In a huge announcement for the 5G industry, blockchain challenger start-up Helium has revealed a combined $111m investment from leading venture capitalists as momentum surges across the network’s 11,000 global city locations.
The $111m in funding has been raised by venture capitalists including Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Ribbit Capital, 10T Holdings, Alameda Research, and Multicoin Capital – the funds are aimed at helping rapidly scale the global 5G network in an effort to keep roll-out momentum high.
The expansion of the decentralised 5G network is the main goal, so the funds are likely to be used in supporting mobile network operators (MNOs) and mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) as they leverage Helium 5G to expand their coverage.
Venture capital interest is a strong signal of support for the Helium Network’s innovative blockchain-enabled approach to decentralising connectivity and expanding access to the Internet.
The highly-anticipated Helium 5G network presents a significant new opportunity to realise the long-held promise of 5G accessibility for everyone, and provides a scalable democratic model for 5G ownership.
Hotspots mine HNT, the native network token, as an incentivised reward for expanding and strengthening wireless coverage.
Hosts – those who operate the Hotspots, are rewarded with HNT whenever their Hotspots provide coverage and transfer device data.
Helium’s first wireless network, the LongFi Network, is designed for Internet of Things (IoT) devices using the LoRaWAN wireless protocol.
It serves as a blueprint for how all wireless network infrastructure can be rapidly deployed decentrally in the future, and this innovation in roll-out strategy has investors excited.
“Helium shows that crypto incentives can be leveraged to deploy real-world infrastructure,” said Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of Alameda Research.
“Helium has a tremendous opportunity to bring 5G to the masses around the world and greatly enrich the quality of their lives.”
Indeed, the network has achieved significant support in the two years since the start-up launched, community participants have already deployed more than 112,000 Helium blockchain-powered Hotspots across in excess of 11,000 cities globally. That’s 112 countries in 24 months.
There are more than half a million back-ordered Helium Hotspots waiting to come online.
Momentum in the Helium roll-out is almost unprecedented in scale – which explains the excitement of venture capital investors.
Helium CEO Amir Haleem, who co-founded the venture with Napster’s Shawn Fanning, argued the incentive-model is the biggest innovation of the project, and will pioneer more widespread use across many industries.
“The investment we are seeing is a testament to our belief that an incentive-based model is the future,” said CEO Amir Haleem.
“Helium’s decentralised network empowers individuals to create a blanket of connectivity while also owning a piece of it rather than continuing with the status quo.
“We believe our Helium 5G network has the potential to rewrite the rules and we’re thrilled to see others share that belief.”
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