Helium raises £147m for its blockchain-based telecoms network


Fin is a former junior editor at TechForge.

Helium, a decentralised telecommunications network, has raised $200 million (£147m) in a Series D funding round at a $1.2 billion (£881m) valuation, according to Axios.

The Helium network is a globally distributed network of hotspots that provide public, long-range wireless coverage for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Running a hotspot rewards the owner with HNT, the native cryptocurrency of the Helium blockchain.

Major venture capital firms such as Tiger Global and FTX Ventures were among the new investors, with existing backers including GV, Khosla Ventures, Multicoin Capital, and more.

The start-up had previously raised around $110 million (£81m) in total, as well as a $111 million (£81.5m) token sale led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) last summer.

Helium currently consists of more than half a million hotspots that provide bandwidth for, and collect data from, nearby IoT devices. The more a hotspot is used, the more HNT an owner earns.

Hotspot owners can earn HNT in two ways: by validating the network or by moving data for device users.

Helium uses a novel proof-of-coverage (PoC) consensus mechanism to verify that hotspots are located where they claim. Through PoC, the network is constantly checking that hotspots are accurately representing their location and the wireless coverage that they are providing.

With moving data, a nearby device simply has to use an individual’s hotspot to transmit data and they will receive rewards based on how much data is transferred.

HNT’s current market cap sits at $2.5 billion (£1.85bn) and it is available on Coinbase, but not many other major exchanges.

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