Validators are Live on the Helium Network

The most significant upgrade to the Helium Blockchain since mainnet will vastly improve scalability, stability, and security.

Back in January of this year, the Helium community approved HIP-25, which proposed moving block production from hotspots to a group of validators. Since then, the Helium Network has grown by an astonishing 400%, including significant expansion in Southeast Asia. This week, with the activation of validators, the network overcomes a major scalability bottleneck and stability concern, while crossing another meaningful evolutionary milestone.

Several factors drove the adoption of validators. Low-power hotspots, while critical to the network, run mostly on consumer-grade internet connections meaning long block times, limits on the consensus group, and the potential for DoS attacks. All of these factors motivated the community to transition the network to a proof-of-stake model. Unsurprisingly, the Helium Community responded enthusiastically by running 700–800 validators on the testnet for months.

After the June 23rd announcement of staking on mainnet, the 100 validator threshold was met within hours. Today, upon activation, over 1700 validators will be securing the Helium Blockchain. For the Helium community around the world, not only do validators present an opportunity to double-down on their conviction in the future of the network, but also a means to earn rewards by participating in consensus. Evidence of the community’s conviction are clearly marked with nearly 20% of HNT supply being staked as of today.

Coverage growth will also accelerate thanks to validators, which lay the foundation for Light Hotspots; since these don’t need to run a full blockchain node, they can join the network permissionlessly. This enables the thousands of existing LoRaWAN gateways around the world to join the Helium Network and participate in mining. Light Hotspots, once enabled, will rapidly increase coverage on top of over 80,000 full-node hotspots already deployed and over 200,000 hotspots on backorder due to come online this year.

In addition to helping secure the Helium Network, validators will fundamentally advance the network’s ability to expand highly available and stable wireless coverage. Consistent block propagation and network uptime mean highly reliable transmission of data packets. This benefits all types of network users and supports higher data transfer volume for large industrial or municipal use cases.

If you’re interested in staking and prefer not to do it yourself, there are a number of providers available including the following listed below. Please note that the DeWi Alliance has not audited or reviewed the available options and thus cannot endorse any particular provider.

“We are excited for Helium as a novel blockchain that is looking to solve a physical world problem and improve wireless connectivity,” said Tim Ogilvie, CEO of Staked, a provider of non-custodial infrastructure services for the major Proof-of-Stake blockchains.

Thanks to the many contributors in the Helium community who dedicated their time and effort to this successful network upgrade. This includes the core developers, community members who provided incredible technical support and feedback, community-built staking services, as well as several highly reputable infrastructure providers who are helping to further broadcast the value and utility of the Helium Network.

Enabling the future of wireless connectivity