Crypto: What’s it good for?
This is a question I’m often asked.
What role will cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology play in our future?
The simple answer is that cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin provide a new form of money. One that isn’t fiat money or established by government regulation.
Bitcoin has been around since 2010. It lets you send something of digital value anywhere in the world as easy as sending an email.
And you don’t even need a bank or payment processor. All that’s required is an internet connection.
Bitcoin is quickly becoming a digital store of value as institutions begin to add it to their balance sheets.
OK, that’s great, Ian. What else can cryptocurrencies do?
Well, the thing that I’m most excited about is the idea that in a decentralized network, participants get ewarded for providing value.
Think about how bitcoin works. Anyone can purchase a Bitmain Antminer for around $2,300 and start mining bitcoin.
Mining takes energy and converts it into network security. It’s why the bitcoin network is virtually unbreakable.
Of course, bitcoin mining doesn’t provide any other utility except securing bitcoin transactions.
However, there’s a new cryptocurrency that’s creating a decentralized hotspot network where miners get paid to provide wireless coverage for Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
And the network’s growth over the last year has been exponential.
A Crypto Project for the IoT
One of the breakthroughs from blockchain is the concept of programmable money.
This means people can automatically be compensated for providing digital resources such as cloud storage, computational power and network bandwidth.
One of the most interesting projects in the cryptocurrency space is called Helium (HNT).
Individuals can purchase a Helium hotspot, which uses radio frequency to create a peer-to-peer wireless network for low-power IoT devices.
The Helium protocol rewards those who provide coverage with HNT tokens, which are used by devices to receive and send data.
HNT is currently trading at $9.20, up from under $2 in late 2020.
Helium Is Starting to Reach Critical Mass
Helium is working toward creating a decentralized wireless infrastructure.
It’s one of the most ambitious projects in crypto and has already been featured in Fast Company, Forbes and Time magazine.
One of its early backers is Union Square Partners, who were also early-stage investors in Twitter and cloud giant Twilio.
When Helium first launched almost two years ago, I pointed it out to readers of Next Wave Crypto Fortunes as one to watch.
For full disclosure, I also recommended readers purchase a few miners and buy the HNT token in November of last year.
The reason why I think Helium will succeed is it’s starting to reach critical mass.
The number of hotspot devices connected to the network has grown from under 2,000 devices to almost 24,000 in a little over a year.
And I expect it to climb to 100,000 by the end of this year as more companies produce the miner.
The Fastest-Growing Network in History
On this map, you can see if your neighbors are mining Helium, as well as the rewards they’ve accumulated.
The Helium network offers a new kind of coverage: LongFi. According to the Helium website:
LongFi is a protocol purpose built for a peer-to-peer wireless network that needs to connect thousands of IoT devices to a single hotspot or enable any device to connect to any compatible hotspot.
Examples of network data include location information to track valuable items and prevent theft, environmental data like air quality or temperature or data from machinery for predictive maintenance.
Compared to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, what sets LongFi apart is the ability to transfer data bi-directionally over much longer ranges (more than 200X Wi-Fi) and maximize battery life for compatible devices. However, LongFi is not designed for devices with high-bandwidth needs such as smartphones or computers.
Because of this, the network could potentially encompass the entire IoT. It’s now the fastest-growing network in history, with nearly 24,000 miners up and running.
You set this up in your home or office, and the device supplies LongFi to surrounding IoT devices. You get paid in HNT tokens for the bandwidth you supply.
Some miners that are connected to dozens of hotspots with high-powered antennas have earned 50 HNT per day. But this depends on how much demand for the coverage is in your area and how many other devices are active.
At HNT’s current price of $9, that means those miners are earning $450 a day from a device that costs $500 or less.
Start Earning HNT
There is a digital gold rush right now, as there is more demand for the token than miners supplying it.
I expect the market to find an equilibrium sometime in the future. But that doesn’t mean mining HNT won’t continue to be lucrative.
This is why I recommend checking out the coverage map and seeing if there are other hotspot miners in your area.
You can purchase a miner, connect to the network and start earning HNT by providing wireless internet for your neighborhood.
Editor, Automatic Fortunes
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