Friday, October 22, 2021
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I’m always looking for good blockchain use cases. There are only a few companies that I rate. One is Helium, who calls itself “The People’s Network.” It was co-founded by Shawn Fanning (Napster co-creator) and Amir Haleem in 2013 with a mighty mission: to democratize access to the internet. They achieve this by creating their own P2P internet network. This is a radical shift to wide area networks and internet connectivity. I spoke to Frank Mong, Helium’s COO to find out more about the company, their tech, and their latest partnership.

How does it all work?

What underpins Helium is a series of Hotspots retailing for $495USD. These create an open-sourced P2P long-range wireless network. You could consider each hotspot a node or gateway. Hotspots enable internet connectivity for low-power devices like those embedded with sensors to measure temperature, humidity, pressure or location, without needing Wi-Fi or cellular connectivity.

The hotspots provide LoRaWAN coverage. They also generate a cryptocurrency called HNTs whenever the hotspot supplies proof of network and when a Helium customer transfers data on the network. The HNTs offer an incentive for people to use their broadband to be the equivalent of a LoRa tower. And you can painlessly make bank for a modest outlet and by doing very little.

Helium’s open wireless protocol is 200 times the range of Wi-Fi at 1/1000th of the cost of a cellular modem. It offers massive competition to cellular networks. Unlike cellular, there’s no need to pay for sim cards, worry about data caps, or overage fee charges.

Helium shows the real value of open source

Helium tracks lime bikes and scooters