What is Helium Governance?
The Helium Network is the world's largest continuous decentralized wireless network. The process by which the Network can be modified, whether in its technical architecture, the tokens' economic model, or meta-governance changes, is governed by the global community of Helium token owners.
Helium token (HNT, IOT, MOBILE) owners include Hotspot owners, Network users, wireless network operators, hardware manufacturers, and more.
Tokens are created by providing some form of work for the Network. For example, transmitting data packets through the internet on behalf of a network user. Hotspot owners provide public, accessible wireless coverage. Network users must acquire and burn tokens to send data over the network. Tokens must be locked for voting on network changes, ensuring long-term stakeholder alignment.
Anyone participating in the Helium ecosystem can submit a Helium Improvement Proposal (HIP) as a first step to modifying the Network. All HIPs are published in the public Helium GitHub repository, then discussed and debated in public forums, including the Helium community Discord server, and on monthly Community Calls. Any Helium token owner is eligible to vote on HIPs. To vote, a Helium token owner must first lock their tokens for a period of time, up to four years, which grants the owner voting power determined by the number of locked tokens and the lock duration. A 2/3 supermajority of the quorum passes proposals.
The Helium Foundation serves as a steward for the governance process. The Foundation established the initial framework and managed the open Helium GitHub repositories. The Foundation does not vote on HIPs but does vet proposals for compliance with the law and technical feasibility. The Foundation’s role is to provide expert advice and guidance and to implement HIPs after they have passed.
Information about governance is subject to change as the Helium Network constantly evolves. It is led by the open-source community that continues to build it.
- Wallet - A digital application designed for interacting with blockchain-based applications. Wallets enable users to store and manage their digital assets, such as digital tokens and NFTs.
- Blockchain - A shared, immutable ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a business network. An asset can be tangible (a house, car, cash, land) or intangible (intellectual property, patents, copyrights, branding). Virtually anything of value can be tracked and traded on a blockchain network, reducing risk and cutting costs for all involved.1
- Solana - A blockchain that uses a proof-of-stake ("PoS") mechanism to provide smart contract functionality as well as a mechanism called proof-of-history ("PoH"), which uses hashed timestamps to verify when transactions occur.
- Token - Tokens are digital assets that utilize cryptography for secure transactions, represent value, and can be used for various purposes within a decentralized network or ecosystem.
- Non-Fungible Token ("NFT") - A unique digital identifier that is recorded on a blockchain and is used to certify ownership and authenticity. It cannot be copied, substituted, or subdivided.
- Consensus Protocols – A set of rules that define the instructions for how to be an autonomous participant in a distributed computer network and come to an agreement about the exact state of common data.
- Node - Refers to individual devices or computers that participate in maintaining the network by storing a copy of the blockchain, validating transactions, and relaying information to achieve consensus.
- Validators - A distributed network actor responsible for verifying and validating transactions and blocks, maintaining the network's security and consensus.
- Proof-of-Stake ("PoS") - A PoS system is a type of blockchain consensus protocol that achieves verification by selecting validators in proportion to their quantity of holdings in the associated cryptocurrency.
- Proof-of-History ("PoH") - A consensus protocol unique to Solana, Proof-of-History is a verifiable and sequential timestamping mechanism that provides a trustless and efficient ordering of events in the blockchain.
- Helium - A global decentralized wireless network of networks utilizing a token-incentive model.
- Helium Improvement Proposals ("HIP") - A bill for changes to the network.
- Discord - A web-based community chat platform.
- GitHub - A web-based platform that allows developers to collaborate, manage, and store their code repositories.
- Repository - A storage location that contains all the files, documentation, and version history of a project.
- Realms - A platform for decentralized projects to manage token-based governance operations and manage token-based governance operations.
- Helium Network Token ("HNT") - The native token of the Helium Network, used for incentivizing and securing the decentralized wireless network of networks through redemption and swap features.
- IOT subNetwork Token ("IOT") - A token specific to the LoRaWAN Network, used for incentivizing and securing the decentralized wireless network for IoT devices.
- MOBILE subNetwork ("MOBILE") - A token specific for the 5G CBRS Network, used for incentivizing and securing the decentralized wireless network for Cellular/Mobile devices.
- Staking (or “Lock Up”) - The act of temporarily locking up tokens as collateral to participate in block validation and consensus mechanisms, earning rewards for supporting network operations or generating Voting Power.
- Voting Power - 100 veHNT is more than ten veHNT. The higher amount would mean you have more weight in deciding vote outcomes. The more HNT you stake for veHNT, the more voting power you have.
- Vote Escrowed ("ve") - A position created by staking your tokens that only functions for Network or subNetwork voting. Vote Escrowed positions show up in wallets as NFTs and are non-transferrable.
- veHNT - A position created by staking your HNT. Used for voting on proposals that affect the entire Helium Network of Networks model.
- veIOT - A position created by staking your IOT. Used for IOT Network governance.
- veMOBILE - A position created by staking your MOBILE. Used for MOBILE Network governance.
Evolution of Governance
At the beginning of the Helium Network, the Network Founders designed their own Blockchain, the Helium Blockchain (Helium Layer 1 or L1), written in Erlang, a general-purpose programming language for early telecommunications systems.
As the Network began to store large amounts of data, the chain became slow and costly, both to operate and to use. The Solana Blockchain was proposed as an alternative in HIP 70 and voted and approved by the Helium Community. The passing of HIP 70 ushered in a subsequent Blockchain migration and increased tooling for voting and governance.
The governance history of the Helium Network can be broken thus far into three phases. Each phase contains a record of past voting. These votes reflect the community's decision-making process and provide insight into the evolution of the network. The next part of this document will explain the evolution of voting and how you can view past voting history:
- Phase 1: Voting in Discord by raising hands
- Phase 2: Helium Vote on-chain voting on the Helium L1
- Phase 3: Realms on Solana
Ready to participate? Join the global decentralized wireless network and participate in Helium Governance, including specific HIPs, voting procedures, and Working Groups. Refer to the provided links and resources.
- Discord: The Helium Discord platform serves as the primary communication channel for the Helium Network Community. It offers real-time discussions, support, and engagement opportunities.
- GitHub Repository: The HIP GitHub repository provides access to the Helium Improvement Proposals and related discussions.
- Social Media and Ecosystem Voices: The Helium Foundation and various influencers on platforms like Twitter, Discord, and YouTube provide updates, debates, and explanations of HIPs and governance-related matters.
- Monthly Community Calls: The Helium Community holds monthly video calls (led by the Helium Foundation). These typically happen on the 4th Wednesday of each month at Noon ET. Each call has an open agenda, and any community member can join and add items to the agenda to be discussed.
- Community Calendar: The Helium Foundation maintains a calendar of ecosystem events and happenings. You can access and subscribe to this at: www.helium.foundation/community-calendar.
Socials + Ecosystem Voices
As a network steward, the Helium Foundation posts important governance news, calls to vote, and more on Twitter. Follow @HeliumFndn on Twitter to stay up to date.
As a decentralized network, numerous voices discuss governance, host debates, and explain HIPs in layman's terms. You can find many of these influential voices in Discord, on Twitter, or on YouTube.
If you'd like to have your name or channels listed and linked here as a governance resource, submit a ticket in the Helium Docs Repo.