what is helium mining

What is Helium Mining? How Does Helium Mining Work?

What is Helium mining? Have you heard of the Helium Network before? Many people have heard of Bitcoin and other altcoins such as Ethereum and Litecoin. The Helium cryptocurrency, or HNT, is another altcoin that has been around since 2017 and can supposedly power the Internet of Things by providing decentralized wireless infrastructure via its many hotspots.

I currently use a Helium hotspot as one of my many passive income streams. In this article, I’ll be going over questions like what is Helium mining is, how does Helium mining work, is Helium mining is worth it, and how you can start mining Helium yourself! Keep reading to get everything about Helium mining explained.

Note: If you’re looking to invest in cryptocurrency, make sure to read my article about cryptocurrency scams you should avoid while investing!

what is helium mining

What is the Helium Network?

The Helium Network was initially started in 2013 as Helium, Inc. in an attempt to partner with business owners to install their LoRa gateway hotspots in exchange for conventional fiat currency. In 2017, funds were running low and Helium was on the brink of collapse so they turned to cryptocurrency to award people for installing hotspots in their homes. The Helium Blockchain was officially launched on July 29, 2019 and was a huge success. People are still buying hotspots to this today so that they can earn Helium cryptocurrency, or HNT. In 2022, Helium rebranded as Nova Labs Inc. and raised $200 million in funding.

The Helium Network is a decentralized network using low-power smart devices to transmit data to and from the Internet. Individuals choose to buy hotspots or miners in order to receive rewards in Helium tokens, which is abbreviated as HNT. A Helium mining device is small enough to place anywhere and anyone can have many hotspots as they’d like, as long as there are locations to place them.

Note: To learn more about cryptocurrency as a whole and about Bitcoin, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, click here!

What is Helium?

Helium is generally referred to as the Helium Network. A Helium cryptocurrency token is called HNT but sometimes used interchangeably with the word Helium. The cryptocurrency is not required for the wireless network and is simply awarded to owners of the Helium hotspots for various actions with their hotspots such as providing coverage and verifying the Helium Network.

What is Helium Mining?

So what is Helium mining? Helium mining is when you are awarded Helium tokens, or HNT, for proof of network on the Helium Network. The hotspots act as nodes in the Helium Network and help provide a decentralized wireless network. HNT is warded in a variety of ways in which I’ll elaborate below.

Helium Mining Hotspots

Helium mining hotspots are the way individuals get awarded Helium tokens. Each hotspot is placed in its own individual hex, which are specific locations on the global map.

What is a Helium Hex?

A Helium hex is how the Helium network divides geographical locations. Each Helium hex is 0.74 square kilometers. You can find your own hex on the Helium mining map here. By looking at the hex that you’re planning to put your Helium hotspot in, you can determine if the area you are in is oversaturated, completely empty, and more. It’s ideal to place your Helium miner in an empty hex but somewhere that is nearby other hexes that have hotspots so that you can have the maximum transmit scale with transmission to as many Helium hotspots as possible.

How Do I Buy a Helium Miner?

There are a variety of authorized hotspots that you can purchase on the Helium website. Some of the most popular ones include Bobcat, FreedomFI, and MNTD. All of these have been approved by the community and Helium Manufacturing Oversight Committee. It’s important to do your own research as being authorized by the Helium Network doesn’t necessarily mean that the hotspot is endorsed or recommended.

Many, if not all, of these approved Helium hotspot manufacturers, only accept cryptocurrency for payment. I personally bought a Bobcat 300 and they accepted USDC via the Coinbase exchange. Make sure you learn about how to send cryptocurrency properly to the correct address or your funds will get lost in the blockchain.

Should I Buy Used Helium Miners for Sale?

Buying used hotspots or new hotspots from resellers is a big risk and a gamble. If the hotspot has been activated in any way, there is no way that you’ll be able to use it without the seller officially transferring the hotspot over to you. Follow the steps here to make sure the seller properly transfer the Helium hotspot to you.

When buying a used helium miner for sale, be sure to also first check if it’s on the Helium deny list. These hotspots have previously tried to cheat the system and steal HNT and will not be rewarded Helium tokens for being on the network.

It’s also good to be aware that the seller is responsible for a 55,000 DC hotspot transfer fee when transferring a hotspot to a new owner. Transferring hotspot owners is recorded on the blockchain and is irreversible.

