The NYC Helium Network

On Tuesday night, our portfolio company Helium launched the Helium Network in NYC.

As many of you know, Helium is a peer to peer low bandwidth wireless network that anyone can run a hotspot for. I wrote about our hotspot in our apartment in NYC a few months ago.

When you operate a Helium hotspot, you earn Helium tokens. We earned about 7 Helium tokens yesterday with our hotspot.

The Helium network in NYC is already 133 hotspots strong and the map of lower Manhattan looks like this:

If you would like to buy a Helium hotspot and start earning Helium tokens you can do that here.

The cost of Helium hotspots are $495 right now but early adopters earn Helium tokens at a higher rate. As the cost of Helium hotspots come down to what you are accustomed to with wireless networking equipment, the competition for earning tokens will go up and the rate at which you earn tokens will come down too.

This is token incentive economics at work in building out wireless infrastructure and I am excited to watch this happen.


Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    Do they have plans to become available outside the US? Eg Canada.

  2. awaldstein

    This idea of in network economies as a kickstarter to usage and adoption is one of the most interesting and behaviorally unproven assumptions of crypto designed systems.I’m hopeful and wonder whether there will be a divorce from the inherent value of the system for users and this new model.

    1. jason wright

      It’s a great experiment. Lots of modelling and remodelling required over time. 2000 light bulbs later…

      1. awaldstein

        I believe in crypto as a network kickstarter.I don’t see enough approachable projects, like this one to test it and behavioral economics out.

        1. jason wright

          Too many crypto projects have a closed culture. Too many founders with too many secrets to hide. General paranoia. Self defeating.Human nature? Technology should be about helping to overcome human failings and not amplifying them.

          1. awaldstein

            I am involved with projects that are too big, too ambitious certainly but to typify the crypto world as closed and founders as generally secretive is not substantiated.How you would structure a closed, secretive open source project is kinda impossible.But yes, I like this project for its approachability.

          2. jason wright

            It is a contradiction, but it’s there. People haven’t worked out how to operate private companies (and everything that goes with that) that builds open networks without having the ‘values’ of the first interfere with the needs of the second. It often seems to come down to a fundamental conflict of interest between founders and users.

          3. awaldstein

            Example of this core contradiction between any successful project (or any project intent) where the values of the founder are in contradiction with the open source community or the end user?

          4. jason wright

            I’m not naming names here. Look to some of the projects with Swiss foundations but for profit dev companies located elsewhere. The jiggery pokery that goes on is worthy of criminal investigation.

          5. awaldstein

            I know many with that configuration and that structure by definition is not an issue by itself.

  3. jason wright

    You pay more you get more, you pay less you get less, but is that projected to be a consistent linear ‘rule’ over time, or will early adopters enjoy a ‘windfall’ if the network scales to mass adoption?Are operators of individual hotspots identifiable?

  4. pointsnfigures

    What’s my promo code? : ) Assume they have the cost per kilowatt vs the value of token. Would be a shame if the more you mined, the more you lost. Here is my promo code: I ordered three. One for each daughter. It’s an interesting cheap( comparatively) low risk way to goof around in the crypto space. downside, you are out $500. Upside, who knows. You won’t retire but it might make you some beer money and be fun.

  5. Tyler Whitney

    Can you currently use the Helium tokens for anything?

    1. Alex Rinaldi

      Convert them to bitcoin 🙂

      1. Tyler Whitney

        Gladly! Can I trade with you?

      2. jason wright

        Is that a thing, or just an aspiration?

  6. Artem K

    i dunno but the more I learn about Helium the more seems reasonable that all Helium stakeholders would benefit from adding lightning network support to transit micropayments/messages and gets real fees until Helium applications just starting with ephemerally valued tokens

  7. Alex Rinaldi

    Here’s the link for anyone who wants to poke around their hotspot map:…I saw one near my apt on Fred’s map, and wanted to see how close it really was. (There are a couple within a few blocks.)Fred mentioned a mesh network investment in this post from 2014. That’s over 5 years ago now!…Whatever happened to Veniam and the mesh network they were (are?) trying to build?…Are these things compatible? Can the mesh networks (at least in theory) work together? Would love to hear more about this in general.Last thing… was shocked to see Fred didn’t post anything yesterday! Can’t remember that ever happening.

    1. kenberger

      AVC also missed a post a month ago or so. But hey at these prices, we can’t complain about the ToS! :))More tragically is that it looks like comments have gone missing from a lot of posts around the time frame you link to.

    2. Adam Parish

      That map is really nice. What does the challenges tab do?

  8. Michal Haltuf

    Joined the international waitlist. Hopefully, you’ll make the Helium device compliant with EU unlicensed frequencies and regulations.