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Helium and the IoT: Mining with Your Own Hotspot

Many IoT ( Internet of Things ) projects face a number of challenges: costs often go up far beyond expectations or the project becomes too complex. A new approach is therefore being pursued in helium. The young company based in San Francisco wants to put connectivity in the hands of the people. “The future is peer-to-peer” is the motto of the company.

New consensus, new possibilities

Hotspot mining is also much less energy-intensive than traditional consensus algorithms, such as the Proof of Work , according to the company. Order of magnitude: Consumption of an LED lamp. In the helium network, other nodes are legitimized using a proof-of-coverage protocol. So it’s about the coverage of locations. In addition to proving the location of the providers, Helium uses a “proof of serialization” based on Google’s Roughtime protocol to anchor the proofs of coverage in a cryptographically secure and synchronized manner. Frank Mong, Manager at Helium, wrote on the company blog on June 12:

With this network, an explosion of new possibilities can become reality: forest fires can be prevented with smoke or heat sensors, pets can be tracked for miles, so they never get lost, and bike owners can use locating sensors to prevent thieves from stealing their bikes.

World’s first wireless peer-to-peer network

The idea for the start-up had Shawn Fanning (founder of Napster), Sean Carey and Amir Haleem already in 2012. Inspired by the “Internet of Things” and the idea of ​​a world in which everything would be connected, they founded Helium in 2013. The team has been taking the step of introducing Blockchain and a utility token since 2017.

In 2018, the startup finally announced plans to build a completely new kind of distributed wireless network. It claims to be turning the connectivity model on its head – much as AirBnB has fundamentally changed the lodging industry and passenger transport.

A new way of mining

Helium hotspot owners can get rewards in two ways. There are mining rewards through the wireless coverage and every time a device connects to the Internet through the hotspot. Of course, in order to achieve the positive network effects, it is crucial that the size and coverage of the network increase. The more machines the network uses, the more rewards hotspot owners can earn. This incentive should ultimately increase the demand to participate as a hotspot host.

The first hotspots Helium wants to deliver in the next six to eight weeks in Austin, Texas. Nationwide shipments in the US will begin in the fourth quarter of 2019. The company plans to expand network coverage internationally. For all interested parties outside the US there is a waiting list. The hotspots cost $ 495.

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