We interrupt this bear market to bring you an update on Helium (HNT-USD). HNT is actually holding up…okay. While most crypto prices fell down a hill in May, struggled to find their bearings, then exploded and caught fire in June – Helium is actually starting to, well, lift off these past couple of weeks!
Now, Helium’s creators at Nova Labs are about to bring you two new cryptos: MOBILE this month, then IOT in August.
To understand why, let’s take in the big picture of Helium embarking on Chapter 2, as founder Amir Haleem calls it in his blog post.
Welcome to Helium’s “Cellular Summer”
Originally, “Helium was designed for IoT devices and the LoRaWAN wireless protocol,” Haleem notes in the blog. And by operating a Helium Hotspot, you could earn HNT crypto from sharing your connectivity – safely and securely.
That original network is perfect for “smart city” devices, scientists running environmental sensors, GPS trackers, etc. This bikeshare company, Lime, which rents out electric scooters and bikes in 200 cities, has used the Helium Network to keep track of them:
This is the kind of thing that’s gotten Helium press attention all the way up to The New York Times, for whom HNT inspired the memorable headline in February: “Maybe There’s a Use for Crypto After All.”
“From there, many other networks became eager to join our mission and apply the Helium crypto-economic model,” Haleem writes. But first, Helium needed “to decentralize and incentivize rapid deployment of all networks” – not just LoRaWAN.
So, within the decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) that helps govern Helium, there was a “Helium Improvement Proposal” (HIP) to make this happen – with similar crypto incentives for running all the Hotspots:
“Each wireless network supported by Helium (LoRaWAN, Wifi, 5G — referred to as wireless network protocols or WNPs) [will have] its own subDAO with its own token (referred to as wireless network tokens or WNTs).” This HIP 51 passed last week with 97% of the vote.
Now Helium can move into its “Cellular Summer.” Miners can run a Helium 5G Hotspot to start earning the new MOBILE crypto. “Existing LoRaWAN miners begin earning a new token, called IOT.”
“Either of those tokens can be exchanged for HNT as holders please, a process that Haleem likened to the former ability for U.S. dollars to be swapped for gold,” reports Decrypt. Each new token gets you governance rights within its respective division of Helium: 5G or IoT.
“With demand for Helium hardware currently outweighing supply, MoSoLabs could play a role in getting the tech into far more hands,” Luke Lango writes in his latest update for our Crypto Investor Network. MoSoLabs has stepped up to provide two new devices for Helium 5G – one indoor, one outdoor for “maximum coverage.”
High Demand for Helium, Indeed
I last wrote about Helium in April, regarding Hivemapper, a cool new dashcam that will mine crypto (and run on the Helium Network). And just since then, about 100,000 more Helium Hotspots have come online:
“Now over 828,000 Hotspots [are] deployed with a remarkable 5,000 cities added every month, and new applications using Helium daily by everyone from independent developers to large Fortune 500 companies,” according to the latest blog post.
Naturally, this has been good for the “Demand-Side Protocol Fees” that help Helium bring in revenue. It’s been slow going, but this fee revenue has picked up considerably the last few months.
In fact, Helium’s Fees chart is kind of the opposite of what we see with crypto prices! It’s up considerably in 2022 – although it’s hard to tell how much is organic demand versus testing your own (or a friend’s) Hotspot.
Nova Labs has certainly been signing new partnerships for usage of its original LoRaWAN network. “Embedded Works is joining Helium’s partner network to help develop solutions for food truck tracking and more,” we learned in the June 4 update for Crypto Investor Network. “The company also works with Lockheed Martin, Fresenius, and others.”
Another IoT company, Binary Beer, is utilizing the Helium Network for craft-beer kegs:
Its “KegLink sensors were created specifically for the draught beer industry, taking into account the harsh conditions a keg endures once it leaves a warehouse” to report which beers are being drank – and how fresh they are, according to the Helium announcement in May.
Beer & wine is one of those classic recession-proof industries. I don’t know about you, but I was always willing to run out for a six-pack and some groceries in 2020 and 2021 – even if that’s the only place I went that day, thanks to COVID-19. The Binary Beer/Helium announcement cites this figure from Fact.MR analysts:
“Craft beer sales are expected to reach $87 billion as of 2022… grow at a CAGR of 6.9% over the forecast period of 2022-2032 [and reach] $174.68 billion by 2032.”
These KegLink sensors will be there to help facilitate that 2X growth trajectory – and as they do, their local Helium Hotspot will earn its operator their crypto rewards accordingly.
Smart beer-kegs on the Helium Network are just one (fun) example of how these “protocols that provide real-world utility, like Render, Helium or Livepeer, will look more like investable companies to traditional asset managers,” as Byron Gilliam once put it in his Blockworks newsletter.
You can see how that’ll be helpful in a brutal bear market that’s testing everyone’s faith in crypto, generally. And before venture capitalists started closing their wallets, Nova Labs closed a $200 million funding round to help build out Helium’s networks! Stay tuned to see what they do with it going forward.
On the date of publication, Ashley Cassell did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines. To have more news from The New Digital World sent to your inbox, click here to sign up for the newsletter.