Helium Foundation

Protocol Report 2023, Q2



Welcome to the second quarterly Protocol Report of 2023! Here, we cover Helium Network news and exciting highlights that have come out since the Q1 Protocol Report earlier in 2023.

This report also covers news from Helium's subnetworks, IoT and Mobile, and updates from the Helium community and the Helium Foundation. With Helium completing its migration into the Solana ecosystem on April 19th, 2023, Helium's community, Solana's community, and Helium's core developers have been working hard on integrating the Helium Network and its community into the Solana ecosystem to open up new opportunities in addition to growing the Helium Network.

Helium-Solana Migration


Thanks to the efforts of the entire Helium community, the Helium Network successfully migrated all of its Hotspots, tokens, and chain state over to the Solana blockchain on April 19th, 2023.

The migration allows the Helium Network to access numerous benefits, including smart contract capabilities, massively lower transaction costs, near-instant transactions, and access to a vibrant ecosystem and developer community. Helium Network users can access Helium and the Solana ecosystem through the Helium Wallet app, which is now compatible with the Solana blockchain.

Since April 18th, 2023, over 3 million Helium transactions have been processed on Solana. This would have cost users over $1 million in blockchain fees on the old Helium blockchain—instead, basic transactions on Solana are near-instantaneous and over 100X cheaper. While the fees are tiny, users need a small amount of SOL in their wallets to successfully submit blockchain transactions.

What You Should Know

Helium's migration to Solana has allowed Helium's core developers to implement many previously approved changes to the Helium Network, including the subnetwork Treasuries (HIP 51) and the IOT token (HIP 52). Helium's tokens, HNT, IOT, MOBILE, and Data Credits (DC), now exist as SPL tokens on the Solana blockchain. HNT still functions the same as before the Solana migration: HNT continues to be the only way to acquire Data Credits—the mechanism in which data transfer is paid for on the IoT and Mobile Networks. HNT also enables voting on Helium Network-wide proposals. Likewise, IOT and MOBILE tokens can be used to vote on proposals for each respective subnetwork.

Each Helium subnetwork, IoT and Mobile, now earns HNT into its Treasury program. Each of Helium's subnetworks has its own token that allows token holders to participate in governing the respective subnetworks while still being able to access HNT's benefits: subnetwork tokens like IOT and MOBILE can be redeemed for HNT from each subnetwork's Treasury. Helium Hotspots earn tokens that accumulate until they are claimed using the Helium Wallet app, at which point they will show up in the Wallet balances.

Additional details and technical information on Helium's Solana migration, such as Helium token mint IDs, can be found in the Helium Docs.

Finally, Helium Network governance has undergone some changes. The migration to Solana allows the Helium community to take advantage of pre-existing tools in Solana's ecosystem. The Helium community now runs its governance using Realms, using vote-escrowed (locked) HNT, IOT, and MOBILE tokens, per HIP 51 and HIP 73. Voting is as easy as locking your tokens and casting a vote right from within the Helium Wallet app!

Executive Summary

IoT Network

  • Helium's IOT token is live on Solana, redeemable for HNT, and used for governance on the IoT Network.
  • New OpenLNS providers are available, including Deutsche Telekom's IoT Creators platform.
  • Several innovative use cases were built on the network, such as water monitoring for fish farms, smart energy, and smart city solutions.

Mobile Network

  • Helium Mobile, the first carrier, was officially onboarded as a Mobile Service Provider through HIP 82 and began passing paid mobile data traffic after a closed public beta program.
  • Network usage primarily came from Helium Mobile subscribers, and Helium ecosystem companies introduced compatible products like security cameras.
  • Rewards for mapping the Helium Mobile Network were increased through HIP 79.


  • Helium migrated from its original Layer 1 blockchain to the Solana ecosystem, providing numerous user benefits, including integrations and smart contract capabilities.
  • Solana projects continued integrating Helium and Helium tokens, enhancing the ecosystem's functionality.
  • The Helium Foundation hired three new employees in Q2 to support the network's mission and community growth.

The Helium IoT Network

Our Progress

Helium's IoT Network has received many exciting upgrades alongside the Solana migration.

Firstly, the IOT token is live! IOT is the Helium IoT Network's token, as specified by HIP 52. The IOT token, like Helium's MOBILE token, is redeemable for HNT stored in the Helium IoT Network's Treasury but can also be used for governance on the IoT Network.

