Helium, Napster creator’s Shawn Fanning’s new company, released its wireless IoT (Internet of Things) hotspot devices that have a blockchain incentives program. The news was published on Helium’s blog on June 12.
Helium is a startup that utilizes blockchain technology for wireless connectivity. The release of its new Hotspot coincided with the announcement that it had raised $15 million in a Series C funding round.
Making Wireless Internet Cheaper
The Helium Hotspot is the company’s biggest product launch since it was founded in 2013 by Amir Haleem, the current Chief Executive Officer of the company, Shawn Fanning and Sean Carey, a software engineer.
The aim is that with such hotspot devices, Helium will be able to change the direction of low-powered internet devices, and also attract customers with rewards in cryptocurrencies.
The Hotspot is not like other hotspot devices that provide high-speed internet for cell phones and laptops. In fact, according to Haleem, the company’s LongFi technology is able to cover an area 200 times bigger than current WiFi connections, and that only 50 to 100 Hotspots would be required to cover an entire city.
Haleem stated that with the hotspot, dog owners would be able to track lost pets wearing smart collars. And the company already has a use case with Lime, the scooter startup, which plans to use the Helium Hotspot to track its scooters. Haleem stated that currently there was no way to connect such devices economically, so the company was working with multiple customers to resolve this issue urgently.
The Hotspot is available for $495 and anyone in the United States can buy it and connect to a WiFi network. This device will then create its own network across a long-range area for others to use. Owners of the Hotspot can then let companies like Lime and InvisiLeash use of their network. They will then be rewarded in a new cryptocurrency that is being developed by Helium.
The New Digital Asset by Helium
Helium is launching a new cryptocurrency alongside the Hotspot, but there will be no coins on offer. The only way to get the tokens would be through mining, and that every month 50,000 coins would be created.
The management at Helium has already been in talks with the US SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) and is confident that the new coin – named Helium coin – will be fully compliant with federal regulations.
Hotspot owners will be able to use a Helium mobile app to keep track of the rewards they earn from allowing other devices to connect to their network and from mining for the crypto.