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Helium (HNT) remains a pioneering force in the blockchain IoT (Internet of Things) sector. The platform introduced a commodity-driven approach to IoT service providers. Today, Helium is a popular option that offers its services globally. Here are some of the vital upgrades that have helped Helium remain a strong contender in the blockchain IoT industry.
Notably, Helium is currently regarded as the largest LoRaWAN network in the world. The Helium ecosystem currently shows more than 100,000 active devices leveraging its services. Additionally, the protocol has been involved in adding approximately 1 million hotspots to support their efforts.
Helium (HNT) Migrated to Solana
Helium recently made its largest technical upgrade to date when it converted its layer 1 from a native blockchain over to Solana. The maneuver improved scalability, functionality, interoperability, and liquidity within the system. These changes were accompanied by some additional benefits that can't be overlooked.
One of the main changes is the introduction of the utility token SOL – which can now be used as an option for Helium users to pay fees. In the past, the HNT token was the only option to pay network fees so the upgrade adds flexibility. Additionally, the integration of SOL improves usability considerably as SOL is more popular than HNT in terms of community use.
Solana Program Library (SPL)
As part of the upgrade, developers enjoy streamlined development using the Solana Program Library. This helpful group of modules streamlines the creation and issuance of digital assets and networks. As part of this move, the Helium network will now function under the SPL standard. SPL is already in use across a large variety of wallets DEXs, CEXs, DeFi, and gaming options in the Solana ecosystem.
No More Layer 1 Maintenance – Helium (HNT)
One of the biggest benefits of the upgrade is the elimination of developers' layer 1 responsibilities. The Helium team was forced to spend an increasing amount of time on maintaining the layer 1 operation of the ecosystem. Specifically, the proof-of-coverage and communications aspects of the system required a lot of daily effort.
The new structure leverages Solana's established and highly scalable network. Now, developers can focus on the core services offered by Helium and not on scalability issues and technical problems which were often their main focus until the upgrade. This decision also lowers the development costs and times for third parties who seek to build on Helium's IoT infrastructure.
Lower Gas Fees
Another vital concern for developers was to lower the gas fees for network functionalities. Gas fees are what network nodes get paid to execute functions. The original structure saw users pay an average of $.35 per transaction. The upgrade to Solana slashed those fees to far less than a penny. Specifically, the average transaction fee on Solana is $0.00025.
Lowering gas fees opens the door for more complex and immersive applications. It also enables developers to offer more services for less cost. These factors help to drive adoption and innovation forward.
New Smart Contract Capabilities
Helium users gain some new programmability in terms of smart contracts. For example, Users can now track their logistics networks in real-time. These systems can include more options such as closed-loop temperature monitoring. The upgrades make Helium ideal for certain logistical tasks such as transporting vaccines or other medications globally.
The demand for an improved tracking and validation system for medications has long been a goal of the sector. Every year, thousands of people die from bad and counterfeit medications. Helium offers a low-cost way to monitor and authenticate these items from anywhere in the world in real-time.
The Solana update also saw Helium introduce a variety of off-chain oracles to streamline network processes. Oracles are sensors that can communicate data to and from the blockchain. Helium uses them to handle processing tasks which reduces congestion on the mainnet. It also eliminates slow data transmissions due to altered chain uptime.
No More Mining HNT
One change that miners will undoubtedly notice from day one is the elimination of HNT mining. The original structure saw HLoRaWAN Hotspots mine the token as part of their consensus and network monitoring systems. Moving forward, the network will no longer offer HNT mining rewards as SOL is the main utility token moving forward.
Helium Governance Model
The community enjoys a new governance model alongside the upgrade. The main changes include removing the HNT weighted system that was in place since the network's launch. This type of early governance enabled users to stake more tokens to gain more voting rights. While it proved effective it was limited in its scope and often led to certain users gaining more say than others.
The new governance model leverages a vote-escrow arrangement which provides more flexibility to the community. Specifically, it makes it possible to leverage the governance system in more aspects of the project. This approach is ideal as Helium is the backbone of a growing number of enterprise-grade decentralized networks.
Solana Developers Benefit
The Helium to Solana migration wasn’t a one-sided arrangement. Solana users and developers gain access to Helium's unique features and services. They can seamlessly integrate this tech into their projects to improve tracking across a wide spectrum of categories. Currently, there are Helium IoT sensors that monitor water quality, wildfires, foot traffic, location, temperature, and much more.
The merger also opens the door for Solana developers to qualify for Helium grants. The Helium Foundation is a nonprofit organization tasked with expanding the Helium network. They control the project's treasury and grant program. Developers that create networks that add utility to the ecosystem can submit for a grant.
Helium (HNT) – a Pioneer in the Market
When you examine the growth Helium has experienced over the last few years, it's easy to see that the network brings real value to the industry. Impressively, the Helium network offers coverage in over 77,00 cities including some of the largest in the world such as London, New York, Berlin, and many others. These services are sure to improve as the network continues to pioneer new efforts. You can learn more about Helium here.
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