The community's IoT Proof-of-Coverage Working Group has broadened its scope to cover everything related to the Helium IoT subnetwork. Anyone wishing to listen to group calls can tune in every Monday at 1 PM PT in the Helium Discord.

Helium's OpenLNS initiative opened the gates for network operators by allowing any LoRaWAN Network Server (LNS) compliant with LoRaWAN specifications to be compatible with the Helium IoT Network. Several new Helium LNS operators have jumped in to provide Helium-compatible LNS services in Q2, including BrDOT, Deutsche Telekom's IoT Creators, MeteoScientific, and Qnectd. With these new ecosystem additions, sensor users and businesses powered by Helium now have more choices than ever before when it comes to selecting a turnkey connectivity platform on the Helium IoT Network. With these new providers come new features. Do you want to add an IoT device directly to your Datacake account to quickly and easily visualize data? Now you can through Datacake 's integration with IoT Creators. To see an ever-growing list of Helium-compatible LNS providers, head to the Helium Docs!

The IoT engineering company Oxit also made headlines by partnering with the Helium Foundation to create IoT hardware capable of connecting to both the Helium IoT Network and Amazon Sidewalk, a low-power network built by Amazon home devices like the Echo smart speaker. These devices will offer builders and businesses even more options and reliability regarding how they choose to connect IoT hardware to the Internet.

The Helium IoT network is rapidly growing in new use cases and users, thanks to the Helium community's commitment to improving the network user experience. The ultimate goal of the Helium Network is to increase network usage, and both the Helium Community and the Helium Foundation are actively working to onboard more sensors and businesses with great enthusiasm.

The Helium IoT network grew in the new use cases and network users during Q2 as the Helium community and Helium's core developers continue to put forward quality-of-life improvements to the network user experience. Here are some of the things that we're watching.

IoT Network Growth Metrics

Since the Solana migration, additional statistics are now available to the Helium Network and the community. Going forward, you will see many new metrics on Helium Foundation Protocol Reports. One of these metrics, active Hotspots, is estimated below from Helium Oracle reporting. This is the number of online and active Hotspots on the Helium IoT Network, which more accurately represents the number of Hotspots providing coverage at any time on the Helium Network.

Helium coverage remains comprehensive and robust, with over 400,000 online Hotspots reported at the end of Q2 2023. Over 850 million people currently live within 2 kilometers of an active Helium Hotspot. Over 60% of the United States population lives within 2 km of an active Helium Hotspot, and this number reaches above 90% in many smaller European countries. Helium's IoT network can provide coverage for over 10 km from a Hotspot under ideal conditions, so the actual coverage population is likely to be even greater.

Network Usage & Performance

With the OpenLNS initiative, the Helium community and the Helium Foundation have been pushing to onboard new businesses that provide LNSes for Helium IoT device deployers. Since the Solana migration, eight new Helium LoRAWAN OUI addresses, each representing a new LNS provider, have been onboarded onto the Helium Network, including providers such as the community-grown MeteoScientific, which offers a permissionless Helium Console and offers a data visualization service so that users can easily see their sensor data. We're incredibly excited to see more businesses jump into providing Helium services. As these businesses ramp up, you can see them ramp up their Helium Data Credit in real-time.

Since the Helium Foundation Console is meant for testing and development purposes only, we have excluded Helium Foundation Console usage from the metrics below.

Want your IoT Console business listed in future Protocol Reports metrics? You can associate your Console OUI with your business's name on Github! Reach out to [email protected] if you need assistance.

The Helium IoT Network


What Use Cases Are Being Built?

Check out some of the new Network use-cases we saw this quarter below!

Water Monitoring for Fish Farms - BrDot, in partnership with Ar Soluções, has implemented a water analysis proof-of-concept with the Centro Universitário Católica do Tocantins for research and monitoring of water systems. Monitoring different water sources and parameters, such as temperature and oxygen levels, helps maintain and ensure optimal conditions in fish farms.

Smart Energy & Smart City: - QNECTD, a company based in the EU, provides solutions for smart cities like street light monitoring and management, water and heat metering, and more. Through a new project, SNRG.co, QNECTD offers smart energy monitoring and management services. The company has deployed pilot projects in gas stations, where the services can improve energy efficiency by up to 40% thanks to real-time energy consumption, monitoring, and automation.

