto enthusiast.


SteveBeachy
SteveBeachy

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