What Is Helium?

Helium is the new cryptocurrency that can be mined by anyone with just a small radio device you place in your home (or outside if you prefer with a special casing or dedicated outdoor device.

These devices are called “hotspots” and provide network coverage to millions of devices using a technology known as LongFI. By providing the coverage (similar to how a BT Home Hub allows other BT users to login to your router), you are rewarded with HNT coins.

HNT coins are already able to be traded on Binance, so it’s pretty clear that the future potential for the currency is huge. Price has already gone up almost 20x in the past year and demand for hotspots is so huge, there’s currently a waiting list of several months to obtain one.

The other amazing thing about mining helium is the electricity cost. You’re basically just running an internet router, so the equipment uses less electricity than a lightbulb. A big downside to mining most cryptocurrencies currently is the enormous electricity cost, not to mention the ecological aspects of all that wasted energy.

How Do I Earn?

Participants earn HNT by building coverage for The People’s Network using compatible hotspots. There are several ways in which HNT is earned. Coins are earned for transferring device data over the net, just like a normal router does. The mode data transferred, the more you earn. This is explained on the website here https://docs.helium.com/blockchain/helium-token/

You can also earn with a system called proof of coverage. Every so often a random hotspot is assigned a test to complete. Passing this test or being a witness to another miner’s test earns even more. Proof of coverage is explained on the website here https://docs.helium.com/blockchain/proof-of-coverage/.

So What Is The Breakdown Of Rewards In POC?

To be a part of POC, Hotspots get sent commands (challenges) to send data to other nearby hotspots to witness and verify. These are typically known as “beacons”. This of course mans that miners which are in the middle of nowhere with no nearby miners will earn considerably less as they can only use the internet to participate. They are also unable to have their beacons verified.

CHALLENGERS 0.9%

The network randomly selects a miner to issue a challenge (or encrypted message over the web) to a chosen set of other miners. These are the basic form of earning HNT and can be done from any area so long as there’s an internet connection.

PROOF OF COVERAGE: 5.02%

This is shared among any miners that participate in POC events. It’s proportional to how often your hotspot has been involved.

WITNESSES: 20.08%

This is where the real money from mining helium comes from. When your hotspot reports back on activity of other beacons. The amount you receive depends on the number of challenges witnessed and how complex the challenges were.

NETWORK DATA TRANSFER: 35%

The real usecase of the network obviously pays the most. The devices that transferred the most data from other devices on the network earn the most. This means the most profitable position to be in with your miner is an area with a lot of other miners that aren’t within 350 metres of yours.

You can see the up-to-date coverage of the network with the helium explorer at https://explorer.helium.com/hotspots/

Each hexagon is an area containing a hotspot. The number on the hexagon indicates how many there are in that area.

In the UK the network isn’t even close to being saturated so there’s plenty of time to get involved. Buy several miners if you can and place them in the houses of your neighbours, friends, or family if they let you. It can take a bit of tweaking to get your hotspot earning the optimal amount of HNT daily (you may need to change your antenna. Check the ANTENNA section for more on this) to ensure you have the right distance coverage for the type of area your miner will be located.

What Is The Total Supply?

The maximum supply of HNT is 223 million. When the network launched, a supply of 5 million tokens were able to be mined per month, with an agreement that rewards would be halved every 2 years. The first halving occurred on August 1st, 2021.

The supply is also deflationary. Each device that uses the network requires data credits (DC) in order to send data across the net. These credits are created by burning HNT tokens. This means that the more users that join the network, the more Helium burned. Obviously, as we all know, burning tokens makes the supply go down. Less is worth more in theory. Look at the price of bitcoin……..it was once 10 cents and easy to mine…..now it’s worth thousands and is harder to mine than ever before. The interesting thing about the People’s Network is it actually has a usecase in comparison to standard cryptocurrencies.

It’s still early days so the network needs to expand a lot more for it to be a truly useful system worldwide but the idea is to build the world’s largest Defi Wifi network.