Early Flood Detection - greenmetrics.ai implemented a pilot project with the Municipality of Lisbon, utilizing LiDAR sensors for water level monitoring and leakage sensors for physical flood detection. The system enables early flood detection so authorities can minimize damages, alert citizens, evacuate high-risk areas, close streets and plan infrastructure improvements.

Smart Plumbing & Leak Detection - SenseCore, a company built by licensed plumbers, uses IoT technology to provide efficient and affordable connected solutions to protect homes from water damage and costly water bills. Using its Kraken ultrasonic clamp-on pipe flow meter, SenseCore can provide early leak detection and real-time flow monitoring to minimize damage and costs for residential, commercial, and industrial clients.

IoT Proof-of-Coverage Development

This quarter, Helium's core developers made significant strides in developing a new Proof-of-Coverage processing framework for Helium Oracles that allows multiple models to be plugged in and simultaneously analyze PoC data. This will enable the Helium community to quickly and easily test new ways of verifying coverage for the Network, allowing PoC to evolve and adapt even faster. There is also a tool in the works to help fill the role of Helium's old ETL for more curious, data-savvy users!

The Helium community rejected HIP 72, a HIP that proposed a framework for bringing Secure Concentrators to the network and associated rewards to the IoT Network. The IoT Working Group provided constructive criticism about the HIP, outlining several possible reasons it was not approved. Chief among these was a concern that the proposal delegated too much authority to the Manufacturing Compliance Committee in establishing performance and security standards for the hardware.

The group agreed that, while Secure Concentrators should become a part of the network, the proposal would have benefited from more detailed hardware requirements and left the MCC only with powers to perform audits and issue approvals under those requirements.

Community Tools

Helium IoT Network sensor deployers have some exciting new tools from big new players and some Helium community veterans.

Deutsche Telekom recently announced that they're building a Helium LNS into their IoT Creators platform to allow customers to onboard and manage devices using the Helium IoT Network quickly and easily. Veteran Helium companies like Datacake have already started incorporating IoT Creators' Helium IoT Network access through a beta program.

Interacting with Helium Data Credits has also become much more straightforward for businesses operating LoRaWAN Network Servers on the Helium IoT Network. For companies that would rather not interact with blockchain tokens, the Sphere team launched a Helium Data Credit portal that allows users to fund an LNS with Data Credits using just a credit card (USA only).

With the Solana migration, the Helium blockchain was halted to allow data to be transferred over to Solana. As a result, the old Helium Explorer, commonly used to look up Hotspot reward data and account data, is also retired. Solana blockchain explorers such as Solscan and the Solana Explorer can be used to look up account data, such as token balances, now that Helium is on Solana. Hotspot activity and reward data, such as beaconing and witnessing activity, can be looked up using many Helium community tools, including HeliumGeek, Hotspotty, and Moken.

The Helium Mobile Network

Our Progress

The Helium Network started its first post-migration quarter with several exciting new Mobile subnetwork developments, notably three community HIPs. Helium Mobile, the Helium Network's first carrier, was formally onboarded onto the network as a Mobile Service Provider through HIP 82. It began passing paid mobile data traffic on the Helium Network shortly after opening its closed public beta program. The community also passed HIPs to enable Service Providers to “boost” rewards for covering high-demand areas and increase rewards for mapping Helium Mobile Network coverage.

The community's Mobile Proof-of-Coverage Working Group has broadened its scope to cover everything related to the Helium Mobile subnetwork. Anyone wishing to listen to group calls can tune in every Thursday at 11 AM PT in the Helium Discord.

Helium Mobile Passes Paid Mobile Data Traffic

Helium Mobile, the Helium network's first mobile carrier, was officially approved and onboarded as a Mobile subnetwork Service Provider by the Helium community through HIP 82. Helium Mobile began its closed public beta in early May and started roaming onto and passing paid data traffic on the Helium Network's Mobile subnetwork in mid-June.

Mobile Network Buildout

While the last Protocol Report (2022) measured the total number of Mobile Hotspots on the Helium Network, we will be measuring the number of heartbeating Mobile radios in the future. We believe that this metric, which tracks radios that are actively alive and connecting, represents a more accurate picture of the size of the Helium Mobile network at any given time. In addition, a single Hotspot may have multiple radios.

