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in STEMGeeks2 months ago

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In a shocking turn of events I was introduced to a "new" blockchain project by a colleague the other day. You would think since I work in technology, it shouldn't be that shocking, but the fact is the people in my field don't really dabble with blockchain too much.

Maybe it is just a Michigan thing or I was talking to the wrong group of people, but a couple of years ago I was sharing about blockchain/cryptocurrency/Hive, etc. and they looked at me like I was speaking a totally different language.

Anyway, this tech director at another school was approached by one of his staff members about the Helium Project. I was on my way to a side job, but I did a little bit of preliminary research on the token to provide some feedback to him.

According to CoinGecko, the token has a pretty decent value and from what I saw yesterday it had a daily trading value of somewhere around $3,000,000.00. Definitely not on par with BTC, but better than many other projects I have seen that have much more name recognition.

After mulling it over last night, I decided to dig into the project a little more and ascertain the feasibility of such a solution. Of course the general consensus among my peers (and myself) was that it wouldn't be ethical to run this type of solution at the school district utilizing the districts power for personal gain.


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Sorry, here I have been talking about it and I haven't explained what it is.

So basically Helium is a long range WiFi network that uses these special access points to provide wireless access to users, but they also mine the HNT token by doing what is called a proof of coverage. If there are no other access points near you it uses your Internet connection to basically show proof of a "heartbeat" and you earn some HNT.

The bigger benefit comes into play when you have several of these units (which cost about $300 to $500) close together and they start creating a sort of mesh network and showing "proof of coverage". That is when you start earning a more substantial portion of HNT.

For example, there is a Helium node out in the country near where I work with no other nodes near it for probably 100 miles and it is making about 30 HNT per day. On the flip side there is a large network of these units in the Port Huron, MI area and one of those is hauling in 20 to 30 HNT per hour.

I started considering if I could implement one of these at home. Then I started thinking about the implications of providing Internet (unfiltered) from my personal IP address.

That's when I started looking at the devices more closely and I realized something... They specifically say these are for IoT connections. The amount of data that is probably running through them is pretty negligible. You actually have to burn your HNT tokens into another proprietary token to pay the "toll" to send data to the Internet.

I think in the right situation, this could probably be a pretty cool thing. I wouldn't be surprised if the units in Port Huron are owned by the city and used to monitor the sensors in the city sewer pumps or something like that. Then again, it could just be a group of friends connecting their smart toasters and raking in the cash.

Either way, it makes me a bit curious about what the guy out in a farm field near where I work is monitoring. Probably the grow lights for his weed crop I bet...

Anyway, if you have a robust IoT network and you are looking for a way to earn YAT (yet another token) then give it a deeper look. You can't deny it is an interesting concept.

This is not financial advice, invest at your own risk, yada yada yada.


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So much monitoring these days...
Will you get into this project?

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I don't think so. The cost up front is too much. Unless you can distribute it on a large scale I don't think the ROI time is feasible.

So does it allow for low bandwidth wifi over a large area? I assume you could throttle it to prevent abuse. I have pretty good bandwidth that I would not mind sharing, but I expect that breaks the terms of my contract.

Yeah, I think your contract is the kicker. That was one of my biggest concerns. I think it gave a distance of a mile in a largely populated area and about five to nine miles with little obstacles. The units themselves have to be a certain distance apart (I am guessing to avoid abuse like farming). It is definitely an interesting concept. If it really is that town who implemented it across about 30 units, they stand to pull in about $600 per day.

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