Our Helium Hotspot

Back in June I wrote about a company we recently invested in called Helium.

Helium is creating a decentralized low power and low bandwidth wireless network for the exploding number of smart devices out in the world.

We got our hotspot yesterday and I connected it this morning and we are now providing bandwidth in Manhattan and earning Helium tokens as a result.

#crypto#mesh networks#mobile

Comments (Archived):

  1. kenberger

    Fon, revisited. But this time with way more dimensions and orders of magnitude improvements, and use cases and business models etc etc…

    1. William Mougayar

      This reminded me how FON started, in more ways than one.

      1. kenberger

        I did sourcing and deep tech diligence for a number of VCs swarming on that space in early 2000s, and got to look at that one very closely.Another big moonshot company was cometa networks led by Larry Brilliant, The angle there was this big network for road warrior business people. Big flameout mostly because it was incubated inside of a VC firm 🙂

        1. jason wright

          Is that his real name?

          1. kenberger

            Yes. Birth name. Dear friend. And “sometimes brilliant” (That’s the title of his biography)

          2. jason wright

            I wondered, partly because i’ve never seen that name attached to anyone else, but also because his wife changed her name from Elaine to Girija. I thought that perhaps they’re both that type of person.

    2. fredwilson


  2. awaldstein

    I love this idea.Want one.

    1. fredwilson

      Click on the Helium link in the post and get one

      1. jason wright

        Got a discount code?

        1. MarkSP

          There are several referral codes from network members on the Helium reddit sub. Using one of these will get you a discount.https://www.reddit.com/r/He

      2. Seine

        Then, what do I do then with my Helium token…Am lost

      3. Vendita Auto

        woof woof

  3. William Mougayar

    What is the economic model for running a node?

    1. fredwilson

      You earn Helium tokens

      1. William Mougayar

        Specifically…for a given owner.- cost to buy device- cost to run it- traffic needed to earn- how much do you earn?- value of tokens- ROI period- etc.They must have that published somewhere. I found the general economics link, but not something for an individual owner.https://intercom.help/heliu

        1. Richard

          With current electricity cost inflation break even is just 160 years, unless we adopt the green new deal then it’s 320 years.

      2. jason wright

        …and do what with them?

        1. Vendita Auto

          Toooo complicated for the mass markets Trust is earn’t

          1. jason wright

            Fred needs another post, Helium For Dummies.

      3. smombartz

        thanks for sharing an update! this is exciting! do you have an idea how many tokens you’re mining/receiving per month? i’m trying to get a sense of what the return of investment/incentive is (other than being part of an awesome product).

  4. Matt Zagaja

    This is kind of neat but the price point seems a bit high given I’m not sure many IoT devices support this yet.

  5. Martin De Saulles

    Nice – do they plan to come over to the UK?

  6. kenberger

    The IOT world in particular really needs this. Imagine all these kick scooters all over the place. Sometimes they run out of battery and can’t connect. I’ve seen them left down in metro stations where regular radio signals don’t penetrate but this different type of technology might. So you put an additional low cost super low power consuming helium chip on them, which can survive maybe a year with just a watch battery (So that part survives regardless of the mean battery level).And the payment model is based on crypto and tokens – – of course there’s a risk there that tokens and crypto never really take off again, but again I’m convinced this is a huge potential use case for digital-based micro payments incentives etc

    1. Richard

      If the scooter is out of power how would this device help?

      1. kenberger

        The helium chip has its own watch battery which lasts a year or more regardless of main battery. The helium system can at least locate/find the thing, tracking that chip, rather than it getting just left as lost.

        1. Richard

          Any idea of the battery life of a location sensor? If the sensor owner is paying, what would it cost one to be always on via the helium network?

  7. Richard

    Brand the device to a charity and/or Let users connect directly to the charity for tax deductible charitable giving – the 501(c) will make for a good marketing partner/reseller.

  8. jason wright

    What is going on with that reddish coloured building at lower right? All that piping looks so wrong.It’s nice to see that trees still have a foothold in all that density.

    1. Tom Labus

      There’s been a number of sightings of metallic insects around the city!!

  9. pointsnfigures

    Kind of a constricted market. “The price of Data Credits is fixed in USD. Like pre-paid cellphone minutes or airline miles, Data Credits are non-transferrable, and can only be used by their original owner.”Seems like they could make the market more liquid and bigger if you were allowed to trade them for other things. I think tokenizing airline miles and letting power users of an airline enter a marketplace to trade them for other things is an interesting idea and contrary to what airlines think will make their customers more loyal not less.

    1. DJL

      I agree. I immediately wanted to order one – and then asked – “What can I do with my tokens”? Hmm. “How would I encourage anyone in the area to use my WIFI instead of the free Wifi everywhere?” Hmm. I just don’t see that.This will end up going commercial as a better option for IoT.

  10. Mike

    Seems like more details being shared now than back in June. To summarize, Hotspot operators are basically selling BW through the Helium blockchain to end users. Helium is generated based on network usage, roughly. Helium, Inc. (network operator) gets a commission on the issuances. Users purchase Helium through USD transactions to send traffic through the network.Question, how will this stack up in terms of reliability, cost, BW etc. to competing IoT networks? Seems like a complex structure, but if IoT users can get better service at a better price there should be demand. i.e. the market for IoT services will set the USD price for Helium. The number of connected devices needing these types of services is only growing.

    1. Richard

      There is one other problem. As a helium user you are essentially a reseller of internet WiFi. It will only be a matter of time before your internet provider nixes that free lunch – and in fact most contracts do not permit this.

      1. Mike

        Important detail. But will the provider cut it or ask for a cut? Will they even notice? This network won’t have the capacity for applications like email or video. These are often very low BW signals – pressure, temp, a few bits once an hour or once a day. I wonder if it will even be noticeable on a broadband network?

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  12. lunarmobiscuit

    This is the umpteenth ICO I’ve seen where the only value of the token is to the company rather than to the customers or vendors or anyone else. Remove the irrational ICO investors and the business model for this is a lot simpler:1. Members buy hot spots2. Customers use those hot spots, paying a fee in dollars (with a credit card, just like Boingo or any other prepaid wireless)3. Helium pays the members in dollars, through PayPal or ACH to checking accounts, or if they really want, as BTC or ETHThis eliminates the friction of customers having to figure out the value of a token (which they are forced to buy despite wanting to buy data, not tokens) and eliminates all the issues about what the members can or can’t do with their tokens (as they too have no desire for these otherwise useless tokens).Sorry Fred but see Filedoin for the same issue and just about every other ICO I’ve seen in the list of top ICOs. There seems to be a universal misunderstanding by crypto entrepreneurs and ICO investors about putting the customer first. Given the billions raised through ICOs, I understand why the entrepreneurs take money from the investors, but I don’t understand why thr investors think these friction-filled services will be popular enough to ever pay off as investments.

  13. Richard

    Yep, there are two Freds. The AVC Fred and the USV Fred.

  14. jason wright

    Perhaps it should be called NarrowFi?

  15. Richard

    Most internet contracts do not allow one to resell internet access. You won’t hear Fred mention that here. You will hear that within the USV walls however.

  16. Richard

    If the device uses your internet and you are reselling Internet access, you are likely violating terms of your contract. The IOT user pays you for access to helium.

  17. jason wright

    AVC = socially liberal.USV = fiscally conservative.

  18. jason wright

    People read manuals when it’s not intuitive. I’ll read the Helium manual.