Helium was founded to create a low-cost data network that IoT devices could access using consumer WiFi as its backend.
Last year, Helium released a white paper for a decentralized wireless network that uses publicly available radio frequency to solve the last-mile problem of connecting IoT devices and the public internet.
The company sells its Helium Hotspot for $495. The device connects to users' existing home WiFi networks and serves as a hub for IoT devices in the area to feed data back to Helium's databases.
The Helium blockchain actually has two tokens: helium and data credits.
Once created, data credits can never leave the wallet that created them, except to be spent on the Helium network for transferring data.
Helium hotspots mine helium tokens in various ways, such as by performing operations that secure the network and also by providing useful services.
For the first several years, a diminishing piece of the monthly supply will go to Helium as the "Founder's reward," and the company can use some portion of this as a supply for its first customers.
If an IoT device is associated with a helium wallet, it can use the network anywhere it exists in the world, which Jain pointed out makes hardware creation much easier than the status quo, where different products have to be designed for different telcos everywhere a company wants to use them.
Once it proves out the IoT use case, Helium wants to pursue others.
Helium sees a competitive advantage in its architecture allowing the market to determine where to deploy and permitting users to send data with per-packet pricing, as needed.
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