Demystifying Helium: A Look at HNT, Mobile, and IoT Tokens

Launched in 2019, the Helium network pioneered a decentralized approach to providing wireless connectivity for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The initial rollout focused on Helium hotspots that leveraged the LoRaWAN protocol to facilitate communication between sensors, trackers, and other low-powered devices across vast distances.

In the early days of Helium, the network gained traction in the US quickly, but the rollout to the EU and globally was slower, and websites like Mighty Gadget expressed scepticism about the profitability of Helium in the UK even though the coverage of Helium helped fuel the popularity in the UK and coverage expanded quickly.

In 2020, Helium was one of the many cryptos that surged in value with increased coverage and increased value of HNT; the popularity of this token skyrocketed as many people viewed the hotspots as an alternative way to earn crypto of increasingly difficult Bitcoin mining.

As the network gained traction, Helium switched from the main HNT token and created a new Helium IoT token for the hotspots providing LoRaWAN coverage.

They also introduced the Mobile (MOBILE) token, which can be earned using a new Helium 5G Gateway.

This article breaks down the utility of each token on the Helium network.

HNT: The OG Token

As the native currency of Helium, HNT fuels the infrastructure that enables the decentralised wireless network. Hotspot operators earn HNT for providing wireless coverage to devices and validating transactions on the network. HNT serves as an incentive mechanism to encourage the continued growth of the Helium ecosystem.

IoT: Connecting the Physical World

While HNT facilitates the network itself, IoT tokens enable connectivity for the low-powered IoT devices that access the network. Hotspot operators earn IoT tokens for providing the wireless infrastructure that allows sensors, trackers, and other IoT gadgets to transmit data across vast distances.

MOBILE: Welcome to 5G

With the launch of 5G-enabled gateways, Helium set its sights on servicing mobile devices in addition to IoT endpoints.

The Helium 5G gateway is a device that allows users to provide 5G wireless coverage over the CBRS spectrum and earn cryptocurrency tokens in return.

  • The Helium 5G gateway is a wireless access point that provides 4G LTE connectivity over the CBRS spectrum (3.5GHz band). It is marketed as “5G” but technically uses 4G technology.
  • Users purchase a Helium 5G gateway device from approved hardware vendors like FreedomFi. They then connect the gateway to their home internet connection.
  • The gateway provides wireless connectivity that can be accessed by mobile devices like phones and tablets. It helps expand wireless coverage into new areas.
  • Users earn a cryptocurrency token called MOBILE for providing proof of coverage from their gateway. They can potentially earn additional tokens when data is transferred over their network.
  • The network is decentralised and user-owned, unlike traditional wireless carriers. The goal is to provide an alternative to big telecoms through a community-powered model.
  • Helium is initially launching the 5G service in beta in Q2 2023. Over time, they plan to expand availability and combine it with other network infrastructure to provide broader, seamless connectivity.

In Conclusion

With its multi-token model, Helium offers tangible incentives for building out real-world infrastructure to service both IoT and mobile use cases. The network’s recent growth spurt can be attributed to the increased utility of Helium-enabled devices and services.

By aligning incentives around providing wireless connectivity, Helium has kickstarted a movement toward decentralised, people-powered network infrastructure.

Like almost all cryptocurrencies, Helium HNT experienced significant growth in 2021, reaching a peak of over $50 in November 2021 before the substantial crash in the crypto market caused its value to plummet throughout 2022, bottoming out at around $2. During 2023, the outlook for Helium, and cryptocurrencies in general, appeared quite bleak. However, Bitcoin has seen consistent and significant growth since October 2023.

The introduction of Helium 5G gateways marked a turning point for Helium, leading to it becoming one of the fastest-growing cryptocurrencies. This surge was further fuelled by the launch of a competitively priced $20 monthly nationwide unlimited mobile service. The success of the Helium 5G gateways has led to a tenfold increase in the value of the Helium Mobile token in less than a month. This success also positively impacted HNT, causing its value to soar from $1.6 to $9.2 in just over a month.

While Helium has faced considerable criticism in the past, it stands apart from popular meme coins due to its practical applications, positioning itself as a utility token. This suggests potentially more stable long-term prospects compared to many other cryptocurrencies.

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