Research

Understanding Helium: A Comprehensive Overview

Jul 8, 2024 ⋅  24 min read

Key Insights

  • Helium is creating an ecosystem of decentralized networks, functioning as a foundational platform upon which multiple independent networks, such as IoT and 5G, can build and operate.
  • The Helium Network Token (HNT) is central to the ecosystem. It can be burned to obtain Data Credits, staked for governance votes, and redeemed for subDAO tokens. The network employs a vote-escrowed HNT (veHNT) governance mechanism.
  • The network uses a subDAO framework to set parameters under which subnetworks should be created. Each subDAO has the option to create its own native token. The IoT network uses the IOT token, and the Mobile network uses the MOBILE token.
  • Since its launch in December 2023, Helium Mobile has rapidly grown to account for approximately 90% of the network's revenue.
  • Helium Mobile's growth strategy includes partnerships with hardware manufacturers and telecom providers, such as Telefónica, to expand coverage and enhance user participation. New initiatives like Discovery Mapping and Boosting Locations are mainly focused on the Mobile network.

Introduction

Centralized service providers, WiFi networks, and Bluetooth technologies that allow devices to connect to the internet are often criticized for being too expensive or lacking coverage in certain areas. Building and maintaining wireless infrastructure is capital-intensive for traditional service providers, leading to high prices and the inability to expand coverage at the rate of user churn. At the same time, traditional telecom is reducing spending on wireless infrastructure (as opposed to developing more robust solutions). Helium Network seeks to satisfy coverage demand and address cost issues by distributing capital expenditures and operational expenses via tokenized incentives that encourage small suppliers to contribute capital and labor at scale.

Helium is establishing itself as an ecosystem of decentralized wireless networks, with plans to expand its scope to decentralized physical infrastructure networks (DePIN). Currently, it only contains networks serving telecommunications and Internet of Things (IoT). At its core, Helium is a decentralized coordination layer for wireless networks (and soon DePINs). Helium itself can be classified as a DePIN, given it incentivizes the crowdsourcing and building of real-world physical infrastructure networks. Suppliers on Helium deploy Hotspots and are rewarded with their respective ecosystem tokens for successfully providing network connectivity (MOBILE for cellular and IOT for IoT).

Helium initially launched as an IoT network on its own blockchain in 2019. After the approval of a governance proposal (HIP-70) over a year later, it migrated blockchain operations to Solana. Helium currently operates on a subDAO framework as laid out in Helium Improvement Proposals (HIPs) 51, 52, and 53. Helium’s mobile subnetwork has found traction through the Helium Mobile telecom carrier. And Helium’s IoT network has found traction in various use cases, with a couple of notable examples including its use in flood detection in Porto, Portugal, and in monitoring humidity and temperature for museums. Throughout its lifetime, Nova Labs, Helium’s founding operating company, has raised over $360 million for Helium, with its most recent raise attracting $200 million of investment in March 2022.

Network Architecture

Before Solana

At its inception, Helium launched an IoT network on its own purpose-built blockchain. Users could send data to and from the Internet, and protocol miners were rewarded with HNT tokens for providing wireless network coverage. Initially, the network only offered LoRaWAN connectivity to IoT devices.

The Helium blockchain ran on a consensus protocol called the Helium Consensus Protocol. Users could purchase a hotspot and earn HNT for providing coverage. The amount of HNT rewarded was based on the results of a Proof-of-Coverage (PoC) mechanism that Helium still uses today. PoC verifies that hotspots accurately represent their location, configuration, and wireless coverage they create.

To leverage the Helium IoT network, users needed to purchase its primary token, HNT, and burn it to receive a secondary token called Data Credits (DC), which measure the data transferred. This token had a fixed price of $0.0001 per 24 bytes of data. These DCs were burnt against HNT based on the current HNT price, as reported by a network of oracles. Supply-side/hotspot rewards were (and still are) a combination of PoC rewards and data transfer rewards. While PoC rewards helped bootstrap the network supply, data transfer rewards drive the economic sustainability of the network.

