Earn money without having to work for it? Here’s what you can do with helium and its cryptocurrency HNT. Without expensive graphics cards! Our FAQ on helium mining explains: how does it work, what do you need, what are the advantages? Where are the problems and how much money can be made?
Bitcoin or Ether are by no means the only cryptocurrencies. Almost still an insider tip is Helium with its cryptocurrency Helium Coins aka HNT. Unlike mining Bitcoin or Ether, however, you don’t need an expensive, powerful and power-consuming computer to mine HNT, just a compact one Helium miner , Which is smaller than your router. We explain how helium mining works.
Table of Contents
What are the advantages of helium mining?
Earn money without having to work for it. This is the promise of helium mining. You do not need a powerful PC with a particularly powerful and extremely expensive graphics card, as is required for Bitcoin or Ether mining, for Helium mining. All the work is done by a small device (the Helium miners ). For its activity, the owner receives a reward in the form of Helium Coins or HNT.
In addition, you have a green conscience: Because while bitcoin mining has long been criticized for the immense power consumption of graphics cards, helium miners (helium hotspots, also known as gateways) consume very little power, about 5 to 15 watts.
Helium HNT: advantages and disadvantages
Earn money without work
Lower acquisition cost than bitcoin/ether
Helium miners are difficult to obtain and sometimes quite expensive
Yield depends a lot on the location
HNT price is volatile
Open question: survivable against 5G and other competitors?
How to earn money with helium
You buy a helium miner/gateway and set it up at your home or workplace and give it access to the internet via WLAN or better LAN – so an internet connection is mandatory for the helium miner. The Helium gateway then sets up a hotspot/node for the Helium network, which customers, i.e. companies, use to transfer their data. You as a private user and hotspot operator receive rewards for providing Helium hotspots in the form of the cryptocurrency Helium HNT, which belongs to the provider’s blockchain.
You can either keep the acquired HNT and speculate with it in the hope of rising prices or exchange it for Euros, Dollars, Bitcoin, Ether or other currencies on popular crypto exchanges like Coinbase or Bitfinex or Kraken.
According to coinmarketcap, Helium initially wants to reward mainly the expansion of the network infrastructure and the mutual confirmation of Helium miners with the distribution of HNT. Later, when the network is reasonably widespread, the hotspot owners should receive Helium Coins for transferring device data. In addition to HNT, there are also data credits. But these are not interesting for private users.
How much can you earn with helium mining?
In locations where there is a high demand for data to be transmitted, Helium hotspot operators receive significantly more cryptocoins than in areas where there is not much demand for the transmission of data via the Helium network. That’s because more data-delivering devices like e-scooters naturally connect to the network in busy locations. However, Helium only pays for the actual connections of the devices or for data transmission, but not for the mere establishment of a hotspot.
In Youtube videos about helium mining it is often said that you can earn 1000 Euro or more in one month. However, as I said, the actual earnings depend heavily on the location. If you are planning to buy a Helium miner, then explore the Helium Explorer to see how much the users around you are already earning with it. The equivalent of a few hundred euros per month actually seems to be possible from time to time. However, in our research we also found many miners who earned only a handful of euros or even almost nothing in the last 30 days. So given the high initial cost of miners, the investment period can be quite long.
However, as more and more people have come to understand that helium may be a quick and easy way to make money, the devices have become hard to come by and lucrative sites are becoming increasingly rare. In addition, it should be clear: The more miners start operations and divide the available HNT among themselves, the less the individual helium miner owner earns.
Helium HNT: Price development
For example, you can see the current HNT price and its development here. Currently (as of 26.1.2022), one HNT is worth just over 24 euros.
Helium HNT is still a young cryptocurrency. The price of the cryptocurrency Helium has initially risen sharply since the spring of 2021, in mid-November 2021 the price of Helium had risen to just under 48 euros per HNT, in contrast, in August the price was still around 15 euros per HNT, in March again the price was around 5 to 7 euros. However, in December 2021, the price dropped again to around 25 euros and still the price is bobbing along. However, this recent price decline can also be seen with Bitcoin and Ether.
