Helium could be set for a major change soon, as the core developers of the crypto-powered wireless network want to move from its own blockchain to Solana. But if Helium’s token price is any indication, investors and users may not be fully onboard with the ambitious plan.
Helium’s native HNT cryptocurrency has fallen about 15% since the Solana migration governance proposal was announced on Tuesday afternoon, per data from CoinGecko, dropping to a current price of $4.75 per token.
It only continues a recent trend of downward action for Helium’s HNT, which is currently the biggest loser among the top 100 coins ranked by total market cap. It’s now down about 11% over the past 24 hours, 32% over the past seven days, and a whopping 47% over the last 30 days.
By contrast, leading cryptocurrency Bitcoin is down just 1% over the last 24 hours and about 7% over the past week, while Ethereum is up 1% over the past day and down less than 6% during the last week.
In late July and early August, Helium faced controversy when a pair of companies that it claimed as partners—cloud software giant Salesforce and scooter rental startup Lime—said that they had no official ties to the decentralized wireless network. Nova Labs, which represents Helium’s founders, said it would adopt a “more rigorous” process for marketing brand partners.
Helium is a blockchain-based network that powers wireless communication protocols powered by thousands of individual users. Its first network, focused on providing connectivity to Internet of Things (IoT) devices like sensors and trackers, now has over 940,000 users running a node or miner device, according to Helium's own stats, that shares their home internet service in exchange for reward tokens.
More recently, Helium launched a 5G network designed for smartphones and laptops, and it has more than 3,000 node operators thus far, according to the Helium block explorer. In June, the network’s backers announced plans to embrace a “network of networks” approach that launches individual tokens for each protocol, and makes it easier for other connectivity protocols to tap Helium’s incentive model.
Developers from The Helium Foundation and Nova Labs want to move Helium to Solana—a rising layer-1 blockchain network used for DeFi apps, NFTs, and games—to aid in the network’s speed, security, and scalability. The proposal also claims that more HNT reward tokens will flow to the pool of node/miner operators, making it more valuable for users.
Social media sentiment has been mixed as more and more users learn about the proposal. Many have pointed to Solana’s previous network stability issues, suggesting that it’s a bad fit for a service powering wireless networks. For Solana’s part, the network has been more stable recently following the implementation of various network upgrades and features.
The migration proposal will go up for a community vote among HNT token holders on September 12. No timeline has been proposed for the migration should the vote pass.