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”.
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.