What is DePIN? DePIN stands for Decen­tral­ized Phys­i­cal Infra­struc­ture Networks.

A DePIN project is one where you buy some piece of hard­ware that pro­vides a ser­vice. It could be a dash­cam for your car that col­lects images as you dri­ve. It could be a radio and anten­na that pro­vides wire­less cov­er­age. It could be a weath­er sta­tion, or a relay node for a pri­va­cy net­work, or a device that plugs into the OBDII port on your car.

What­ev­er it is, the hard­ware you buy pro­vides a ser­vice. When you install the hard­ware (com­mon­ly referred to as “deploy­ing it”), you are reward­ed with cryp­tocur­ren­cy tokens in return for feed­ing that data or ser­vice into a network.

Because the net­work is made up of a bunch of inde­pen­dent actors, it’s “decen­tral­ized”.

You could be pro­vid­ing cell phone cov­er­age with Heli­um Mobile, or local weath­er data with Weath­erXM, or WiFi in India with WiFiD­ab­ba. What­ev­er it is, you’re pro­vid­ing some­thing useful.

Each net­work has its own set of rules that cre­ate a set of incen­tives. The best ones are set up so that the incen­tives reward you for doing what’s best for the net­work. DePIN projects use tokens to dri­ve eco­nom­ic val­ue, and the whole plan describ­ing it is typ­i­cal­ly called “toke­nomics”.

The first and largest project in the space, called Heli­um, is where I got start­ed, back in August of 2020.  I found the project while look­ing for a lost paraglid­er. I wrote a blog post explain­ing Heli­um to fam­i­ly and friends; it went viral in the then-tiny world of Heli­um. In 2021 I was vot­ed com­mu­ni­ty mem­ber of the year, and I found myself help­ing thou­sands of peo­ple under­stand first Heli­um and then lat­er, all of DePIN.

Even­tu­al­ly, along with a part­ner I built a con­sul­tan­cy to help DePIN projects. We’ve worked with some of the biggest names in the space, from Nova (Heli­um Mobile) to the Heli­um Foun­da­tion, to Weath­erXM, WiFi Dab­ba, Hivemap­per, GEODNET, and IOTEX

Still, I want to make sure I con­tin­ue help­ing YOU, the deploy­er, the per­son new to DePIN who wants to learn what it is, how to do it, and how to make the most of it.

What­ev­er the DePIN project is you found, the big idea is that DePIN pro­vides a way for you to “cap­ture val­ue” from the ser­vices and data you pro­vide.  Up until DePIN, you most­ly gave away this data for free, to the large com­pa­nies who sold you hard­ware for low prices, then sold the data you col­lect­ed free for them.

DePIN is a new space, with lots of play­ers. Most of them are good, some of them are scams. My goal at GristleK­ing is to help you under­stand projects so you can make the best deci­sion pos­si­ble about how and what you want to par­tic­i­pate in.