How Does Helium Mining Work?

There are various ways that your Helium miner partake in the Helium Network to earn rewards. These include PoC challengees, PoC challenger, witnesses, consensus group, security, and network data transfer. You don’t have to do anything after putting your Helium hotspot to participate in any of these–your Helium hotspot will automatically participate.

Helium Mining Profitability

The profitability of having a Helium miner varies strongly on where you live. There are many locations that are oversaturated that won’t return much income. Locations that have a couple hotspots per hex on the Helium hex map are most likely to be the most profitable because you aren’t splitting your transmit scale between various hotspots in your hex but you’re still reaping the benefit of having multiple hotspots to transmit signals to. For this article, I’ll be showcasing Helium mining profits in two different locations in the United States.

Helium Mining Price

Helium mining costs anywhere from $400 to $1000 to startup. I personally spent around $500 on my Bobcat 300 miner and $50 on my antenna. I personally used this antenna here. While this is a sizable startup cost, it’s important to remember that this miner will be generating passive income with minimal electricity costs.

What Does Helium Mining Profits Depend On?

After location, the amount of income you can generate with a Helium miner depends on how far your hotspot antenna can reach to other hotspots and high how your hotspot antenna is. As you can imagine, the higher in elevation your antenna is, the less obstacles it will see and the more it will be able to transmit signals to other hotspots, providing proof of coverage and therefore being awarded HNT.

Helium Mining Profits

Here is a Helium miner’s profits in Los Angeles, California for the past 30 days. With HNT hovering around $9 a token as of late July, this miner is earning $4.59 every 30 days, or $0.15 per day. With Helium’s website, you can track statistics like how much your hotspot has mined over the past couple days, its activity, what hotspots it has witnessed, and nearby hotspots.

helium mining profitability los angeles

On the contrary, here’s a hotspot on the outskirts of Indianapolis, Indiana. This miner earned $54.40 over the past 30 days, which equates to around $1.81 per day. That’s $660.65 in passive income per year!

helium mining profitability indianapolis

Is Helium Mining Worth it?

Like any other cryptocurrency projects, Helium has its risks. Helium is not backed by the government and the price of the Helium token, HNT, is simply based off speculation and supply and demand. This goes for the same as Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency.

Whether Helium mining is worth it really depends on you and if you see a future for cryptocurrency and specifically its decentralized wireless network. For being completely passive income and for the Helium hotspot using less than 5 watts of electricity, it may be worth it if you live in a location that isn’t as saturated with hotspots. However, mining Helium does have a startup cost and it could take years to make up the cost of the hotspot if mining is not optimized.

How to Setup Helium Miner

Once you receive your miner from your vendor, it’s time to add your miner to the Helium Network! Follow these steps to setup your Helium miner.

  1. Download the Helium app.
  2. Go to Hotspots and click +. Choose your brand of hotspot from this menu.
  3. Continue with the steps on the Helium app and plugin your hotspot and connect it to your Internet. Make sure your antenna connected to your hotspot has a clear view of its surroundings and the sky.
  4. Depending on what brand of hotspot you got, you may need to keep it plugged in for a while before it can connect to the Helium Network. I personally had to wait a couple hours for my Bobcat 300 miner.
  5. Once you’re connected, you’ll receive your 12 words that you need to write down to ever login to Helium or withdraw your earnings. Don’t lose or forget these words!

And that’s it! You should start transmitting signals and witnessing other hotspots to be awarded in Helium cryptocurrency tokens.

Helium News

In October 2021, Dish announced a partnership with Helium to provided decentralized wireless 5G for its users. Helium recently got accused about lying saying that Lime and Salesforce were using its network to power many of their devices. After this, Helium immediately took down Lime and Salesforce from their website without further comment.

Helium has had its fair share of positive and negative publicity and said that they would have a more rigorous approval process of what is seriously considered a brand partnership after what Lime and Salesforce have said.

Helium Mining – Final Thoughts

I personally have my own Helium hotspot and set it up recently to start earning passive income. While it’s not earning me much, I view it more as a hobby and collect HNT for speculative purposes. The idea of a decentralized wireless network has lots of potential but cryptocurrency as currency as a whole is still highly unregulated and leave more questions than answers. Will you start mining Helium? Let me know in the comments below!

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