Have Helium Leaders Been Lining Their Own Pockets While Not Delivering on Product?
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Directors at Helium (HNT), a “decentralized wireless infrastructure” developer, and their family and friends hoarded most of the wealth when the project was launched, Forbes claims.
This is a $1.2 billion network3 company that said it was building a global wireless Internet called the “People’s Network.” Helium COO Frank Mong wrote that one of the principles of the Helium network is fairness, saying that “everyone has an equal chance with me.”
But Forbes has painted a very different picture of the company – a fair counter-name.
According to the report, People’s Network users have been seen “losing small crypto prizes”, claiming that
“Helium has made a handful of people disproportionately rich: its executives and their friends.”
Lee Reiners, Director of Policy Duke Financial Economics Centerwho teaches cryptocurrency law at Duke Lawthe news paper quoted him as saying that
“This thing was set up to enrich the founders and early supporters at the expense of everyday people.”
Forbes claims to have reviewed “hundreds of leaked internal documents” and transaction data and interviewed five former Helium employees, and found that despite project insiders promoting democracy and justice, most of the wealth generated in the project’s early days, when it was most profitable, went to these insiders.
The authors claim to have identified 30 digital wallets that appear to be connected to Helium employees, their friends, family and early investors. These wallets have mined 3.5 million HNT, which is almost half of all tokens mined in the first three months since the network launched in August 2019.
Then, within six months, insiders had mined more than a quarter of all HNT—worth about $250 million at its peak last year. After the crash, the tokens are still worth $21 million.
The authors argue that
“While Helium and its executives have publicly discussed their incentive plan — a system called Helium Security Tokens, or HST, which guarantees about a third of all HNT to insiders — they have not previously disclosed the additional windfalls from Helium’s public tokens, worth millions, Forbes identified. “
This means that when Helium rewards per hotspot reached an all-time high, just over 30% went to the community, while insiders claimed the rest. Each hotspot earned an average of HNT 33,000 in August 2019, while each hotspot now earns only about HNT 2 per month. So executives, friends, family and certain early investors were given surprises in addition to guaranteed dividends before the bottom line collapsed.
The article also alleges that some insiders took advantage of the company’s known vulnerabilities to pad their pockets.
Despite this, Amir Haleem, founder and CEO of Helium, described the project on Discord as “by far the fairest token distribution of any project I’m aware of.”
Haleem also said in the interview that about half of the original hotspots were distributed to employees, their families and friends.
“None of these numbers strike me as unreasonable or outrageous in any way,” he told Forbes.
However, the hotspot linked to Haleem’s wife showed the coordinates of the couple’s California home, and the five hotspots linked to this wallet mined 250,000 HNT in the first three months of the network – a total of 455,000 HNT in mining fees, worth $25 million in HNT. top price and $2 million today.
It is unclear when or if Haleem sold these tokens, and he declined to comment, the authors said.
Another example is Chief Operating Officer Frank Mong. According to Forbes, in one day in August 2021, a wallet that appears to be connected to Mong received nearly a dozen payments — worth nearly $1 million — from two other wallets linked to him. The amount was transferred a Binance wallet.
When asked if Helium should have revealed this extra insider coincidence to the community, Haleem replied that
“I don’t know why we would be asked to reveal anything about these people … They took a huge risk and a huge opportunity to pay money to build something.”
Haleem claimed that some crypto projects reserve up to 90% of the initial token supply to investors and team members, which Forbes could not prove, and Haleem allegedly did not provide an example. “That’s the playing field we’ll always be on in crypto, right or wrong,” he said. “The generally accepted reality is that someone has to start a network.”
More than one alleged problem
Helium also appears to be struggling to monetize its network, Forbes claimed, adding that between June 2021 and August 2022, just $92,000 in revenue was generated from data moving online — compared to the $250 million the parent company has raised from investors. Helium gets most of its revenue from people registering new hotspots and authenticating other devices on the network.
The company may have also exaggerated the nature of some of its partnerships, as Helium later removed certain companies from its website that had listed them as customers.
Helium supports Andreessen Horowitz and Tiger Global, among other investors. Neither of those companies appeared in an early panel of insiders, said Forbes.
As of noon on Monday, UTC HNT is trading at $4.52. It has increased by almost 1% per day and 14% per week. It is down 24% for the month, 74% for the year and 92% from its all-time high of $54.88 in November 2021.
The company says it is currently building Helium 5G in cooperation with wireless operators DISH and T-Mobilewhile they also announced the release of the MOBILE token to reward hotspot owners for building the 5G ecosystem.
And while some praised the Forbes report:
Others criticized it:
– Helium’s price advantages from Solana’s transfer plans – Where next for HNT?
– The price of HNT is not greatly affected by the Helium “users” dispute
– Helium Blockchain: Decentralization of Wireless Networks
– How Helium Uses Crypto to Grow the Decentralized Internet
– Carpet bets were rampant in August, but decreased slightly in the previous months – Report
– South Korea’s Kok Play Token Masterminds Reportedly Facing Prosecution, Investors ‘Must Run Now’