Announcing the Inaugural DeWi Grant Recipients

Over $500k of grant funding has been awarded to our first 16 recipients

The Decentralized Wireless Alliance, the Foundation arm of the Helium Network (HNT), launched its grant program in February 2021. During the 45 day submission window, nearly 150 applications were submitted from both new and longtime Helium supporters. We’re excited to announce that over $500k worth of grants have been approved for the inaugural batch and 15 funded projects have already started work.

Given that this was the first instance of the program, we were thrilled to see a wide range of proposals and were blown away by the significant volume of applications from the outset. The large influx of interest gave us the opportunity to spot friction in the process and design improvements for the next cohort. We thank all the applicants for their collaborative spirit as we continue on our path towards a robust and globally distributed grant program to benefit the Helium Network.

After an initial review from the first wave of applications, the following areas were prioritized:

  • Network Expansion

The DeWi Alliance is proud to present the first batch of grant recipients including a brief summary of the project, as well as contact information including Helium Discord usernames when relevant. Some teams whose projects weren’t finalized will be revisited for Batch 2.

FreedomFi: Bring 5G to the Helium Network

The FreedomFi grant award will enable their gateways to be compatible with the Helium Network. The FreedomFi gateway leverages the recently opened 3.5 GHz band also referred to as Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS). Combining CBRS shared spectrum with Helium makes it economically feasible to set up 5G access points for individuals who want to provide coverage within the Helium network.

The Artemis Project: Secure Wireless Spectrum Access in Kenya

With the goal of expanding coverage of the Helium Network into Kenya, approval from the government’s Communications Authority (CA) is required. The Artemis team is working with the CA to open up the 868 MHz frequency (i.e. Helium hotspots’ frequency in Kenya), which is the first step towards creating a public, free for all Helium network that can be used by IoT devices in Kenya. The project is being led by bossbravo#1386 and Mzee#9914 in the Helium Community Discord, for those looking to support or get involved.

Project Zorba: Improve Proof of Coverage Security

This work will further secure the Helium Network and continue to optimize Proof of Coverage. The project combines graph theory with external data and sophisticated clustering algorithms to detect anomalies on the Helium blockchain. The model being developed ensures rewards are appropriately allocated to honest participants in the network to better incentivize growth of coverage. This work will also support decentralization and prevent dishonest actors from stockpiling hotspots and using them to game the network.

HeliumVision: Prototype an Agricultural Monitoring System

This project will feature a functional prototype for agricultural monitoring utilizing the Helium network. HeliumVision will demonstrate the deployment of sensors (air temperature/humidity, soil temperature, etc.) along with a front-end monitoring dashboard and product demo. The goal of the product is to empower small scale farms that don’t traditionally have access to more expensive agricultural monitoring systems. While the project initially targets agriculture, the software’s benefits will have further reaching utility into other large land-use operations such as wineries and ski mountains. Interested collaborators can contact boisebrewer#0883 on Discord.

The Urban Farm: Build Greenhouse Aquaponics Dashboard and No-Energy Watering Unit

This project will create two open source applications to initially be used on a non-profit farm in Denver, Colorado. The aquaponics dashboard will combine sensors and a user interface to measure marine health including pH levels, dissolved oxygen and more. The watering unit will be used to assist with the management of livestock including alerts and a water refilling mechanism.

Alphamethod: Write Rosetta API Implementation

Rosetta is an open standard designed to simplify blockchain deployment and interaction. This project is completing the development work to add API connectivity to the Helium blockchain. As different wallets and crypto-applications look to integrate the Helium token (HNT), this implementation will reduce friction in bringing HNT to other blockchain-based ecosystems. Collaborators can reach out to alphamethod#0541 on Discord.

Casey Pugh: Build Kubernetes Config for Validators

Kubernetes is a popular system for managing container-based cloud deployments. For validators, a well-designed Kubernetes system will improve your validators’ uptime and reliability, and make it easier to manage, particularly if you’re managing multiple clusters. This project’s output will be a Kubernetes configuration with easy-to-follow instructions for one or more cloud providers, and will provide ongoing maintenance and bug fixes. Contact cpu#9479 if you’d like to find out more.

