Helium developers consider migration of crypto wireless network to Solana

Helium developers consider migration of crypto wireless network to Solana
Helium developers consider migration of crypto wireless network to Solana

In short

  • Crypto-powered wireless network Helium is considering a transition from its own custom blockchain to Solana.
  • Helium’s core developers have proposed the migration, which will be voted on from 12 September.

HeliumThe blockchain platform that uses crypto-token incentives to power decentralized wireless networks could soon undergo a significant transformation if a newly revealed proposal goes through: it could move from its own blockchain to Solana.

Published today, the HIP 70 proposal describes why Helium’s core developers want to move the network from their own custom chain to Solana, a leading smart contract platform used for decentralized apps (dapps), NFTsand decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols. In short, the developers believe it will improve Helium’s speed, stability and ability to serve more users.

“Solana offers significant advantages to Helium that include, but are not limited to, scale, community, and composability,” reading a blog post from the Helium Foundation. “This change will be significant in scope, impact and benefit to the Helium network and its users.”

Under the proposal, the Helium network was to move all tokens—HNT, IOT, MOBILE and DC (Data Credits)—from its own blockchain to Solana. It would also be trusted oraclesor non-blockchain third-party data sources to manage Helium’s proof-of-coverage infrastructure and data transfer accounting functionality.

“The Helium community will gain a thriving developer ecosystem with thousands of developers worldwide working on applications that are only possible on Solana due to its fast and cheap transactions,” the proposal said.

Helium is a distributed wireless network that offers users crypto tokens as a reward for sharing internet service at home with a wider community. For example, a user can run a Helium node (or hotspot) connected to their modem or router, and then earn crypto tokens by securing the network and allowing nearby devices to share their connection.

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First launched with a network designed for internet of things (IoT) devices such as trackers and sensors, the platform has so far attracted more than 935,000 active node operators, according to current data. More recently, Helium launched a 5G network built for phones, tablets and other devices, which currently has around 3,300 nodes online.

The Helium Foundation and Nova Labs– a startup comprised of the network’s founders and some core developers – recently announced plans to embrace a “network of networks” approach and expand beyond the original HNT reward token. With IOT, MOBILE and other future tokens, Helium aims to incorporate a wider range of decentralized wireless protocols.

In the post announcing the Solana migration proposal, Helium’s developers said that when they first launched the network, there were few layer-1 blockchain platforms and it made the most sense to build their own. But as the network has scaled, they believe it makes sense to embrace an open source platform like Solana, which is built to handle large numbers of transactions.

“With the tremendous maturity that Helium has seen, the blockchain and crypto ecosystem has also matured with it,” the post said. “There are now a myriad of L1 options to build on. Instead of spending time and effort improving Helium’s L1, it became clear that the Helium community could benefit from the development and shared resources of the larger industry.”

In addition, the proposal claims that a greater share of HNT reward tokens will flow to node operators, or miners, after the move to Solana, with a 6.85% increase over the current model. The proposal claims it will generate more than 2 million additional HNT in the first two years, or more than $11.1 million at today’s prices.

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The Helium Foundation will hold a token-based community vote on the proposal beginning September 12th and ending September 18th. No timeline was revealed for the planned migration should the proposal be approved.

Helium recently ran into controversy when a pair of purported brand partners — cloud software giant Salesforce and ride-sharing scooter startup Lime — said they were not connected to the wireless crypto network.

A Nova Labs representative told Decrypt that Helium would adopt a “stricter” process for determining official partnerships. Helium co-founder Amir Haleem tweeted at the time that the network’s developers had “verbal approvals” from the firms contesting the partnerships, but that it would introduce a more formal approach to securing marketing approvals.

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