Since its creation, Helium was designed to be the first LoRaWAN Decentralized Network Protocol (DNP). Therefore, when Helium wanted to expand to provide 5G connectivity, it was met with two core problems:

  • Blockchain scalability: The Helium native blockchain was not built to support subnetworks.
  • DNP-specific incentive alignment: If subnetworks were created with the current HNT and DC token systems in place, there wouldn’t be an incentive system for those networks to grow within the Helium ecosystem.

On Solana

In January 2022, Helium transitioned to a subDAO framework. Through the approval of Helium Improvement Proposals (HIPs) 51, 52, and 53, two subDAOs were created under the Helium DAO.

  • Helium IoT: The original IoT protocol that provided LoRaWAN connectivity became the Helium IoT subDAO, issuing the new IOT subnetwork token as a reward to suppliers.
  • Helium Mobile: A telecommunications protocol that enables owners of compatible Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) radio hotspot devices to provide 5G connectivity to Helium Mobile subscribers. In exchange, Helium rewards CBRS hotspot operators with MOBILE tokens.

HIPs 51, 52, and 53 enabled Helium to become an ecosystem of communications networks, where subnetworks launch their own subDAOs and issue accompanying tokens. In this setup, the Helium DAO acts as a general structure for onboarding new subnetworks or DNPs into Helium’s ecosystem. Meanwhile, subDAOs maintain autonomy as they control protocol-specific details and the administration of their respective subnetwork tokens.

Helium DAO

A proposal to change the governance structure of Helium was presented in HIP 51. The proposal aimed to make Helium more scalable and align incentives for new Decentralized Network Protocols (DNPs) or subnetworks to be created. To do so, two main elements were taken into account:

  • Ecosystem Scaling: Different teams under the Helium Network umbrella can now work in parallel to build out their particular DNP and subnetwork infrastructure.
  • DNP-Specific Governance: Staying within the bounds of the parameters discussed by Helium DAO for subnetworks, DNPs govern their own Proof-of-Coverage rules, Data Transfer pricing, and reward distribution mechanisms through Decentralized Network Token (DNT) voting. For example, voting on Helium Mobile parameters is conducted with the MOBILE token.

This governance system allows each DNP to operate its own subDAO and submit usage-related information (e.g., the number of users and DCs burnt) to the broader Helium Network (DAO) via oracles. This data is then used to compute the subDAO’s utility score to determine the HNT distribution for the following epoch. Each DNP has its own economic and governance layer through its subDAO, which comprises all its DNT holders. In this system, Helium operates as a network of networks.

Despite the subDAO framework, core proposals affecting the broader Helium ecosystem are voted upon through veHNT (vote-escrowed HNT) weighted governance. The amount of veHNT a user receives (i.e., the amount of voting power they have) is proportional to the amount of HNT they stake and the amount of time they commit to staking it. For a maximum of 4 years, users receive 100x the veHNT. For the minimum six-month lock up, users receive 1x the veHNT. Note that veHNT is non-transferable.

In each epoch, DNP subDAOs under the Helium network earn some HNT according to the DAO utility score. The DAO utility score is determined by a formula that considers the amount of DCs burned (a measurement of demand-side revenue) and active devices per DNP. This HNT is deposited directly into the DNP subDAO treasury reserve.

Helium IoT

The functionality that was previously provided by Helium on the native blockchain — LoRaWAN connectivity for IoT devices — is now managed by the IoT subDAO. Low-power wide-area network (LoRaWAN) is used to power IoT devices (e.g., home delivery systems, smart pet collars, scooters, tracking devices, smart lighting systems, etc.) that only need to transmit and share small bits of information. Any user or entity can install a device that is compatible with the LoRaWAN network and host their own hotspot. By helping power the IoT network, hosts of these devices (miners) earn IOT.