If you are betting on significantly rising prices of helium (HNT), you should not exchange your earned HNT into euros, but keep them.
Where to buy a helium miner?
The hotspot devices usually cost around 500 to 600 euros each, but prices can be much higher, as is currently the case. In the beginning, Helium had manufactured all miners itself, but now the devices are available from different suppliers, but they must be certified by Helium (be sure to also pay attention to this certification!). The individual, available routers can be found on the page of Helium , with "Purchase" you can theoretically buy a device. Currently, however, almost no manufacturer can actually supply equipment. So you usually have to get on a waiting list or pre-order a helium device. But until you can actually set it up at home and earn money with it, some time might pass.
Bobcat is probably the best known manufacturer of helium miners, which has a reputation for reliable delivery. For example, you can order the Bobcat Miner 300 here. This is currently considered available for order, but the delivery time is up to 28 weeks! But you can only pay there with cryptocurrency! The Bobcat 300 is also sold on Amazon, but at absurdly inflated prices. It comes standard with a 4-dBi antenna.
Calchip Connect is also considered to be an important manufacturer, but currently only supplies customers in the U.S. Particularly well known and popular are also the sensecap miners . The Chinese company PantherX also sells Helium miners and also only against cryptocurrency. The Linxdot, on the other hand, you can buy with a credit card. You can also buy a helium miner here.
You may also be able to find suitable equipment on Ebay Classifieds (beware of inflated prices or scammers) or through various sellers such as z.b. SeeedStudio . Here in the Helium explorer you can also find lists of manufacturers.
Important: When buying, make sure that you purchase an EU device and not a Helium gateway for the USA or Asia, for example.
Different types of helium miners/gateways/hotspots
There are four types of gateways/hotspots: Full Hotspot Miner, Light Hotspots, Data only Hotspots, as well as Hotspots that you assemble yourself.
Full Hotspot Miner
Currently, full hotspot miners are quite predominant for mining HNT. The hotspot is connected to the internet to, among other things, download and regularly synchronize the entire Helium blockchain. Accordingly, it must have sufficiently powerful hardware and, most importantly, ample working memory. The miner also downloads updates from the Helium servers. But its main task is: it has to forward its IoT data (i.e. the data from the IoT devices such as e-scooters) to the received target servers.
Another important task: with the helium miner you not only transmit the data, for which there is then HNT as a reward, but also verify other miners in the area. The individual Helium gateways "check" each other to see if they are still working. So-called Challenges, Witnesses and Beacons are used for this purpose. Simplified, it can be explained like this: A hotspot (challenger) sends a request (challenge) to another hotspot (challenger), which must be answered. This is how the requested hotspot proves that it is working. Other hotspots in the vicinity testify to this (Witnesses; Beacons). When such a process is fully completed, new blocks are added to the blockchain. Miners get HNT for this. Helium miners also confirm to each other that they are standing exactly where they claim to see. It’s called proof-of-coverage. For all this there are tokens. You as the owner do not have to do anything, the miners do this mutual verification on their own.
Light Hotspot Miner and Data Only Hotspots
In addition to full hotspot miners, there will soon be light hotspots as well. These no longer download a complete copy of the blockchain. Therefore, these Light Hotspots require less working memory and are thus cheaper to manufacture. While the Light Hotspots no longer launch challenges, they can still verify the location of other miners and, of course, transmit the data from the companies. So HNT can still be mined with it.
Tip: Maybe with the release of the Light Hotspots the prices for the Helium Gateways will decrease.
The last category of helium miners/gateways/hotspots are the data only hotspots. These don’t do any verification and therefore don’t get rewards for proof-of-coverage, they just transfer data. These are currently rather uninteresting for miners, because Helium rewards the mutual validation of the miners with HNT now in the construction phase. But this should change in the long term and increasingly there should be HNT then for forwarding/transferring the data. These data only hotspots are checked and verified by the full hotspot miners.
Theoretically, you can also assemble a helium miner or a Lorawan-enabled gateway yourself, typically with a Raspberry Pi as the hub. But you will not be able to mine HNT with it!