The Helium Mobile Network grew in the number of active radios to over 7,200. A small number of (now fixed) bugs and misregistered radios caused some drops visible in the graph below.

Network Usage

While most of the recent usage on the Helium Mobile subnetwork is coming from the phones of Helium Mobile subscribers, we're also starting to see Helium Mobile subnetwork compatible products from companies within the Helium ecosystem, such as Mososlabs. Mososlabs announced their Helium-compatible Trellis series of security cameras in May. We expect to see additional companies leverage the affordability, range, and bandwidth of the Helium Mobile subnetwork in the future.

The amount and timing of Data Credits burned for usage of Helium's Mobile subnetwork can now be tracked directly on the Solana blockchain. For convenience, a snapshot is provided below. Use during this period should be considered experimental, as many users are testing setups and pushing the hardware's limits.

The Helium Mobile Network


Mobile Proof-of-Coverage

Multiple changes to the Mobile Network's Proof-of-Coverage were in the works in Q2!

The Helium community voted to increase the rewards allocated to people Mapping the Helium Mobile Network from 10% to 20%, reallocating rewards from service providers correspondingly. . While the Helium Mobile subnetwork will be mappable using a dedicated hardware mapping device, Helium Mobile phone plan subscribers will also have the ability to earn Discovery mapping rewards.

PoC rewards based on the Modeled Coverage (HIP 74) Proof-of-Coverage framework are not yet live but are expected to be implemented during Q3 2023. To help Mobile radio deployers visualize the coverage expected from their deployments, Helium Mobile has released a coverage planner and map tool at https://planner.hellohelium.com/.

The ability for Service Providers to incentivize coverage in highly-desirable areas is coming! The Helium community voted to approve HIP 84, which allows Service Providers to burn MOBILE tokens to boost PoC rewards for specific zones. Helium radios that cover these boosted areas will have the opportunity to earn extra rewards. This mechanism will help incentivize network buildout more efficiently, responding to subscriber needs seen by Service Providers like Helium Mobile.

Helium Foundation

Now, let's get into some Helium Foundation news! The Helium Foundation is a US-based 501(c)6 non-profit organization that supports the Helium ecosystem and innovation in the wireless industry.

To support the Helium Network's mission and the Helium community's continued growth, the Helium Foundation hired three new employees in Q2, including Brandyn Bissinger, a three-time Emmy-winning journalist, as new Head of Communications, Sonya Baumstein as Director of Finance, and Aarti Utwani as Communications Manager.

Solana Migration

As mentioned at the beginning of the Protocol Report, Helium joined the Solana ecosystem in Q2. The Helium Foundation's Protocol Development team kicked off the second quarter of 2023 by migrating the Helium Network from its original Layer 1 blockchain to the Solana ecosystem in concert with Helium's core developers and the Helium community. This upgrade brings a massive number of benefits to Helium users, including adding the composability and integrations of Solana tools. Helium users can take advantage of the numerous tools available on Solana, and Solana developers can integrate Helium tokens and smart contracts permissionlessly. Check out this handy guide for the most frequently asked questions about the Helium-Solana migration. Developers can get started by checking out the Helium Docs, Helium's token mint IDs, or Helium's myriad of open-source programs on GitHub.

Tremendous amounts of work from the Helium community went into preparing for the Helium migration. Helium Hotspot manufacturers tested and transitioned their Hotspot fleets over to using Helium Oracles for processing Proof-of-Coverage and Data Transfer. Manufacturers also prepared their Hotspot management apps to interface with Solana and the Helium Oracles in conjunction with the Helium Wallet app, which became a Solana Wallet after the Solana migration. Helium ecosystem businesses started spinning up Helium Open LNS instances to support the Helium IoT network.

Helium and the Solana Ecosystem

In addition to many smart contract capabilities integrated into Helium on Solana, Solana projects continue to integrate Helium and Helium tokens.

