The Helium project was founded in 2013, and its vision was to create a decentralized wireless infrastructure based on a LoRaWAN network. This is a type of connection that can handle only data of limited size but transmit over longer ranges. One of the possible use cases for such infrastructure is the Internet of Things (IoT).
In 2017 Helium team successfully jumped on the blockchain train by migrating its network accounting on a blockchain. The 'Helium decentralized network' started as a one-layer blockchain where its nodes, the hotspots, were both transmitting earned tokens to each other, as well as participating in consensus. Following the upgrade in 2021, an additional layer of validators was added that required staking a minimum amount of 10,000 HNT (around $15,000 at that time).
With the introduction of token-based incentives, Helium had expanded its money-raising option by introducing coin sales and crypto-focused VCs. Yet, some observers note that blockchain was hindering the rapid commercial expansion of the project. So, the company has chosen to abandon its blockchain development and 'delegate' it to professionals. In February this year, Helium announced migration to Solana.
The migration of the Helium project to the Solana blockchain was initially scheduled for March 27th. But, on March 17th, an announcement appeared on the Helium blog that the migration would be moved to April 18th to prepare the community for the migration.
On April 18th, the migration of Helium to Solana was successfully completed. Helium informed the community about this on Twitter.
The main shock for the hotpot owners was that in addition to the already existing Helium project token, HNT, a new one has appeared – IOT. This token is a governance token to manage Helium's IoT subDAO. Helium network members' hotspots automatically started earning this token after the project was migrated to Solana.
Next, transaction costs will now be charged in Solana's SOL token instead its native Helium tokens. Each participant of the Helium network received 3 SOL (about $60) airdop on the day of the migration to cover the transaction costs during the early period of transition.
The IOT token has significantly increased in price after the migration. According to Coinmarketcap, IOT increased from $0.00043 to $0.002317 from April 24th to April 27th. This is an increase of almost 440%. At the time of writing, it was floating at $0.0008.
Most cryptocurrency exchanges supported the migration of Helium to Solana and announced that they would help users transfer their tokens. But, one of the leading players in the crypto market, Binance, behaved strangely. Binance did not support the migration and delisted the HNT token on its platform. Helium developers 'conveyed their disappointment' with this decision and recommended that users withdraw their tokens from Binance to secure the Helium ecosystem.
In preparation for the migration, Helium has also taken measures to make life easier for its customers who use Ledger hardware wallets. An application has been released specially for them, which helps to complete the migration successfully.
For the users of Helium Wallet app, the transition run smoothly, with their tokens and hotspots automatically migrated to Solana.
So far, the migration of Helium to Solana has been successful. A week after the migration, more than 50% of the Helium state has been activated on Solana.
What Solana partnership brings to Helium?
Bringing Helium on Solana is expected to provide possibilities for using smart contracts, will speed up transactions, and will decrease their transaction fees.
Also, as Helium team also posted earlier, that was a strategic shift that would allow: "Helium core-developers and community [to] focus on building wireless protocols and enabling utility on these networks".
What Helium partnership brings to Solana?
Having a project like Helium is also a huge win for Solana. First, SOL gets additional utility as a transaction fee coin. This is important not only for the adoption of SOL, but also healthy for Solana's internal tokenomic.
Next, as part of the migration process, each physical hotspot running on Helium network will receive its digital representation as NFT on Solana. It means minting around 1 million NFTs on Solana.
Solana was progressing in NFT before Helium partnership too. They substantially decreased NFT transaction fees – something that was holding back the development of this industry on blockchains. According to Delphi Digital's research done in February this year, Solana was the second-largest NFT ecosystem.
Do you operate a Helium hotspot? Share your experience in the comments or join our Observers team to watch this amazing development!