The Helium Foundation continues to remain dedicated to supporting and stewarding the Helium Network through grants, education, governance support, and development work. To support its mission, the Helium Foundation roughly doubled its personnel over the last quarter and gained Arman Dezfuli-Arjomandi, a longtime Helium community member, as a Board Director. Here are some of our Helium Foundation highlights from Q1 of 2023.
After the Helium community voted to move the Helium Network onto Solana through HIP 70 in September 2022, the Strata Protocol team joined the Helium Foundation to lead the development work of migrating the entire Helium Network. All of Helium's Solana smart contracts are open-source and available on GitHub. Helium's smart contracts were audited by sec3, a Solana security firm, and all identified issues have been resolved. The Helium Foundation team will work with partners like sec3 as Helium's smart contracts are updated to ensure their continued security.
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.
After many months of work and preparation from Helium's core developers, Helium's community, and folks from all over the ecosystem, Helium completed its migration to Solana in April. To support the Helium ecosystem through this transition, the Helium Foundation has been heavily prioritizing educational resources, from leading a major overhaul of Helium-Solana information on the Helium Docs to hosting community AMAs and weekly Solana migration technical support office hours. The Helium Foundation will continue to produce resources to support all corners of the Helium ecosystem in this transition, so keep an eye on the Helium Docs, Discord, Twitter, and more to keep learning about the Helium Network's new home and how we fit in!
Helium and the Solana Ecosystem
As we land on Solana, Helium is able to take full advantage of the composability of the Solana ecosystem and has already partnered with many Solana projects to support the migration. Some of the smart contract capabilities implemented in Helium include:
- Clockwork - An open-source automation engine for the Solana blockchain. Developers can use Clockwork to schedule transactions and automate smart contracts without relying on centralized infrastructure. Helium uses Clockwork to automate the awarding of HNT to IoT and Mobile subnetworks.
- Helius - A Solana development optimization service through RPC provisioning, API building, and webhooks. Helium uses Helius for APIs, monitoring, and more.
- Jupiter - A key liquidity aggregator for Solana, offering a wide range of tokens and route discovery between token pairs. The Helium Wallet app has a Jupiter integration to help users get rates for token swaps.
- Pyth - These Oracles can be used by on-chain programs in consuming real-world data for a variety of use cases. Helium uses Pyth to write HNT price information to the blockchain, allowing for Helium Data Credits to be priced in USD.
- Switchboard - A generalized, community-curated oracle network designed to incentivize bringing the long tail of data on-chain. Helium's Solana programs use Switchboard to measure and incorporate device statistics into on-chain reward calculations.
- Realms - A platform for builders on Solana to create a DAO, manage their members, vote on proposals, and allocate their treasury. Helium's core developers worked closely with Realms to integrate Helium tokens and subnetwork delegation directly into Realms.
The added composability of being on Solana also means that building with Helium will be easier and more accessible, whether it's integrating Helium into DeFi applications or integrating Solana into Helium. We're beginning to see Solana projects increasingly choose to build on Helium. Solana projects such as:
- Hivemapper - The world's first crypto-enabled dashcam represents a fundamental shift in how maps are built.
- Baxus - A secure way to trade physical goods, such as wine and spirits.
- Heliport - A decentralized wallet and device which are able to make payments and transactions on Solana through the IoT infrastructure of the Helium Network. Heliport won 1st place in the Solana Sandstorm Hackathon’s DeWi track.
- DeviceLink - A beta data exchange platform developed using blockchain technology and the Helium Network.
Combining Helium and Solana opens up endless possibilities. Helium's newfound composability on Solana creates new opportunities for the Helium community and enables new blockchain applications built on Helium to be created.
2023 Grant Program
The Helium Foundation launched the 2023 Grant Program with several exciting new ways to support builders and community in the Helium ecosystem, with simplified application processes to make getting funding for meaningful development even easier!
One of the most notable changes to the program is the new Capital Partners opportunity. The Helium Foundation has partnered with a diverse range of venture capital firms, including Baukunst, Borderless Capital, Escape Velocity, Hivemind, Lattice, and Samsung NEXT, to help connect grantees and Helium ecosystem members to early stage capital and to guide promising projects built on Helium. The Helium Foundation grant team reviews and advises every application carefully to ensure that promising businesses align with each fund's focus.