Setup, management, wallet: everything about the Helium Hotspot app
You only need the free Helium app for iOS and Android to get a miner up and running, manage it, run diagnostics and monitor it. At startup, the app takes you by the hand and guides you completely through the installation process. In this context, it is important not to turn on the Helium hotspot too early, but only when the app prompts you to do so.
The app also creates the wallet where HNT is stored. You can manage multiple helium miners with a helium hotspot app and store their HNTs in the wallet. From the wallet in the Helium Blockspot app on your smartphone, transfer the HNT to wherever you want it to go.
If there are any problems with the setup, you can check here.
Tip: Port forwarding must be set in the router to which the helium hotspot is connected, for example in the Fritzbox.
Where to place a helium miner (hotspot)?
The ideal location is an area where there are already other hotspots that your helium miner can connect to. The more hotspots your helium gateway connects to, the better. The connections between hotspots may well extend over several kilometers. At the same time, however, no other helium hotspot should be in the immediate vicinity of your device, because otherwise they will compete with each other – supposedly, the distance to the nearest helium hotspot should be at least 300 meters. However, if your helium miner is completely remote away from companies that can use it, then your hotspot will also yield very little revenue. So ideal are gaps not yet covered in metropolitan areas and large cities, with other miners around and sufficient demand for use by companies.
In the Helium Explorer, you can immediately see where there are how many Helium hotspots and where there are worthwhile gaps. To ensure that the antenna reaches as far as possible, it should be placed as high as possible. The roof of a skyscraper is more suitable as an antenna location than the garden of a terraced housing estate. You can set up a suitable antenna both indoors and outdoors.
If you place the antenna inside, make sure it is not shielded by metal. As a rule of thumb, your Helium hotspot/gateway/miner should be located in the city and stand as high as possible .
Helium Explorer: How to find lucrative locations
Using the Helium Explorer, anyone interested can use the Internet to track where hotspots exist and where hotspots are needed. As of January 2022, there were over 520 worldwide.000 Helium hotspots. Tendency: Still strongly increasing.
Locations in city centers are generally much more desirable than hotspot locations in the countryside. However, if a clinic in the countryside relies on helium, a neighboring LoRaWAN hotspot may well earn considerably more money.
Areas where there is already an extensive helium network, but where individual areas are not yet covered, are of interest. This is what the Helium Explorer shows in more detail about the hexagons. Currently, especially medium-sized cities are interesting, since in large cities there is already comprehensive coverage in most cases.
By the way: If you move the miner to a new location, you will have to pay a $10 fee to do so! Only the initial installation and commissioning of the helium gateway/miner is free of charge, or the fee for this has already been paid by the manufacturer of the miner.
The right antenna
If you finally got hold of a helium device, you have to place it at a profitable location. For this, again, the antenna must fit: A Helium device with a 2-db antenna or a 3-dBi antenna should be good in inner cities and radiates circularly around its location. However, such antennas are less suitable for land. In general, however, the range of the hotspots is relatively large anyway.
Helium gateways with 4-, 5-, 6- or 9-dBi antennas, on the other hand, are well-suited for rural areas and do not radiate all around, but have coverage extended in length. In metropolitan areas you are probably less well positioned with such antennas.
By the way: A stock antenna is the term used for the antenna installed on the miner. In addition, you can of course also perform "antenna tuning" operate and attach additional antennas. You can buy such antennas for example on Amazon.
Note: The antenna and its transmission power must comply with the legal requirements. Failure to do so could result in fines and confiscation of the device.
How to use the Helium Explorer
You can zoom into the map of the Helium explorer. The network is divided into hexagons, which indicate the coverage of a given area. If you click on such a hexagon, the hotspots of this region are visible and you can also view the statistics of this hotspot by clicking on it. For example, you can see what kind of model it is and what power its antenna has and how high it is above the ground.