The component that differentiates Helium’s LoRaWAN connectivity offering from traditional providers is the decentralization of LoRaWAN Network Servers (LNSs). The LNS of LoRaWAN networks is responsible for managing devices, integrating with application servers, and routing messages. In typical networks, all access is overseen and managed by a centralized LNS operator entity. On Helium, individuals own and operate IoT hotspots and LNSs, decentralizing the wireless infrastructure. Without this decentralization, a single central entity, the LNS operator of the network, would have complete control over who accesses the network. The LNS decentralization also helps increase network security by distributing this risk across many operators.

The IoT subDAO handles its PoC mechanism, data transfer, and token emission algorithms. PoC IoT oracles monitor the validity of the coverage that IoT hotspots provide. Similar to Helium DAO, the Helium IoT subDAO is governed using veIOT. At the launch date in May 2023, a veIOT airdrop to Helium validators occurred. From then on, users have had to stake IOT for at least 6 months to receive veIOT. Like veHNT, the amount of veIOT users receive is determined by the amount of IOT they stake and the amount of time they commit to staking their IOT. veIOT governance is identical to veHNT governance.

Helium Mobile

The approval of HIP 53 led to the creation of the Helium Mobile subDAO. With the premise that future mobile networks will be a hybrid of large-scale operators and people-owned 5G hotspots, Helium created the Mobile subDAO to distribute the costs of bootstrapping a telecom network and enable individuals to add coverage and bandwidth to areas that need it.

The Mobile Network currently provides 5G connectivity to users’ mobile devices. Through Helium Mobile, subscribers pay $20 per month with no contract for a nationwide unlimited data, talk, and text phone plan. Anyone can physically deploy compatible Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) radio and WiFi hotspot devices to power the Mobile Network.

PoC oracles specific to the Mobile subDAO relay start balance, current balance, and the total amount of DCs created by each Mobile hotspot to the L1 HNT emissions contract on Solana. The PoC algorithm, in this case, is used to verify that the Mobile hotspots accurately represent the location and wireless coverage they create.

As seen in the graphic above, a portion of the $20 that the subscriber pays on a monthly basis goes to paying Nova Labs for operating the carrier, and some of it goes directly to the network. Across the industry, cellular plans generally assume that not every user uses the billed amount of underlying data, leaving room for revenue by the carrier. In short, if a subscriber doesn't transfer data through a hotspot, all of the monthly plan money goes to Nova Labs (and subsequently their offload partner). If a user transfers, for example, 30 GB of data through hotspots, Nova pays $0.50 per GB to the hotspots responsible for handling that transfer, plus the costs to the offload partner. As the network grows, the unit economics of carrier plans improve.

Service providers, such as Helium Mobile, compete for MOBILE rewards by driving subscribers to the network. The amount they receive is determined by the incentive points they earn during a period of time. Providers are encouraged to use MOBILE as a reward incentive to grow their subscriber base by discounting data plans. Oracles proxy signaling traffic to authenticate user sessions when attaching hotspots and then relay the data to the L1 emission contract. Hotspot vendors ensure that the operator firmware is up to date, and hotspot operators compete to provide the best quality coverage. Both vendors and operators earn MOBILE rewards for doing their jobs.

In July 2023, Helium Mobile launched Discovery Mapping. Through this functionality, subscribers can opt-in to serve as Discovery Mappers and share location data through a connected mobile device. Discovery Mapping helps Verification Mappers validate coverage provided by Mobile hotspots and identify coverage gaps across geographical areas. Mappers support the identification of geographical areas that lack hotspot coverage. Hotspots providing coverage in these boosted locations are eligible to earn extra MOBILE token rewards. Subscribers that opt-in to Discovery Mapping and the Mappers that support the data verification are both eligible to earn MOBILE rewards.

Tokenomics

The Helium Network currently works with three different kinds of SPL tokens on Solana: HNT, IOT, and MOBILE. While HNT is used throughout the Helium network, IOT and MOBILE are instances of subDAO tokens used to reward operators of the subnetworks.

Helium Network Token (HNT)

The Helium Network Token (HNT) is the network’s primary token. It’s distributed from the Helium DAO to subDAOs based on performance and engagement (i.e., utility score).

