Helium completes Solana migration minting nearly 1 million NFTs in the process

Crypto-powered wireless network Helium has completed its expected migration from its own layer-1 blockchain platform to Solana. Helium founders and backers see potential for Solana unlock more use cases around the network – something that can be facilitated by a mass-scale NFT coin associated with the migration.

As part of the migration process, a NFT are minted to represent each physical hotspot node running on the Helium network, eventually totaling over 991,000 Solana NFTs. Hotspot owners will claim their respective NFT when logging into the wallet associated with the hotspot, and owners can still transfer or update hotspot locations as they wish.

“Helium developers took a snapshot of the existing blockchain and loaded the necessary transactions onto the new blockchain,” said Helium Foundation’s Head of Protocol Engineering Noah Prince Decrypt. “The contracts are permissionless and in the chain.”

More than 150,000 of the NFTs had been minted as of Wednesday morning, per public blockchain data compiled on analytics platform Flipside Crypto. The process seems to be ongoing, although the data on the platform is slightly delayed.

It’s the most prominent test case to date for Solana’s new state compression functionwhich allows creators to create potentially massive amounts of NFTs for relatively low cost compared to other platforms – or even Solana’s standard NFT minting process.

According to the Solana Foundation, the process cuts the estimated cost of minting 1 million NFTs to about $113 worth of SOL (as of April 5). Compare that to an estimated $253,000 worth of SOL using the Solana without compression technology, or around $32,800 in the MATIC at Ethereum scaling network Polygon.

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Stamping that many NFTs on the Ethereum network would cost creators an estimated $33.6 million, the Solana Foundation claims. Solana’s NFT compression feature potentially gives creators and brands a way to serve large amounts of NFTs to a wider audience without significant cost.

Why create a Solana NFT to represent each of the nearly 1 million Helium hotspots? According to the Helium Foundation, the token acts as a network credential and authenticates the hotspot, all in a decentralized manner. Furthermore, NFT enables possible ecosystem-wide integrations, including token-gated benefits and access for hotspot owners.

Helium migration to Solana var approved via a joint vote in September 2022, beginning the months-long process of bringing “the network of networks”– which incentivizes users to share their wireless services by giving them crypto token rewards – to the public blockchain network used for things like NFT collectibles and DeFi protocols.

The original Helium LoRaWAN network, which provides connectivity for lightweight Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as sensors and trackers, makes up almost the vast majority of this hotspot count. Hotspot operators share their home or business internet bandwidth to power the global network, and earn tokens for participating in the network.

In addition, Helium hosts a growing 5G network which is more consumer-oriented and is used for devices such as smartphones and laptops. However, it is relatively nascent: the network currently counts more than 8,000 total hotspots, with the early 5G hotspot nodes costing significantly more than Helium IoT hotspots.

Nova Labs, made up of the founders of the original Helium network, is launched a wireless service for smartphones from Helium Mobile in the US this spring, which pairs Helium 5G connectivity with T-Mobile’s nationwide 5G coverage. Helium Mobile is marketed in tandem with newly launched Solana Saga smartphonewhich also works with other operators.

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