DefinitelyFriends: Develop an HNT Browser Wallet

The DefinitelyFriends team is creating a browser wallet that will be an open source React web application that communicates directly with the Helium API. It will be packaged as a browser plug-in and available for Firefox, Chromium and Brave browsers. The wallet will open up new user-flows and applications since it will include the ability to sign an empty transaction, effectively creating a “login with an HNT address”. Collaborators can contact snuts#6969.

Daniel Andrade and Vishal Patel: Manage and Improve Public Helium ETL

Due to the exponential growth of the Helium network, the load of its official open API server has been taxed and resulted in recent outages. By having other reliable sources for the community to build upon, the main API won’t suffer high loads, enabling developers to focus on network improvement software instead of dealing with heavy payloads slowing the entire API and critical systems built on top of it. With an easy to run ETL server, tools that require huge amounts of data processing on their own infrastructure can be built without disrupting any of the current network. ETL Management will streamline the process of running an ETL database, add automation and notification software, create a daily ETL snapshot accessible to the public, and maximize uptime. Project leads are spillere#2661 and wishplorer#3789 with support from DeWi.

Kyle Bales: Create a ‘Light’ ETL

This is an alternate implementation of the current ETL node, which will provide similar functionalities as Helium’s ETL does, however with a more variable scalability factor. ETL Light will allow the user to create custom filters to determine which transactions to load into their database, allowing two different tiers of filtering: first by transaction type (e.g. rewards_v1) second by specific accounts or gateways, with multiple inputs of each supported. Since traditionally, an ETL extracts all transactions and blocks from the blockchain, there is a huge overhead in computing and disk space required. Contact olb1ue#7478 if you’d like to collaborate on this project.

LondHeNet: Identify Key Urban Coverage Gaps and Upgrades

The team is creating a graph-theory based computational tool for the analysis of the Helium Network, using London as a testbed. The objective is to optimize current network coverage via the identification of (1) Areas most needing new hotspot deployment and (2) potential upgrades for existing hotspots that would benefit the network at the local level. The goal of the project is to extend and apply a recently developed algorithm, the Image Visibility Graph (IVG), to the analysis of the Helium network. Inquiries can be directed to Andrea_Fnt#6421.

Joey Hiller: Build New Tools for Coverage Map Analysis

This project seeks to build the tools that will enable hotspot hosts and enthusiasts to survey, interpret, and share this real-world coverage on an ongoing basis. The initial milestone is to define the coverage map dataset in order to provide more opportunities for complex analysis of the network in the near future. The ability to perform more complex analysis on map data is rapidly approaching. mappers.helium.com is evolving to support per-hex analysis backed by a completely reworked backend. These early iterations will eventually evolve into the Helium Coverage Explorer. Contact Joey H.#2970 about collaborating.

NOWi Sensors: Create “Am I Covered?” Portal

The project will deliver a website where anybody can plug in their physical address and determine if their location has Helium Network coverage. The project will analyze whether there is existing mapper data or make an estimate based on asserted hotspot locations. It will also accept a minimum RSSI parameter to account for weaker signals. The output will include a callable API. Contact CharlesF#1352 about collaborating.

HeliumHosts: Develop Host-to-Host Chat Functionality with API

The team is creating an open-source chat functionality for hosts to message and collaborate on optimal coverage at a local level. The project includes an API for 3rd party integrations as well as accommodating non-owner user wallets. Contact Dimitar Petrov#7957 about collaborating or integrations.

HeliumGrowth: Build Time Lapse Coverage Visualization

This new coverage map will showcase hotspot growth in any region worldwide and see an estimated percentage of population covered by the Helium Network over time in any city or country, along with a time-series map visualizing hotspot activity over time. Helium enthusiasts and data journalists will be able to leverage this interactive experience for content, incentivizing deployments, and driving network use. Collaborators can reach out to BudLowe#8699.

DeWi is eager to support more of the community’s work across a variety of areas to improve and expand the Helium Network as a public good. Updates for Batch 1 will be publicly shared as major milestones are reached.

Applications for Batch 2 will open within the next few weeks. Look for the next Grant Program announcement in the DeWi Twitter feed as well as the #dewi-announcements channel in the Helium Community Discord. Thank you to everyone who participated and supported. Onward!

Enabling the future of wireless connectivity