It’s 2022, and Helium is now more than just a noble gas. Helium, or the Helium Network, to be exact, happens to be one of the fastest-growing decentralized internet providers around. Due to their quick success, a community vote went underway proposing to change its blockchain. Let’s discuss why the decision was up in the air and where Helium will land next.
Helium, More Than A Gas
Helium Inc., now known as Nova Labs, is the architect behind the project known as Helium. Dubbed “The People’s Network,” as stated on their website, Helium is a decentralized blockchain-based network. It aims to connect the Internet of Things or IoT. Nodes that run off hotspots have been the fabric of the network. One of the neat things about how they accomplish this is that the system uses radio waves versus your more common GPU-based mining.
The plan is that by running some simple hardware, you can help provide coverage to many devices in your locale. As the network spreads, it would naturally become more effective. In exchange for operating the hardware and facilitating/managing the setup, HNT, Helium’s native token, is rewarded to participants.
Proof Of Coverage
It seems as if there is a never-ending number of Proof-of out there making up the mechanisms behind the various blockchain types. Helium, however, uses Proof of Coverage, or PoC. With PoC, there is consistent verification happening. PoC assures that Hotspots are correctly displaying their location in conjunction with the network coverage from said location.
Utilizing Radio Frequency, RF is something unique simply because radio waves were discovered back in the 1880s by Heinrich Rudolf Hertz. A blend of new and old can be quite the duo and is showing promise thus far.
RF is a good choice because it has limited distance and an inverse proportional connection strength to and from the transmitter and receiver. Lastly, it can travel at the speed of light as designed with no lag. All this makes it a natural choice to implement with PoC.
HIP 70 Proposal
Voting to the Solana blockchain was included in the HIP 70 proposal, where the vote count had to pass with 2/3 votes. In favor of the transition, the result ended with an 81% approval rate from 7,447 votes.
This change will hand off Proof-of-Coverage, including Data Transfer Accounting, over to Helium Oracles. In addition, HNT tokens, along with their governance, will head to the Solana blockchain.
On github.com, it states, “We acknowledge that this change removes the need for staked validators operating block production and challenge creation as they do today. That said, we expect that HNT stakers will migrate their positions towards securing current and future sub-DTOs and participating in governance through the vote-escrow token-based system proposed in HIP 51.”
Using oracles based on-chain will certainly help clear things up. However, oracles will not utilize the Solana blockchain and is a separate component. So even if there are outages or issues with Solana, the oracles will not be affected. As far as staking goes, anyone can still stake HNT via veHNT in any amount. There is no minimum while still receiving yield and voting rights.
It’s Up In The Air
Future growth is up in the air though these new changes make things more scalable while improving reliability and accessibility. Overall, building, transitions, transactions, and partnerships are happening during these weary times in the market.
Recently Nova Labs and T-Mobile have made ties to create and launch Helium Mobile, a new 5G wireless service. It will be the world’s first cryptocarrier connecting “The People’s Network” to your mobile device. Perhaps that device could be Saga, Solana’s new phone set for release in 2023.
If you want to see how things play out in the meantime, there are ways you can keep an eye on the network’s growth. First, check out the coverage that Helium provides. To do this, you can reference the Helium Explorer. It is the analytics platform and block explorer for the Helium Network.