P2P Network + Mobile 5G Provider
Helium is a Peer-to-peer (P2P) decentralized network designed purely for wireless connectivity. Whether it’s low-frequency radio WAN connections (LoRaWAN) or cellular 5G, you’re covered with Helium. By installing a simple device near a window, you can create a hotspot that others connect to and use small amounts of your bandwidth while you mine and earn Helium tokens in return. Known as ‘The People’s Network’, Helium aims to create a world of hotspots that users can benefit from by being an individual provider.
There are a few tokens that the project uses in its design. The Helium Network Token (HNT) is the protocol token of the network. IOT or MOBILE is rewarded to consistent connection hosts which can be traded in for HNT. Data Credits are USD-pegged HNT utility tokens that are required to pay for transaction fees on the network. It may seem like a lot of tokens to wrap the brain around but it’s easy to break it down as different tokens for connection operator users and developers on the network. You will also need the tiniest amount of Solana tokens as Helium operates on the Solana blockchain as well.
The Helium Network was created by Helium Inc. in 2013, offering gateway hotspot configurations for business and building owners. In 2017, Helium pivoted and began utilizing blockchain technology to offer individuals the opportunity to become hotspot operators and earn their token. 2021 saw a partnership with the Dish network to add thousands of hotspot connections to their coverage map. Helium Inc. rebranded to Nova Labs in 2022 and gained attention for a 200 million dollar funding round while also adding the 5G cellular network hotspots to the network.
Everyone’s first question when hearing about a P2P decentralized network that lets one user offer bandwidth to another user is security-related. Thanks to LoRaWAN, your IP is not used. If you are not comfortable with the connection you provide to the Helium Network being the same as your home or office network, you can isolate the device you provide a hotspot through from the other devices on your network. Considering that the bandwidth usage is extremely small, a small wireless device with an entirely separate low-cost data plan to your home network would be more than ample to run your node from.
P2P networks are steadily becoming hot sources of new content and authentic communities. Emerging artists, musicians, tools and websites are often found and first shared within these networks.
Helium's supply is influenced by its unique "halving" schedule, where the creation rate of new tokens is halved every two years, and the burn-and-mint equilibrium, where tokens are burned for network services and partially re-minted based on usage.
This mechanism adjusts HNT supply in response to network usage. Data Credits (DCs), used for network transactions, are purchased by burning HNT. The cost of DCs is fixed in USD, so the HNT required varies with its market value. If more HNT is burned than minted, a portion is re-minted to maintain network operations.
Net emissions ensure that Helium has enough HNT for rewards. If more HNT is burned for DCs than is minted, the system compensates by minting additional HNT, up to a capped amount. This maintains a balance between supply and demand while respecting the maximum supply limit.
Users mine HNT by operating Helium hotspots, which provide network coverage. Rewards depend on factors like hotspot location, network density, and demand for coverage. Hotspots in high-demand areas with fewer other hotspots nearby typically earn more.
Helium plans to expand beyond IoT into cellular networks and WiFi.
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