Helium is a decentralized wireless network that provides long-range and low-power connectivity for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The network is powered by a unique blockchain technology that enables device owners to earn Helium tokens by participating in network operations, such as relaying data between devices and validating network transactions. Helium’s blockchain technology has proven to be an effective solution for IoT connectivity, with thousands of devices already connected to the network.
However, as Helium’s network grows, so does the need for scalability and performance. To address this, the Helium team has announced plans to migrate their blockchain technology to Solana, a high-performance blockchain that can handle thousands of transactions per second with low fees.
So, what does this migration mean for Helium users and the wider blockchain community? Let’s take a closer look.
What is Solana?
Solana is a high-performance blockchain that was designed for scalability and speed. It uses a unique consensus mechanism called Proof of History (PoH) that enables nodes to agree on the order of transactions without having to communicate with each other. This allows Solana to process transactions quickly and efficiently, with low fees and high throughput.
Solana has already attracted a lot of attention from developers and investors. Its native token, SOL, has seen a significant increase in value in recent months, and the blockchain has been used for a wide range of applications, from decentralized finance (DeFi) to gaming.
Why migrate to Solana?
Helium’s decision to migrate to Solana was driven by a need for scalability and performance. As the Helium network grows, it needs to be able to handle a larger number of transactions without sacrificing speed or security. Solana’s high throughput and low fees make it an ideal platform for Helium to build on.
According to Helium’s CEO, Amir Haleem, the migration to Solana will allow the network to handle up to 10,000 transactions per second, which is a significant increase from the current capacity of around 10 transactions per second. This will enable Helium to support a much wider range of devices and use cases, such as smart cities, supply chain tracking, and environmental monitoring.
What are the advantages of migration?
The migration to Solana offers several benefits for Helium users and the broader blockchain community:
- Increased scalability: With Solana’s high throughput, Helium will be able to scale its network to support a much larger number of devices and use cases.
- Lower fees: Solana’s low fees will make it easier and more cost-effective for Helium users to participate in network operations and earn rewards.
- Faster transaction times: Solana’s fast transaction times will enable Helium to process transactions quickly and efficiently, improving the overall user experience.
- Access to new tools and features: By migrating to Solana, Helium will be able to leverage the platform’s existing tools and features, such as its decentralized exchange and smart contract capabilities.
What comes next?
The Helium team is currently working on the migration to Solana, which is expected to take place in the coming days. The migration will involve transferring Helium’s blockchain technology to Solana and integrating it with the existing Helium network.
The Helium Foundation has officially proposed March 27, 2023 as the date for the transition to the Solana Blockchain. This upgrade will encompass all wallets, Hotspots and Helium Network state, and will take place over a 24-hour transition period commencing at approximately 15:00 UTC. On this day, the Helium blockchain will be halted. Proof-of-Coverage and data transfer activities will remain unaffected. The Helium Community declared that any rewards generated by Proof-of-Coverage activity in the prior 24 hours can be claimed in your Helium Wallet after the transition period. Oracles will update claimable balances, and Hotspot Owners will be able to use the new claim feature.
Helium Foundation released a new update about Migration to Solana on Medium. According to this:
“The Readiness Working Group acknowledged the progress made thus far but discussed shifting the migration date forward from March 27 in order to provide more time for 1) community readiness, 2) necessary governance votes, and 3) additional testing and operational improvements. The Readiness Working Group approved, by a supermajority vote, to move the migration date and set April 18 as the final migration date.”
While the Group expressed general confidence in the work completed, the following issues underpin the decision to extend preparation:
3rd Party Readiness:
Maker Apps — Allowing additional time for Hotspot management apps to be approved and listed by respective iOS and Android stores
Ledger Wallet — Additional time to confirm firmware updates and improvements to the migration UX
Centralized Exchange Support — The Foundation has received verbal confirmations that the upgrade will be supported, but additional time will allow exchanges to confirm publicly.
Defi — The Foundation has been working with existing Solana DeFi protocols to ensure that there is a simple way for Helium network users to onboard into the Solana ecosystem. We look forward to these teams making announcements of support for HNT, IOT, and MOBILE on their platforms.”
What do Hotspot hosts need to do?
The average user and Hotspot Owner needs to do very little. Ensure your hotspot is on and beaconing. If you are still using the original Helium Hotspot app (blue icon app), you will need to switch to the new Helium Wallet app (black icon). You can do this seamlessly by installing both apps, making sure they are up to date, and following the instructions in the app. After the migration, you will no longer be able to access the Helium Explorer, but you can use multiple explorers to view the status of the Solana blockchain.