There are three main functionalities for the Helium Network token (HNT):

  1. Buy Data Credits (DCs) to access subnetwork functionalities:HNT can be burnt to receive Data Credits through the Helium Wallet App, Helium CLI, or Data Credit Portal. The value of a DC is fixed at $0.00001. The amount of DC that users will receive from burning HNT will be determined by the current price of HNT in USD.
  2. Stake to receive veHNT and gain governance votes for the Helium DAO:Since the Helium Network is acting as an overarching structure for these networks (i.e. subDAOs) that are created, it needs its own governance mechanism. Members of the DAO (i.e., owners of HNT) can participate in the voting processes for the HIPs by staking their HNT and receiving proportional voting power.
  3. Offer redeemability for IOT or MOBILE hotspot hosts.

There are certain economic concepts to be kept in mind when thinking about the Helium Network Token:

  • Max Supply: The Helium DAO token emissions schedule (HNT) hasn’t changed with the subDAO framework restructure. With the approval of HIP 20, the maximum supply of HNT was set to 223 million HNT, with a two-year halving schedule. At the time of writing (June 2024), HNT’s total token supply is 166 million HNT, with an updated maximum supply of 213 million HNT due to deflationary token burns.
  • HNT Token Unlock and Vesting Schedule: At the time of writing, Founders and Investors have 7 million HNT. They are currently allocated 31% of newly minted tokens each year, decreasing by 1% yearly, capped at 15%. Consensus purposes are allocated 13 million HNT, and 6% of the newly minted tokens are allocated here annually. Proof of Coverage has been paid out 55 million HNT and is allocated 28% of newly minted tokens each year, decreasing by 1.5% yearly. Finally, Data Transfer has been paid out 78 million HNT and is allocated 30% of newly minted tokens each year. This percentage increases by 2.5% yearly but is capped at 79%.
    • Of note: These are calculations based on HIP 77. Historical token payout percentages to Proof of Coverage were likely different. This occurs because as long as Data Transfer is not receiving the full allocated rewards (which are reflected as fixed USD values per amount of data transferred), the difference is allocated to Proof of Coverage.
  • Burn and Mint Economics: There is no specified buyback for HNT, but there is a necessary buyback because the only way to buy DCs is by burning HNT. This token emission design is called burn and mint equilibrium, and it ensures that the network usage is aligned with the amount of HNT in circulation.
  • Net Emissions: To ensure that miners are always incentivized to transmit data in a secure way through the network, HIP 20 introduced Net Emissions in August 2021. This mechanism is designed to give the network HNT rewards in perpetuity by monitoring the number of HNT burned for DC in a given epoch and adding the number of HNT to mint that epoch. If less than the planned amount of HNT is burnt for DCs on a given day, this mechanism will re-mint and distribute the total amount of HNT into the subnetwork’s treasury. The fixed net emissions daily epoch cap is 1,643.52 HNT.

Data Credits (DCs)

Data Credits (DCs) in the Helium Network can be considered the currency users pay to transfer data. The only way to receive DC tokens is by burning HNT. Each DC has a fixed price of $0.00001 and cannot be transferred. In addition to being the currency to pay for data transfer, DCs have a few subnetwork-specific functions. Their utility varies slightly from the IoT subDAO to the Mobile subDAO:

  • Data Credits in the IoT Network: In the IoT network, Data Credits are used for network data transfer. Data transfer is accounted for in 24-byte increments per message on the LoRaWAN network. For example, sending a message that is anywhere from 24 to 48 bytes would cost 2 DCs. In addition, DCs in the IoT network are used to cover network-related fees such as the $40 Device Onboarding and the $10 Assert Location fees.
  • Data Credits in the Mobile Network: Similar to the IoC network mechanism, DCs in the Mobile Network are the only way to pay for bills and fees. Instead of the 24-byte increment system of the IoT Network, the Mobile Network charges data at a rate of $0.50 per 1 gigabyte (50,000 DC). Fees like the $40 CBRS Onboard fee and the $10 CBRS Assert Location fee must also be paid in DCs.

subDAO Network Tokens

As outlined by HIP 51, each subDAO created under the broader Helium DAO can have its own token to provide separation of governance to the Decentralized Network Protocols (DNPs).

