Oct. 4, 2022
Helium was founded in 2013 by game designer Amir Haleem and Napster co-founder Shawn Fanning.
It was originally called “Skynet Phase 1” – referencing the genocidal computer system from the Terminator films.
Poor name choice aside, the company sought to create a network for the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT encompasses the recent trend of connecting everything to the internet – even mundane household appliances — and it was a category that was of high interest to venture capital firms during that time.
By 2017, the company had pivoted to the crypto space by offering an IoT-focused decentralized network. And they had wisely changed their name from the human-annihilating computer AI to simply, Helium. The launch of this network was timely – 2019 – as it came in the depths of the last crypto bear market.
Early adopters purchased devices, or hotspots, that looked similar to WiFi routers. Plugging these devices in and acting as hotspots for the Helium network allowed people to mine large amounts of Helium Network Tokens (HNT) in return.
The founders and early investors were the ones who seemed to make out the most – amassing the majority of HNT tokens in the project’s earliest days. This is not unusual in the crypto world but did give the project something of a Ponzi scheme vibe.
But as the crypto bull market arrived in earnest in 2021, people were clamoring to get their hands on a Helium device hoping it would be the path to generating passive income.
Many were disappointed, however, as they often waited months for their hotspots to arrive and found that their rewards were less than enticing. Helium hotspots in August 2019 were earning an average of 33,000 HNT per month. Later, that number would fall to around 2 HNT per month.
HNT’s price peaked at $55.00 per token in November 2021. With the advent of “crypto winter,” those same tokens trade at around $5.00 today.
Many people who were lured in by the promise of passive riches felt burned by the project.
The company is now pivoting yet again and says it’s building Helium 5G.
This project aims to provide a decentralized network for the next generation of cellular devices. It has purportedly partnered with large wireless carriers, Dish (NASDAQ: DISH) and T-Mobile (NASDAQ: TMUS).
Similar to its previous iteration, users will purchase and operate hotspots to earn a new token, MOBILE.
Helium community members recently voted overwhelmingly to move the network from its current blockchain over to Solana. This will effectively transfer all tokens, applications, and governance protocols to the new network.
Doing so will help scale the protocol and provide efficient transactions with increased interoperability.
As a fan of the Solana blockchain, I think this was a smart move by Helium. And it highlights the growing popularity of Solana as a major layer-1 competitor to Ethereum. As I’ve stated before, many people are turned off by Ethereum’s high fees.
It’s still too early to know if MOBILE will follow a similar path to HNT. But it’s certainly worth keeping an eye on the project.
I keep my readers up to date in my premium publication Crypto Cycle, where you can also learn how to purchase these smaller market-cap tokens safely.
Editor, Daily Profit Cycle