"Hotspot Already Has an Owner" Error During Onboarding

Root Cause of the Error

If you receive a message stating "This Hotspot already has an owner" during onboarding, the Hotspot has been previously onboarded to the blockchain. Hotspots can only be onboarded one time and once onboarded, they cannot be removed from the blockchain.

During onboarding, the Hotspot is tied to whatever wallet is selected within the Helium Wallet App. After being onboarded and linked to a wallet, a Hotspot cannot be owned by no one, meaning it is always tied to the wallet which it was linked to during onboarding, unless ownership of the Hotspot NFT is transferred to another wallet.

There is no way to "reset" the onboarding of a Hotspot and remove it from the blockchain to allow for another onboarding. This is due to the fundamental properties of how blockchains work. Once a Hotspot has been onboarded, the only way to change which wallet it is linked to is to transfer ownership of the NFT from the old wallet to the new one.

Hotspots You Already Own

If a Hotspot you already own which you've previously onboarded yourself does not show up in your Helium wallet (in the Hotspots menu of the Helium Wallet App), you are logged into the wrong Helium wallet. You may have entered your seed phrase incorrectly and accidentally loaded a new empty wallet, or have entered the wrong wallet's seed phrase if you have multiple wallets.

This is most common when users get a new phone and need to log into their wallets again on the new device. If you still have access to the old device, you can access your wallet via the Helium Wallet App and reveal your seed phrase in the settings menu to back it up. Use this seed phrase to log into the wallet in the Helium Wallet App on your new device.

⚠️ WARNING: If you lose your seed phrase, you will permanently lose control of your Hotspot(s) and funds! Always keep a backup of your seed phrase and do not reveal your seed phrase to anyone!


Hotspots Purchased from Third Party

If you have purchased a used Hotspot from a third party and the device was not sealed or was previously used, it was most likely already onboarded to the blockchain by the previous owner.

If the Hotspot shows up on Helium Explorer and shows details such as a location, activity records, and antenna details this means the Hotspot was already onboarded to the blockchain previously. If the page does not load any details, or the search does not bring up any results with a matching Miner name then the Hotspot has not been onboarded.

🗒️ Note: More than one miner can share the same animal name.

If the Hotspot has been onboarded previously, you will not be able to onboard it to your wallet. Instead, you will need to contact the seller and have them transfer ownership of the Hotspot's NFT from the current wallet to your wallet. After ownership has been transferred, you will need to update the location of the Miner before it will begin Proof of Coverage activity, as well as update the antenna details.