Above all, as already mentioned, you can see for each hotspot how much rewards in the form of the cryptocurrency Helium HNT the hotspot has earned up to a maximum in the last 30 days. To do this, click on the hotpot. You can see the earnings of this hotspot in the "Earnings" tile. Here you can switch between daily (24H), weekly (7D) and monthly (30D) earnings by clicking the button to get an overview.
By the way: The Helium app assigns the bizarre-sounding names of the individual hotspots independently.
Where to buy and sell HNT?
You need to sell HNT on a crypto exchange like Binance or Mandala Exchange or FTX as well as KuCoin to turn the Helium money into euros or exchange it for other cryptocurrencies. But you can also speculate on rising prices and keep the HNT for now. Of course, you can also buy HNT on crypto exchanges.
What is Helium anyway and what does LoRaWAN mean??
The global Helium Network (HNT) currently represents the largest Internet of Things network in the blockchain world, and is also said to be the largest ever decentralized IoT network in the world. This peer-to-peer network offers Helium hotspots for data transmission and tracking around the globe, but currently mainly in cities/metropolitan areas. The network consists of many single hotspots (nodes), which are provided by helium devices (gateways/miners).
The individual helium hotspots are ideally networked with each other and transmit the data packets of the IoT providers in a frequency range around 868 MHz, in addition, each individual hotspot must be connected to the Internet via the owner’s WLAN or LAN router. Via the router and the Internet, the received data then reaches the servers that analyze the data. This is why every Helium miner must be connected to a home network router.
However, with the Helium hotspot, which from a technical point of view is a combination of a wireless gateway and a blockchain mining device, you are not operating a simple WLAN, but this network uses LoRaWAN – Long Range Wide Area Network – in the frequency range around 868 MHz. This LoRaWAN network has about two hundred times the coverage of a conventional WLAN and thus an impressive range, but only transmits small data packets of only a few bytes at a time. LoRaWAN thus sends little data slowly but reliably over long distances – perfect for the Internet of Things (IoT), for which, for example, position data, consumption values (from electricity meters, for example) or temperature values are transmitted. At the same time, Helium devices consume very little power, as promised by the manufacturers.
LoRaWAN was not invented by Helium, but by the LoRa Alliance .
In addition to connecting to the WLAN, however, Helium is also pushing 5G for transmission. The first 5G Helium miners/hotspots have already appeared.
The main Helium network launched in July 2019. The company was founded by Amir Haleem, Shawn Fanning and Sean Carey in 2013, and the current Helium Network team can be found here.
How companies use the Helium network
Companies are routing data through the Helium network and running various services over it. For this, the companies have to buy Data Credits. Radio coverage of a certain area allows GPS providers, for example, to offer location services and send data from their devices to the Internet via helium hotspots. Through the Helium network, companies can also monitor the location and functionality of their equipment.
This makes the Helium network an alternative to mobile phone services. Whereby the mobile phone providers certainly offer special, favorable IoT tariffs, you can read more about this here:
In order for companies to use the Helium network in a meaningful way, there needs to be a certain level of wireless coverage. At present, this can only be said for larger cities and metropolitan areas in Germany. The situation is still poor in small and even medium-sized cities, not to mention the flat countryside. Here, mobile communications currently has the edge as a connection method. Despite the poor mobile coverage typical for Germany.
It remains to be seen who will win the race in the long run: mobile phone providers or helium. Or whether the market is big enough for both technologies.
Which companies use helium?
E-scooter providers such as Lime, or even various providers of tracking collars for dogs, use the Helium network. Likewise, medical equipment providers also work with helium, just as car and bicycle rental companies. Other areas of application include sensors for weather data and environmental information to be collected via the Internet. But also think about parking space management.
A list of companies using helium for data transfer can be found here. Whereby in the list but currently with the exception of Salesforce and Lime only a few well-known names are represented.
Is there a community that can help?
While Helium has been a hotly debated topic in the blockchain world for some time, especially on Youtube. But helium mining hasn’t really hit the mainstream yet, and the number of useful forum posts is manageable. You can find some information for example here , but also here and in this forum. But watch out: Many seem to talk about helium without operating a miner themselves.