SubDAO tokens are backed by and can be converted to HNT. Each of the protocols within the Helium Network gets rewarded HNT at the end of each epoch based on their Utility Score, which is itself dependent on DC consumption and hotspot usage. Currently, both the IoT subDAO and the Mobile subDAO have their own native tokens with slightly different functionality.

IOT Token

IOT is the protocol token for the Helium IoT Network. Proof of Coverage (PoC) oracles, IOT hotspots, and Rewards oracles are rewarded with IOT tokens through their emissions schedule. LoRaWAN hotspots must show proof of the data transfer proceeds or PoC to mine the token. Similar to veHNT, veIOT facilitates governance of the IOT subDAO.

MOBILE Token

MOBILE is the protocol token for the Helium Mobile Network. It’s rewarded to PoC oracles, hotspots, Mappers, and Service Providers that are specific to the network. However, MOBILE is only mined by 5G-CBRS and WiFi hotspots that provide proof of useful data transfers and PoC. Similar to the IOT token, the MOBILE token can be exchanged for HNT, which can either be sold or burned for DCs. Just like the IOT subDAO awards governance veIOT tokens to those who stake IOT, veMOBILE is rewarded to those who stake MOBILE for voting power.

Network Activity / Protocol Usage

Helium Hotspots Onboarded

When Helium first came out with the IoT product, the rewards that were offered for hotspot owners reached thousands of dollars per month. By nature, the PoC algorithm hurts hotspot rewards if more hotspots provide coverage around it. Therefore, as more people bought hotspots, the rewards that were once promised decreased significantly. The rate of adoption of the hotspots for the IoT network was parabolic. Before migrating to Solana, Helium IoT onboarded over 342,000 hotspots. Since migrating, it has added almost another 25,000 hotspots to its network.

However, usage has not kept up with supply-side adoption. Despite DCs also being used to cover the onboarding fees associated with setting up a hotspot (e.g., it costs $10 in DCs to set up the location of a hotspot in the network), the data transfer portion of the DCs that were getting burnt didn’t surpass a couple of hundred dollars per day. To summarize, Helium had managed to set up the infrastructure to provide the LoRaWAN connectivity but couldn’t find demand for it.

However, the Helium Mobile rollout in May 2023 changed the demand-side adoption dynamics that categorized the IoT network. Helium Mobile’s initial offering included an unlimited talk, text, and data phone plan for $20 per month, which led to a soaring demand. Later that year, the company launched the Discovery Mapping feature, allowing Helium Mobile users to earn MOBILE by opting in to share location data through a connected device. Even though hotspot adoption hasn’t been as prominent as with the IoT network (5,000 Mobile hotspots compared to 20,000 IoT hotspots), demand for the Mobile Network has shown signs of healthier growth. Burning almost 25x the amount of DCs that the IoT subDAO burns, the Mobile subDAO has created organic demand for cellular phone coverage.

Throughout 2024, Helium has focused on geographical expansion. Already covering all of Florida and other parts of the U.S., Helium is extending coverage internationally. In January, Helium Mobile announced a partnership with Telefónica to bring Mobile hotspots to Mexico. And in June, an expansion of the Boosted Locations functionality to Los Angeles and New York was announced, which enables boosted rewards for hotspots providing coverage in areas of Florida that lack hotspot coverage. Helium Mobile’s $20 per-month unlimited plans are considerably less than the average three-figure plans that categorize American telecom. It also enables users to save even more through its Discovery Mapping feature, which rewards users in MOBILE for sharing their location. In addition to its ability to attract suppliers, Helium also seems primed to continue to attract new users (regardless of crypto-nativeness) to its telecom network.

