Helium devs proposed moving the Helium hotspot network, Helium's blockchain, and the HNT token to the Solana blockchain.
Helium Network Struggles at Scale
Helium (HNT) is a "Proof of Coverage" crypto that's mined using 5G and long-range Internet (LoRaWAN) hotspots. Internet of Things (IoT) devices use this long range signal, and miners earn HNT tokens for keeping the network online. There are over 1,000,000 active hotspots in the Helium network today, and that number should continue to grow as more hotspots come online.
The Helium network has struggled with congestion and missed transactions as its hotspot network grows. Today, there are almost no customers of Helium's LoRaWAN–the network is struggling to handle its own hotspots pinging the network to prove they're online. It's clear that without major changes, Helium's blockchain won't be able to meet the demands of its network.
Helium Proposes a Move to Solana
Helium explained its proposal to move to Solana, HIP 70, in a Medium post. Basically, Helium devs are proposing to scrap the Proof of Coverage consensus mechanism and migrate the entire Helium blockchain and its ecosystem tokens to the Solana blockchain.
If HIP 70 is accepted, Helium devs will migrate the HNT, DC, IOT, and MOBILE tokens to the Solana blockchain. People operating hotspots will continue to earn these tokens–they'll just be on Solana now.
Solana to the Rescue?
If Solana does anything best, it's scale. Solana is often criticized for its centralization and frequent outages, but the Solana blockchain is also extremely fast and inexpensive to use. Solana’s upcoming Saga phone also presents a use case for Helium’s 5G network.
From this perspective, Solana seems like a good choice. Solana also shares four major investors with Helium: a16z, FTX Ventures, Multicoin Capital, and Tiger Global.
Following its recent struggles with partnerships and network revenue, it’s possible that Helium’s investors are done pouring money into the Helium network, and they’ve chosen Solana as the blockchain to absorb it.