Each hotspot on the crypto wireless network is now represented by an NFT as Helium successfully migrates to Solana.
Is Anyone Using Helium? Nova Labs’ New IoT Push May Provide Answers
Helium is a wireless network that offers a tangible crypto utility to its users. It incentivizes them to share their wireless service and earn crypto token rewards. However, recent skepticism of the model and major brands distancing themselves from the project have raised doubts about whether the distributed network is actually serving many purposes. In response to this, Nova Labs, the creator, and supporter of the decentralized Helium network have launched “1663,” a new integration arm to help large-scale enterprises and high-profile brands participate in the project.
The migration of Helium from its own layer-1 blockchain platform to Solana has been successfully completed. Solana is a public blockchain network that is widely used for things like NFT collectibles and DeFi protocols. Its state compression feature allows creators to mint potentially enormous amounts of NFTs for a relatively low cost compared to other platforms. According to the Solana Foundation, the estimated cost of minting 1 million NFTs on Solana is around $113 worth of SOL, compared to an estimated $253,000 worth of SOL without the compression tech or about $32,800 worth of MATIC on Ethereum scaling network Polygon.
The NFTs represent each physical hotspot node running on the Helium network, ultimately totaling over 991,000 Solana NFTs. These NFTs serve as network credentials and authenticate the hotspot, all in a decentralized fashion. In addition, they enable potential ecosystem-wide integration, including token-gated profits and access for Hotspot owners. Helium’s migration to Solana was approved via a community vote in September 2022, beginning a months-long process of bringing the “network of networks” to the public blockchain.
The Helium network is divided into two parts – the original Helium LoRaWAN network and the growing 5G network. The LoRaWAN network provides connectivity for lightweight Internet of Things (IoT) devices, making up the vast majority of the hotspot tally. On the other hand, the 5G network is more consumer-facing and is used for devices like smartphones and laptops. At present, the network counts more than 8,000 total hotspots. Nova Labs is launching a Helium Mobile smartphone wireless service in the United States this spring, which pairs Helium 5G connectivity with T-Mobile’s nationwide 5G coverage. Helium Mobile is being marketed in tandem with the newly-launched Solana Saga smartphone, which also works with other carriers.
While Solana has had a year of amazing growth, it has also experienced multiple network outages. Co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko joined Dan Roberts and Stacy Elliott on the gm podcast to talk about the outages, what’s next for Solana at its upcoming Breakpoint event, how it competes with Ethereum, how long he expects the bear market to last, what’s happening with NFTs on Solana, and much more.