Data Credits are used to pay for all transmission of data from devices on the Helium Network.
It is worth noting that HNT to DC conversion is irreversible. Data Credits cannot be refunded, exchanged for other tokens, or transferred between wallets.
Several options are available for funding an OUI with Data Credits:
Data credits are charged per 1DC per 24b increment for each response of an uplink payload. For a helpful visualization of DC usage of devices for a given period, check out the Data Credit calculator on the DC documentation.
Only uplinks are charged on Helium. Downlinks and join requests are not billed.
Understanding Multibuy (
The Helium Network charges for each response for a given payload. This is known as "multibuy" or
max_copies. Each Hotspot that reports a payload from a given device is eligible to be rewarded.
The LNS operator has a choice of how many reports they would like to buy.
Multibuy sets the maximum number of Hotspots that can deliver their receipt of a message. For instance, for a multibuy value of 10 on a device that only receives 8 reports, the OUI would be charged 8 DC ($0.00008 USD). This assumes the payload was less than 24b.
Multibuy is helpful in several scenarios where knowing a wide selection of available Hotspots is valuable:
- Ensuring successful downlinks.
Helium reports Hotspots' responses in chronological order. This can be challenging in scheduling downlinks because the first Hotspot to report may not necessarily be the closest or have the strongest RSSI/SNR attributes. This is important for downlink scenarios such as Class-C devices, ADR, confirmed uplinks, or standard downlinks on Class-A devices. Leveraging multibuy is an easy way to ensure that there is a strong Hotspot available to deliver the downlink message.
For devices that do not have internal location-solving abilities (GPS), the metadata of the packet report and Helium Network can be leveraged to solve for a device location.
Tracking OUI Balance
The balance of an OUI is held in an escrow account that is generated based on the OUI's payer key. This escrow account is what allows the Helium Network to appropriately deduct DC as network transfer occurs. The widget below can be used to look up the escrow account and balance for payer or router keys associated to any valid OUI.
The escrow account is the main source for understanding the remaining balance of an OUI. Details on the funding and burn of data credits on an escrow account can be inspected using any Solana blockchain explorer.
When monitoring the OUI balance, it is worth noting that the minimum usage deducted at a time is 10,000 DC1.
Sphere DC Balance API
Sphere provides a public API endpoint for querying the DC balance of an OUI's escrow account.
The Helium Packet Router enforces a minimum balance of 3,500,000 Data Credits ($35). This minimum balance is required to ensure that all Hotspots are compensated for their work on the network in the case that the LNS transfers data more quickly than can be deducted from the OUI's balance. Token balances cannot become negative, so this $35 buffer keeps network payments balanced.
If the DC balance of an OUI falls below the minimum balance, the LNS will be unable to receive data until the balance is increased.