Data Credits Burned for Network Usage (IoT vs. Mobile)

There was an initial spike in usage in August 2023, in which the Data Credits (DC) burns reached a maximum of $6,269.88 per day. Despite this, the DC consumption followed even as hotspot HNT rewards started decreasing. On November 27, 2023, the dollar value of DCs burned was $156. However, after the governance change and Solana migration, Helium Mobile launched nationwide on December 5, 2023. Since then, traction has increased, reaching $4,364 in DC burnt per day. Since its release, Mobile has accounted for an average 92% of the DC consumption.

Competitive Landscape

Telecom Competitive Landscape

A handful of projects have launched decentralized wireless networks in fields ranging from telecommunications (cellular) to IoT. Even fewer have live, liquid token protocols. The Helium Mobile Network is the current leader in decentralized telecommunications. Competitors include World Mobile, XNET, Drop Wireless, and Roam.

Helium Mobile offers the lowest-priced operator nodes on the supply side. This gives it a competitive advantage against other telecom networks in the bootstrapping and expansion phase. On the surface, World Mobile appears to be the closest competitor to Helium Mobile. Though its node distribution is less dense and widespread, it still serves 82,000 unique users. However, World Mobile focuses exclusively on expanding coverage in hard-to-reach areas as more of a public good, while Helium Mobile focuses on adding bandwidth to areas with low-quality coverage.

On the demand side, Helium Mobile’s product offering seems to have more adoption than its closest competitor, World Mobile. In May 2024, Helium announced the rollout of its Group Family Plans offering unlimited talk, text, and data nationwide for $20 per month. In the United States, this positions Helium Mobile as a cheaper alternative to the $30 for 5GB data plan that World Mobile offers. Helium also differs in its T-Mobile partnership that promises “Dynamic Coverage,” where Helium Mobile users connect to Helium hotspots when possible, and connect to outsourced coverage provided by T-Mobile when Mobile hotspot coverage is unavailable.

Meanwhile, XNET and Roam primarily focus on expanding open wifi coverage, while XNET also claims to support cellular coverage with CBRS nodes. Though Roam is live, it addresses a different market than Helium Mobile — it encourages suppliers to onboard existing WiFi setups to the Roam network as a service to Roam’s user base. Meanwhile, it’s unclear what aspects of XNET are live. It is not intuitive to find an interface to make a cellular plan (if that option even exists). While Roam has a Dune dashboard with interesting data, its usage datasets were uploaded by the dashboard owner. Since not all data on Dune originates onchain, it is impossible to verify the accuracy of the data reported. Meanwhile, it appears that Drop Wireless has yet to launch a consumer product. Despite a $43 million market cap, the DWIN token often averages around $500 in 24-hour trading volume.

Less Web3 related, in a bullish scenario, Starlink could potentially involve the rollout of a satellite-supported telecommunications product. Starlink already supports a mobile high-speed internet product where users buy and set up a hardware kit that acts as a personal hotspot. (The kit is a one-time $500 cost while coverage costs $150 per month.) With Starlink’s deep pockets and existing internet-satellite infrastructure, there could be a future where Starlink offers a more expansive network than Helium.

Roadmap

Technical Improvements

Most of the technical improvements currently under discussion within the Helium ecosystem relate to the Mobile Network.

  • HIP 111 — Increase Mobile Hotspot Coverage: Proposes that Access Points that have transferred a lot of data over the last 7 epochs (i.e., 1 MB within a 7-epoch rolling window) are eligible for Boosted Coverage Points (CPs). This would increase the amount of MOBILE they receive. Though this is still in the discussion phase, the Discord community seems to have a positive outlook.
  • HIP 110 — Proxy Voting: Soon to be deployed to enable proxy voting, this HIP will allow owners of veHNT, veIOT, and veMOBILE to delegate their vote to another participant for a limited period of time. This proxy assignment can be recursive since the implementation is rooted in an NFT delegation contract. In other words, someone who is assigned someone else’s vote can, in turn, delegate that vote to someone else. This will move voting power to the most active representatives.
  • HIP 116 Lower Barriers to Entry for Device Owners: Recently approved, this HIP will reduce the price that network operators pay to bring devices onto the network. Previously, operators would have to purchase a block of device addresses (DevAddr) to assign to devices; eight DevAddr would cost $800. This cost could be seen as a barrier to entry, especially for those who self-host their LNS. After the proposal approval, the cost of eight DevAddr decreased to $100.

