What is a Helium miner, and how does it work?

Key takeaways

  • The Helium Network is the first to introduce a wireless network to mine crypto. In this network, nodes act as hotspot devices, allowing HNT mining.

  • HNT hotspot mining became quite popular, but its profitability is diminishing gradually.


Crypto mining has been a lucrative way of earning passive income from the comfort of your home. It all started with Bitcoin and gradually reached several other mineable cryptos like Dogecoin, Ethereum Classic, and even Monero. The main reason behind the growth of crypto mining is its convenience and the fact that it doesn’t require significant investment capital. Over the years, many mineable cryptos came under the spotlight for being highly profitable, but none of them lasted for long. But in 2019, a new blockchain-based cryptocurrency called Helium network entered the market that created a hype around Helium miner.

The technology behind Helium mining

Helium Network has been offering a decentralized wireless infrastructure to mine HNT tokens and make profits. For this reason, helium mining has grown considerably since the day it first came out. The early adopters of helium mining fared better than most and set a record by gaining a substantial amount of HNT, the reward for mining Helium network.

This project exists as a scattered network (hence called the Helium network) where each and every node is a hotspot with LoRaWAN capability. LoRaWAN (long-range WAN) is one of the fastest-growing Internet of Things connections that is basically a network protocol using long-range radio modulation technology. Both the Helium network and HNT tokens are based on the proof-of-coverage algorithm, which makes it a decentralized Internet of Things.

Being a significantly large LoRaWAN network, Helium works by connecting data across the internet using physical devices, which are helium miners. In a way, Helium network has adopted a practical approach to the IoT, which was limited to making homes and logistics innovative.

Helium network: what is it?

To understand how a helium miner works, it is essential to discuss what a helium network is in itself. The crypto community knows Helium Miner as the first-ever decentralized wireless network that allows HNT mining. The helium network is made up of long-range wireless hotspots that provide access to these miners that are part of the IoT.

Helium network is an intelligent use case of wireless technology that eliminates connectivity-related issues in Wi-Fi. It is possible because the helium network has a much wider range of connections at its disposal. A centralized hub (mostly routers) isn’t necessary in this case because every device can connect with others nearby automatically and directly.

How does a Helium miner work?

Before helium, crypto miners relied on costly mining rigs that reduced their ROI considerably. But after the Helium network emerged, it allowed people to mine HNT tokens using a very different means, i.e., with a wireless device called a hotspot. Helium miners receive HNT tokens as a mining reward for providing coverage.

As the Helium network is essentially decentralized in nature, it allows people to set up hotspots (helium miners). Proof-of-Coverage is still a novel algorithm that the Helium blockchain uses for confirming the location of hotspots and their network coverage. Most people use the Helium Network Explorer tool for viewing data connected to POC.

Radio waves replace CPUs and ASICs in the case of helium mining. Helium hotspots prepare long-range wireless coverage for miners using LoRaWAN transmitters. Earning HNT as mining rewards takes place in two ways:

  1. When miners transfer data to other devices available on the Helium network.
  2. When a hotspot nearby often run proof-of-coverage challenges

In order to mine HNT, you need a special device, which is a LoRaWAN transmitter. But the most important factor that determines how much a helium miner earns is their geo-location. Gaining an antenna is crucial to increasing your mining rewards.

To be able to mine HNT profitably, one has to keep in mind that:

  • There are 3 types of helium miners or wireless plug-and-play hotspots used for mining HNT: full hotspots, light hotspots, and data-only hotspots.
  • Earning HNT tokens is possible by expanding Helium’s network coverage, which comes down to transferring more data in return for more rewards.

Pros and cons of Helium mining

Being wireless allows the helium miner to use radio technologies and mint HNT tokens. Its proof-of-coverage model makes it easy for anyone to set it up and start mining to receive rewards. It is a truly disruptive piece of technology where anyone interested can start mining HNT cryptos and generate a stable passive income. It requires no capital investment except for joining a helium hotspot to start mining.

One cannot cash out their earnings in HNT tokens directly from the Helium wallet they own. To do this, you will need to transfer the HNT to a compatible exchange. Furthermore, the total earnings depend on too many random factors, including the antenna’s location, height, etc.

Is it worth mining Helium?

When we think of whether it is worth mining Helium or not, we must consider its profitability now vs. then. In January 2021, the total number of Helium hotspots was 14,000, but these figures have grown to 900,000 while the rewards shared are the same. Each day, new miners enter the helium network, which significantly reduces the total mining rewards and therefore the profitability.

In this scenario, it seems like the early adopters of the Helium network have gotten the most rewards by mining HNT. But all newcomers must ensure that their mining efforts are well rewarded by the network.

The future of Helium mining

Helium mining does not guarantee profits in any way, but that is the crypto industry for you. Everything in this market is highly volatile and subject to change in an unpredictable way. While it is true that helium miners present an innovative way to generate passive income, depending on how earnings change from person to person, we are yet to see any changes in this project.


How can I earn more HNT via mining if I live in a densely populated area?

Helium mining profitability depends on network coverage and data transfer, and both of these things are decided by the helium miner. You can tweak the miner you have installed to get better results.

What if I am situated too far away from Helium hotspots?

The farther you are from a Helium hotspot, the weaker the connection gets, which affects the amount of HNT earned. Too much distance would make you unable to communicate with other available hotspots.