The blockchain Helium Network (HNT) is raising $111 million, enough to fund the development of its decentralized 5G network. The project would potentially be able to challenge the traditional telecommunications giants.
Fundraising for growth at 5G speed
Decentralized wireless infrastructure provider Helium Network has just raised $111 million via the sale of HNT tokens, the project’s native token. The sale was led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and saw participation from 10T, Alameda Research, Multicoin Capital and Ribbit Capital. As a reminder, the HNT token is used to remunerate hotspot holders operating on the network as well as to pay for access to the network.
The funds raised will allow Helium to continue building its decentralized 5G network and help mobile network operators expand their coverage. According to the company’s website, the network already has 116,000 hotspots in over 11,000 cities. More than 500,000 additional hotspots are just waiting to come online.
The company’s co-founder, Amir Haleem, said in an interview that Helium is being used in many projects, such as supporting air and water quality monitoring.
A new decentralized telecommunications giant
For Ali Yahya, partner at a16z, Helium will compete with “centralized incumbents” and telecom giants. Yahya and 2 of his associates at a16z actually co-authored a blog post indicating Helium’s promising advances in 5G:
“Helium is now evolving and has embarked on a path to deploy a 5G cellular network via gateways and hotspots. We are excited about Helium’s potential to deliver full 5G connectivity around the world in a faster and more cost-effective manner than traditional telecom infrastructure.”
Alameda Research founder Sam Bankman-Fried also expressed his support for Helium, describing the project as a “tremendous opportunity to bring 5G to the masses around the world and dramatically improve the quality of their lives.”
Helium Network could therefore make a significant contribution to the rollout of 5G around the world. This blockchain-based project is expected to support the development of smart city initiatives or even participate in part in the commercial success of products, such as HTC’s 5G router that can host a full Bitcoin node.