Also, new this year are Helium community event grants. Folks who want to bring together their local Helium communities can now quickly and easily apply for funding and other support from the Helium Foundation to realize their vision of running a local Helium meetup or IoT workshop.
Besides these community event grants, Helium grant opportunities are coming in waves with targeted focus areas, otherwise known as Requests for Proposals. The first wave of grants awarded was aimed at making onboarding sensors onto the Helium Network faster and even more accessible. Stay tuned for additional targeted grant opportunities coming soon!
Recent Grants Awarded
- Parley Labs was been awarded the first Helium grant of 2023! Their project will open source key management so that keys can be securely moved from owner to owner, enabling APIs for QR code scanning to load keys from a vendor directly into OpenLNS.
- Disk 91 was awarded funding to build a New Helium Console using an open-source solution to link router services to Chirpstack LNS seamlessly. This will allow users to import and manage a device fleet easily and enables the Helium connectivity provider ecosystem.
- Scott Livingston won a grant to create Interactive Docs About Onboarding Devices by building a TypeScript package for embedding complete, interactive examples with real devices that can be run from within the docs. This approach to crafting rich documentation could significantly level up the sensor onboarding process and make it easier to build IoT solutions on Helium.
- Nik Hawks won a grant to build a LoRa to LoRaWAN repeater, an integrated board design that enables the reading of data from devices using LoRa and re-broadcasts it onto Helium’s LoRaWAN protocol. This opens up the doors for countless new device types to make onboarding to the Helium ecosystem even easier.
Q1 2023 Grant Highlights
- NoWi Sensors released an easy-to-use, open-source Helium coverage checker that allows anyone to quickly estimate if they have usable Helium coverage in their area.
- The Kanda Weather Group is working across African universities to build community-owned weather balloon networks. The redundancy and long range of the Helium Network allow these weather balloons to send back data from the troposphere, providing valuable data while in the air.
- Grantee Emergo Technologies released code for a LoRa-only position determination system that enables users to geolocate their transmitting devices using the signal characteristics of transmissions and receiving Hotspots, without the need for on-device GPS.
- Nik Hawks, the Gristle King, reflects on lessons learned and practical considerations as the People Counter project enters its final stretch.
- IoT Off Grid released an open-source tracking platform as a deliverable for their grant’s final milestone.
- The Calgary Space Foundation wrapped up its grant to test Helium as a ground station for satellite missions and produced a rich report on how Helium is a strong alternative connectivity option for space missions that the Foundation will share publicly in the near future.
- Dave Akers completed another thorough Helium Data Analysis report and concluded the project since the successful Solana migration.
Top News in HIPs
Passed in February by the Helium community, HIP 69 will reduce the IoT Hotspot location reassertion fee from 1,000,000 Data Credits ($10 worth) to 500,000 Data Credits ($5) for the first three months after the migration to Solana.
HIP 74 specifies a framework for rewarding Mobile network radios for their coverage and introduces a Proof-of-Coverage reward algorithm for radios that incorporates location, environmental, and radio information to calculate MOBILE rewards for radios. HIP 74 was passed in January by the Helium community and will take effect soon after the migration to Solana.
In order to bridge the gap between the Mobile network's Genesis rewards period and the launch of Helium's subnetwork treasuries on Solana, HIP 75 was approved by the community in January. HIP 75 initiated programmatic minting of the MOBILE token on the Helium blockchain and adjusted the emissions curve for the MOBILE token to ensure MOBILE tokens would be available in the later stages of the Mobile network.
Helium's migration onto Solana is also accompanied by upgrades to Helium governance initially specified in HIP 51. To vote, Helium token holders can lock up tokens for a duration in order to gain proportional voting power. HIP 76 makes the relationship between HNT lockup duration and voting power gained proportional and linear while eliminating the minimum lockup period. This HIP also clarifies some of the rules for the veHNT landrush bonus, where HNT locked up shortly after the Solana migration receives 3X the amount of voting power it would otherwise. HIP 76 was approved by a Helium community vote in March.
In finalizing preparations for the Solana migration, Helium's core developers needed to set several key initial settings for Helium's smart contracts that were only appropriate to be adjusted by governance. These included variables such as token decimal points, initial governance settings, price oracles, and emergency circuit breaker settings. These parameters were specified through HIP 77, which was approved by a community vote.