Napster creator Shawn Fanning’s new company Helium has released its internet of things (IoT) wireless hotspot devices with a blockchain-based incentives program, according to an official blog post by Helium on June 12.
According to the post, a Helium Hotspot provides wireless connectivity to the Internet; one node on its own will cover about 1/50 to 1/150 of a city, according to the company’s research.
The nodes are intended to support a network of internet coverage, one which is decentralizedand powered by individual contributors. Contributors are rewarded by an incentives program on the Helium blockchain, which is powered by the hotspots themselves — one hotspot is one node for the blockchain.
According to the company website, the hotspots’ mining mechanism within the blockchain is much less energy-intensive than traditional consensus algorithms used for blockchains such as proof-of-work. The mining works by verifying the legitimacy of other nodes using a “Proof-of-Coverage” protocol, which purportedly is no more energy-consuming than an LED light bulb.
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