  1. Dune - A blockchain data analytics platform, Dune released Solana program decoding support in May and supports a wide range of on-chain Helium data. Users can easily get started for free and quickly create powerful dashboards using SQL. Many of the interactive graphs in this Protocol Report were created using Dune. Check out the Helium Foundation's collection of Helium data visualizationsfor inspiration!
  2. Pyth Network - The Pyth Network runs oracles that source information directly from first parties to feed reliable data into smart contracts. A Pyth has publicly released a price feed for HNT, with IOT and MOBILE coming soon.
  3. Orca & Raydium - These two top decentralized exchanges on Solana announced liquidity pools for Helium tokens. Helium token holders can use these pools to swap tokens or provide liquidity to pools to earn rewards.
  4. Jupiter - The most popular decentralized exchange aggregation platform on Solana, has integrated the Helium Treasuries into their platform. This allows users to redeem IOT or MOBILE tokens for HNT directly through the Helium Treasuries within the Jupiter app when favorable.
  5. Kamino - An automated liquidity position management system, Kamino announced support for select Helium token liquidity pools. Kamino deploys automatic management strategies to simplify liquidity provisioning for users.
  6. Realms - After a successful round of test votes, the Helium community now uses a fork of Solana's Realms tool to support community governance and voting. For more information, read our full blog post about Helium on Realms.
  7. Sphere - Sphere launched the Helium Data Credit Portal, which allows teams to buy Data Credits for their OUIs using just a credit card. The Portal converts USDC to HNT to Data Credits—all on-chain.

2023 Grant Program

The Helium Foundation grant program facilitates innovation across the decentralized wireless ecosystem by providing access to funding, technical support, and community resources to promising individuals and teams. This year's grant program uses a three-pronged approach, seeking to provide community projects a pipeline to seed money as well as to fund community events in addition to traditional grants.

Q2 2023 Grant Highlights

  • This year, the program also focused on supporting community meetups that get people building on Helium by inviting community members across the globe to lead a gathering. Grant recipients are awarded $500 in funding to host a small Helium event. Since this opportunity was announced, we've greenlit grants to many locations, including Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, India, Kenya, France, Columbia, Bulgaria, Singapore, and Mexico!
  • The first funding opportunity we announced in 2023 was a partnership with several leading funds at the intersection of Hardware and Web3, like Samsung NEXT, Borderless, and Baukunst. This partnership was focused on connecting founders building innovative technologies and business models on Helium to the strategic partners and funding needed to scale. The first issue started strong with a spotlight on NanoTrack by Senzary, Predict, and Shoelace Wireless. This channel with our Capital Partners is just the beginning for many of these innovative projects, and we're excited to see how this funding opportunity takes shape. This is still an open opportunity, so you can apply today if you're building a solution on Helium and ready to scale.

Top News in HIPs

HIP 79: Mobile Mapper Rewards

HIP 79 reduces the MOBILE reward bucket for Service Providers from 20% to 10% and increases the reward bucket for Mappers to 20% from 10%. It also provides a framework for providing mapping rewards.

HIP 82: Helium Mobile as a Service Provider

With HIP 82, the Helium community formally approved Helium Mobile as a Mobile network Service Provider.

HIP 84: Service Provider hex boosting

Service Providers, like Helium Mobile, can now burn MOBILE tokens to create additional incentives for Helium radio deployers to cover high-demand areas. For more details, see the entirety of HIP 84 here.

HIP 88: Adjustment of DAO Utility A Score

HIP 88 changes the A score in the subDAO utility score formula initially outlined by HIP 51 to only count the onboarding fees paid by each active device.

HIP 89: MOBILE Network Onboarding Fees

HIP 89 changes the Mobile Network Onboarding Fee from 0 USD to 40 USD and the Mobile Location Assert Fee from 0 USD to 10 USD.

Looking ahead...

As we begin Q3, there's a lot to look forward to. Here's some of what we're excited about!

In case you missed it, Helium House 2023 was announced! This year's event will be in Amsterdam on October 30-31. Get tickets early to catch the early bird discount.

Can't make it to Amsterdam? If you can't make it, there will be a free livestream. But why wait to connect with the Helium community? You can hop into the Helium community Discord today and learn more about and contribute to the future of decentralized wireless networks today. The community is always writing and discussing Helium Improvement Proposals—make your voice heard now through discussion and voting!

The Helium community Discord is also the best place to catch previews of new products from the Helium ecosystem. Could Helium WiFi be on the horizon?

Finally, don't forget that the Helium token emissions halve on August 1, 2023, as approved by the Helium community through HIP 20. The halving does not affect any Helium network fees or existing token balances.

We'll be releasing the third quarter Protocol Report in October. Until then, take care!