What is the Helium protocol
The future of IoT devices
Helium has a proposal (HIP-70) currently going on through a voting process and if it succeeds, Helium blockchain will move to Solana.
Ok so let’s try to understand first what is helium and then it will be easy to know why it needs to move to Solana.
We all are using or have seen some devices that are connected to the internet like smart watches, light switches, and amazon echo, so generally, these devices need an internet connection to work and this connection is provided by cellular service providers, but the problem is, these providing solutions are centralized and costly.
What does it mean by centralized and what are its risks?
Centralized means they are connected to a network that is controlled by a single entity and has one point of failure. Suppose what will happen if these networks got hacked and the data of the device got leaked?
Helium protocol has proposed an alternative solution to these centralized solutions. Helium network is secured by hotspots that are run by normal users. Its code is open source, so anyone can build them or buy from the market and install them at their home. As an incentive, the users will receive HNT tokens for helping to secure the network, and IoT devices have to burn the HNT token to get data credits that will let them use the network.
Simply saying, Instead of using giant network infrastructure, helium is using these tiny hotspots to build a network that IoT devices can use and it is backed by HNT tokens.
So where does helium blockchain comes into the picture?
Some wireless networks that are staking their HNT tokens can participate in the network as validators. Keeping track of HNT holders, and checking authenticity for IoT devices to use the network are two major purposes of the helium blockchain.
Why move to Solana?
Now the use case of the network is increasing and the helium blockchain is not able to deliver them because it wasn’t built for these purposes in mind, so moving the L1 blockchain platform is the optimal solution for helium right now.
There are a lot of technical details why choose Solana over other L1s but we will leave it for another time.
But if you are more curious, read it here https://github.com/helium/HIP/blob/main/0070-scaling-helium.md