Growth Strategy

Helium is employing various growth strategies as it becomes a hub of network integrations. In addition to hosting various networks, mobile and IoT networks are also accelerating their own growth strategies to increase network adoption.

  • Network of Networks: Helium announced plans to expand its scope, onboarding any type of DePIN protocols into its ecosystem.
  • MNTD Hardware Partnership: Helium announced a deal with MNTD to produce MOBILE hotspots. As part of the final onboarding process, RAK Wireless, MNTD’s parent company, must stake a minimum of 50 million MOBILE. According to the MNTD website, it will soon release a “Light hotspot” to allow suppliers to mine IOT tokens and provide IoT Network coverage.
  • Telefónica Partnership: Helium powers its “Dynamic Coverage” technology by offloading mobile traffic to network partners and filling coverage gaps for the subscribers. The best example is the Telefónica and Nova Labs partnership, which was announced in January 2024. Through this collaboration, both parties provide coverage in Mexico City and Oaxaca. Customers can acquire hotspots and earn MOBILE for providing service in low coverage areas. The network offloads connectivity to Telefónica in areas where hotspots have yet to be acquired.
  • Discovery Mapping Expansion: Helium Mobile rolled out Discovery Mapping in Los Angeles and Florida. This allows subscribers to opt into sharing their location data through their smartphone in exchange for MOBILE rewards. The feature also allows the network to identify coverage gaps across geographical areas and double down on incentives for hotspots to provide coverage in those areas.
  • Adjusting obligations and accountability of IoT hotspot manufacturers: After changes in commercial agreements, the producers of IoT hotspots have clearer obligations to maintain such as improving the response times to Helium customers. This shows the Foundation’s extended efforts to create healthy relationships that benefit their customers and create a loyal subscriber base.
  • Expanding partnership base: Traditional LPWAN operators have found value in roaming onto the Helium IoT Network. Users such as Senet (U.S.), X-Telia (CA), and Actility (FR) pioneered these types of integrations. They have successfully upgraded their connections with Helium, as the architecture has been upgraded alongside the Solana migration. Since then, additional operators have signed on to leverage Helium connectivity with these connections snowballing into additional partnerships.

Closing Summary

Helium is fostering an ecosystem of decentralized wireless and DePIN networks. It already supports multiple independent networks, such as IoT and 5G telecom. The Helium Network Token (HNT) is integral to the ecosystem. It captures demand-side revenue through Data Credits, is used for governance participation, and is rewarded for token redemption within the subDAO framework.

The network’s subDAO structure allows for the creation of subnetworks, each with its own native token. Since its launch in December 2023, Helium Mobile has grown rapidly, accounting for approximately 90% of the network’s revenue. Helium's current growth strategy includes developing partnerships with hardware manufacturers and telecom providers, offloading relationships with legacy telecom companies (like T-Mobile and Telefónica), and facilitating a foundation for DePINs to join as a network of networks. In addition to expanding the utility and quality of its current networks, Helium’s ability to onboard new wireless and DePIN networks will be critical in shaping its growth, while boosting Solana’s reputation in hosting decentralized physical infrastructure and resource protocols.

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Juan is a rising senior at Duke University, where he teaches introductory-level blockchain courses. His primary interests are DePIN, Infra, and Compute.

Onchain Jíbaro. Background: Photography, Quantitative Banking, & Manual Labor.

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About the authors

Juan is a rising senior at Duke University, where he teaches introductory-level blockchain courses. His primary interests are DePIN, Infra, and Compute.

Onchain Jíbaro. Background: Photography, Quantitative Banking, & Manual Labor.