Crypto Helium Number Go Up | COO Frank Mong Predicts 1M Network Nodes in 2022

5 min read

In an end of year post to the Helium Network community, COO Frank Mong looks back at Helium’s many achievements, and looks forward to more accomplishments in 2022 and beyond. Beyond Helium’s progress in building out its IoT network, it has also gained many high profile users, including Volvo, Cisco, Accenture, Invoxia and Olympus.

2021: Helium Breakout Year

When we first began telling the story of Helium, we liked to compare it to the futuristic golden age of The Jetsons with jetpacks, 3D printed food, whimsical robots, and flying cars. While we don’t have jetpacks (yet) and Helium TikTokers may not have even watched the 1960’s cartoon, we are actually entering the phase where this ever-connected world is starting to become a reality since the launch of the Helium Network (“The People’s Network”) in August 2019.

Looking back, I’m in awe at the progress we’ve achieved together in such a short period of time. And if this year has shown us anything, it’s that the Helium Network has the power to move an entire economic model into the hands of the people.

Before we hit the ground running in 2022, let’s take a moment to recognize all that has been achieved this year. From the builders to users, customers, and community, we’ve seen more growth, excitement, and conviction that decentralized wireless is the future of connectivity.

Network Flywheel

We started the year with 14,000+ Hotspots on the Network and the introduction of new Makers approved by Helium Improvement Proposal 19 (HIP 19) — a major milestone on the path to decentralization and the expansion of the Helium footprint across the globe. We now have over 25 approved Makers building Hotspots on the Network, and the Maker applications continue to roll in.

No one could have anticipated the demand for 2021 and Makers have been working tirelessly to deliver product. Today, the Helium Network has coverage in over  and  thanks to nearly deployed by the community. Approximately  and . By next year, we anticipate we’ll exceed well over 1 million Hotspots in the wild.

This is the fastest rollout of a wireless network in history, and its global reach rivals that of traditional infrastructure, with each builder effectively becoming a miniature cell tower. I don’t know of any other blockchain project that has this much traction in the physical world, and we are incredibly grateful for all of the dedicated builders who have joined the movement to date.

Build It And They Will Come

Even with the early traction deploying coverage, we continue to hear skepticism from critics, “Yeah, you have a network, but who even uses it?” This is a great reminder that we not only are building a useful decentralized network, but we also have to find better ways to tell the world that usage is starting and growing.

A dense, global IoT network with permissionless access and low cost has never existed. The future applications of The Jetsons could not be built. Today, things are different, and we are starting to see what is possible. The truly exciting applications will come from companies we have never heard of.

Want your cold brew coffee refilled automatically? has you covered. Want a drone to deliver a burrito to your mailbox? , at your service. A car that rewards you for sharing vehicle data on your daily commute? is on it. A package with holiday gifts that is tracked at every point in its journey? Talk to .

How about an office that protects employees from COVID risks with air quality monitors? Thank you, . As more applications appear on the Network, useful data can be leveraged to improve systems, such as smart cities and smart buildings. is tackling that problem today with its data platform.

These are just a handful of the many use cases actively sending data on the Network, and this year, we’ve even seen entire cities join the ecosystem for the benefit of their communities. For example, , the heart of Silicon Valley, has demonstrated how it can create a more connected city while also leveraging our incentive model to pay internet costs for over 1,300 low-income residents who lack access. It’s an incredibly impactful program, and we hope other cities follow in their footsteps. City Mayors — my DMs are open.

We also introduced Helium Network this year. When other networks don’t have coverage, they can offload their customers to the Helium Network. Roaming will be one of the biggest drivers on the Network for years to come and we recently announced partnerships with some of the most extensive commercial-grade LoRaWAN networks out there, such as and . These roaming partners have brought some of our this year:

Growing Pains

Growth is great, but it hasn’t come without painful lessons and massive improvements. . As the Network grew, the blockchain grew at a pace we could not imagine. We hit all kinds of challenges, including the infamous “doomblock”, which took the core developers and community 36+ hours to resolve. As painful as block 1099849 was, we learned and improved so much as a network, blockchain, and community. You can read more details here.

While we have been working with the community to improve the blockchain and Network, our core developer organization has been innovating as well.

Validators

Validators were introduced this year to take on the blockchain work of the Consensus Group. Before Validators, the Helium Blockchain operated with Hotspots in the Consensus Group, confirming transactions and merging new blocks. As the Network continued expanding rapidly, a more scalable solution was needed. The result of this improvement is consistent block times.

Validators went live in July and have since contributed to the security, reliability, and scalability of the Network, with a total of 29.75M+ HNT, or more than 31% of all circulating HNT, staked towards these goals. That’s a lot of HNT, reinforcing the commitment of the community to the success of the Network.

Helium 5G is Here

This year marked the community approval of the second major wireless network to be supported, Helium 5G. This opens the door for any compatible CBRS phone to now connect and send data over the Network, and within less than 8 months since approval, Helium 5G is officially here. And it’s going to be big.

Consumers across the US are starting to receive and deploy their FreedomFi gateways with the first cellular mobile plan on the Helium Network from GigSky. The evolution of the Helium Network from just IoT to now 5G shows the power of HNT, flipping the traditional economic model on its head across protocols and giving ownership back to the people. Our partnership with DISH and FreedomFi is a testament to this, and we are ready to bring Helium 5G coverage to a broader, consumer audience in 2022.

We’ve also seen tech giants like Amazon recently announce the launch of a private 5G network. While the Helium Network takes an open, public approach, the announcement validated that there is a massive opportunity right now to address the frustrations we’ve all experienced in the world of wireless and shake up the status quo as we know it today.

A New Chapter, 2022

After the biggest year for the Helium Network yet, we’re only expecting the ecosystem to continue gaining momentum as we enter 2022. So, what’s next?

  •  will significantly decrease the cost of Hotspot hardware while enabling the Network to scale to 1 million Hotspots and beyond. In addition, for the first time, users may see low-cost Hotspot options for the Network as approved by the community.
  • New with MNO/MVNOS will continue to be a massive driver of usage, bringing both enterprise and consumer customers with them.
  • 3G networks worldwide are sunsetting in 2022, with over 2 billion connected IoT devices using cell in 2021. This will be a major opportunity for businesses to  versus being forced to upgrade to costly 4G or private networks.
  •  will appear in cities across the US, and Makers are already working on new compatible Hotspots.

It’s still early for Helium and The People’s Network. Nevertheless, no one has gotten as far as we have on the mission to build the world’s largest contiguous network and we’ve seen this year that a distributed future where connectivity is owned by the people and powered by HNT is possible.

Original article can be found at; //blog.helium.com/2021-helium-breakout-year-cd90ebc843fa

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