StartKryptowährung NewsBlockchain Success Stories by Sir John Hargrave, Evan Karnoupakis

    Blockchain Success Stories by Sir John Hargrave, Evan Karnoupakis

    Founded in 2013 by Amir Haleem, a championship video gamer, and Shawn Fanning of Napster fame, Helium’s original business idea was to create a giant wireless network, like a cellular network, but for the low-cost, low-power, low-bandwidth world of sensors. Before the Internet of Things was even a thing, the two entrepreneurs saw that tiny sensors would soon be embedded in millions of devices: thermostats, fire alarms, kitchen appliances, inventory trackers, and maybe eventually your dog.

    All these devices had one thing in common: they would need a low-cost, low-power wireless connection to the internet (Figure 4-1).

    By 2014, Amir and Shawn’s idea had evolved into creating a wireless network out of millions of hotspots. These hotspots would connect with hotspots around them, like repeaters that boost a wireless signal within your home, creating a kind of decentralized mesh network. Instead of the cell towers of centralized phone companies (large and expensive), a network of volunteers would host mini cell towers that connected to each other (small and inexpensive).

    The idea of a decentralized network was taking hold in Cuba, where citizens were fed up with the slow and expensive internet service provided by the state-owned telecommunications company. With a do-it-yourself work ethic, citizens formed a grassroots Street Network, eventually known as SNET, hosted by a huge network of volunteers who set up and maintained wireless stations from their homes and apartments across the island.2

    But that was Cuba; this was the US, where internet service was already cheap and fast. If Helium wanted to blanket the country with its own wireless network—a US version of SNET—how could the team convince people to set up hotspots, much less install them in high windows or rooftops where they would get maximum coverage?

    The Helium founders had a few other false starts, but the extra time worked in their favor. By 2016, their prediction had come true: an ecosystem of small devices needed to connect to the internet. Scooters. E-bikes. Lawn sprinklers. And yes, even your dog (or at least your dog collar). The Internet of Things was officially a thing.

    They saw that the millions (soon to be billions) of tiny sensors had specific needs that were much different from a those of a cell phone:

    Battery life Measured in years, not hours Size Small enough to fit on many devices (scooters, dog leashes, etc.) Location tracking Without needing an expensive cellular connection Long range The ability to connect over entire cities Encryption Secure enough to transfer sensitive personal data (the location of your pet or valuables)

    The extra time worked in their favor in another way: as many television stations switched to digital, they were auctioning off their unused bandwidth spectrum. At the same time, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was opening up new wireless frequencies that didn’t require a license. As the entrepreneurs saw it, these devices would need only a slice of that spectrum, and there was plenty of it.

    They had a model of what they wanted: a nationwide network of Helium Hotspots, which they came to call The People’s Network. But how would they get the people to build the network? How could they get these Hotspots to sell like hotcakes?

    It was Shawn, the Napster creator, who first said it as a joke: “What if we could get these things to mine bitcoin?”

    Find more: Helium blockchain – Krypto-NFTs

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