The Helium Network

In 2013, Helium began tackling the global wireless problem: A lack of ubiquity. For any entity to provide global coverage, it requires local contracts based on regional standards. It wasn't until 2019 that the Helium network as we know it now began to form. 


In the Summer of 2019 in Austin, TX, a group of core engineers envisioned a peer-to-peer network that could be used to provide coverage to IoT sensors. With Covid-19 about to put the world on lockdown, giving them time to connect and work with organizations who would wind up playing integral roles in Helium's genesis, but also drove home the impact of supply chain issues, resource scarcity, infrastructure inequality, and many other issues that were being exacerbated by the pandemic. This further compelled the team to work toward their goal to facilitate a more equitable future.

Helium Foundation, which at that time was known as Decentralized Wireless Alliance (DeWi), fosters research and development where p2p and blockchain innovation intersects with radio hardware and sensor development. In 2022, Helium and DeWi acquired an additional $200 million, after which Helium's core developers underwent a name change to Nova Labs, and DeWi became Helium Foundation. 

"How can we make the world a better place? I know it sounds trite, but truly. That's what we're trying to do." 

Helium COO, Scott Sigel

You can learn more about the investors who support Helium and Nova here.


"Nova Labs is the pioneer of decentralized wireless communications and founder of the core technologies powering the Helium Network. Co-founded by Shawn Fanning and Amir Haleem in 2013, Nova Labs (formerly Helium Inc.) is the pioneer of decentralized wireless communications and the founding team that launched the core technologies powering the Helium Network. 


Nova Labs is backed by many notable parties  Andreessen Horowitz, Goodyear Ventures, GV (formerly Google Ventures),  Multicoin Capital, and Pantera Capital. Nova Labs remains dedicated to building critical network infrastructure and technologies to support the decentralization of wireless on a global scale. More information can be found at"



Helium Foundation, previously known as Decentralized Wireless Alliance, had the Helium brand assets transferred to them by Nova labs. Helium Foundation oversees an extensive grant program that provides individuals and groups funding, technical support, and community resources for projects that help accelerate the growth of the Helium ecosystem.

Learn more on their website, where you can apply directly for a grant. Helium Foundation 


The Helium Blockchain is the framework on which the Helium network is built. The blockchain hosts historical HNT transaction data, new transactions made, and rules about how the software functions.

LoRa®  IoT Devices

Wireless devices with low data requirements that can send and receive information over long-distance radio transmissions. From environmental sensors that monitor the weather to tracking devices to keep tabs on logistical assets like packages or trucks, the Internet of Things (IoT) provides wireless connectivity  to these devices on a personal and industrial scale. Helium hotspots utilize LoRa


As the Helium Coverage map continues to grow, electric scooter rental companies, for example, will be able to negotiate service contracts with Helium based on the coverage in their area. You can help fill in the map in your region, which will help promote sensor usage and network growth, promoting the Helium token's longevity. 

Here is an excellent guide on how to get started from scratch or use a RAK Helium Mapper Kit


Every epoch, the consensus group mines approximately 30 blocks. Hotspots are rewarded for the various work they perform and are awarded according to the following distribution:

  • PoC Challenger

Rewarded to any Hotspot that creates a valid PoC challenge and submits the corresponding receipt to the blockchain.


  • PoC Challengees

Awarded to any Hotspot that transmits a PoC packet after being targeted by the challenger.


  • Witnesses

Distributed to all Hotspots that witness a beacon packet as part of a PoC Challenge.


  • Consensus Group

Divided equally among the Validators that are part of the outgoing Consensus Group, responsible for mining blocks.


  • Security

Awarded to Helium, Inc and other Network investors who hold Security Tokens.


  • Network Data Transfer
Distributed each epoch to Hotspots that route LongFi sensor data for sensors on the network during that epoch.

Below are the mining rewards per epoch as of August 1, 2021. For every complete epoch marked by the election of a new Consensus Group, all the HNT produced are distributed over the following reward types:


Reward Type


HNT Earned by Reward Type

PoC Challenger

0.90% - 2.11%

15.6250 - 36.6319

PoC Challengees

5.02% - 11.78%

87.1527 - 204.5139


20.08% - 47.11%

348.6111 - 817.8819

Consensus Group



Security Tokens



Network Data Transfer

Up to 35%

Up to 607.6389





Light vs Full Hotspots  

Before Light Hotspots, miners were required to sync with the blockchain. These hotspots are now referred to colloquially as Full Hotspots to distinguish them from their new function, Light Hotspots. The proof of coverage remains the same, but rather than using the computational power required to sync to the blockchain, validator's now sync on behalf of hotspots and submit challenges to beacon. This allows our hotspots to provide more consistent proof of coverage, which leads to better rewards. 


Validators help distribute and decentralize the network. They verify transaction data, perform consensus mechanisms, challenge hotspots to submit beacons, and add new blocks to the blockchain. Validators must stake 10,000HNT against their participation, which will be forfeited if they attempt to cheat the network. Over 30% of all HNT in circulation is currently locked in stake, which provides security to its investors. 


Consensus is a fault-tolerant mechanism used in computer blockchain systems to verify an agreed-upon single value or data set. This allows validators to prove their work qualifies them for the right to add a block to the blockchain. 

Data-Only Hotspots

Data Only hotspots perform data transfer in exchange for rewards on the network but are ineligible for Proof of Coverage rewards. Since they do not perform PoC, they can be added to the blockchain without permission. Many DIY instructions are available for building your own Data Only hotspot, but remember that you will only be rewarded HNT for transferring data. 


Rewards Distribution.

Network Usage

The Helium Network currently provides LoRaWAN to IoT devices, from weather sensors to electric scooters and bikes, and is rolling out an ambitious 5G global network. Learn more here. The future of HNT mining rewards will be based on the quantity of data transfer taking place over the network. You may find setting up your own sensors not only adds a use-case utility to Helium but can also be a lot of fun. All outdoor enclosures should be equipped with a temperature/humidity sensor to monitor your hardware's exposure to the elements. If you'd like to get started with sensors, check out the Awesome-Helium GitHub Repository, which will get you acquainted with various sensors. 

Check out the Helium RAK Developer Kit!

With this kit, you can build you own Helium Mapper, and still have enough remaining components to assemble a highly capable Environmental/Weather Sensor. Try introducing friends, or local businesses to some of the incredible industrial, agricultural, and infrastructural ingenuity made accessible by LoRa. Letting them know an affordable 5G option is on the way wouldn't hurt either, they may be interested to know they can earn cryptocurrency passively by competing with telecom corporations! 


Have you seen the new MNTD. 5G HNT Hotspot yet?


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