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Helium Analytics: Data, Truth, and the Results

Heli­um is a com­plex sys­tem. If you don’t under­stand it, that com­plex­i­ty can be REALLY frustrating. 

There are radio fre­quen­cy con­cepts, Hotspot den­si­ty rules, dif­fer­ent anten­nas, cables, split­ters, and a con­stant­ly chang­ing Net­work. Those all com­bine to make an extra­or­di­nar­i­ly com­plex sys­tem. In any com­plex sys­tem, the big oppor­tu­ni­ty is to look for big pat­terns and use­ful data; dig­ging into the weeds can make ya want to tear your hair out sometimes!

Let’s go through a few basic truths, then I’ll intro you to a tool that’ll help make sense of one of the most impor­tant parts of the Net­work for a lot of folks: Earnings.

Truth 1: The amount of HNT any Hotspot will earn will steadi­ly decrease over its life­time due to the growth of the net­work. Think of this as a pie that both gets small­er over time (the halv­ing every 2 years) AND gets cut into more and more slices as more Hotspots join and the rewards get divvied up to more and more earners.

This means that when your rewards shrink, it’s not a scam or a rug, it’s actu­al­ly a sign the thing is work­ing: The net­work is GROWING. That’s a good sign for the over­all health of the network. 

Truth #2: Over time, the Hotspots that earn the most will be ones that pro­vide the most util­i­ty to the net­work. Util­i­ty can be mea­sured in two major­ly dif­fer­ent ways: Proof of Cov­er­age, or PoC, and Data Flow, which is mea­sured in the amount of data trans­ferred through a Hotspot.

At the start of growth, net­work util­i­ty is mea­sured through the first three let­ters of WUPU (Wide, Unique, Prove­able, and Use­ful) to pro­vide PoC. PoC is what we’re all focus­ing on now in March 2022, because no one is real­ly using the net­work at scale yet. PoC is the dri­ving force behind the growth of the net­work, and is a pow­er­ful­ly ele­gant way of using toke­nomics to build a net­work before you need it. 

Once the net­work starts to actu­al­ly get used at scale, util­i­ty will be mea­sured by how much data your Hotspot processes. 

So, if your Hotspot isn’t earn­ing, first ask your­self how much val­ue its pro­vid­ing to the net­work. Com­mon mis­takes are to think that you’re spe­cial and the net­work owes you some­thing. You’re not, it does­n’t. This is a decen­tral­ized net­work built to incen­tivize superb radio cov­er­age. Admit­ted­ly, it’s not per­fect, but it’s not (by a long shot) a scam or a rug. It’s an uncar­ing mea­sure of excel­lence, and by def­i­n­i­tion, most of us will be average.

Truth #3: The data for just about every net­work sta­tis­tic is pub­licly avail­able. It may not be easy for the com­mon inter­net user to under­stand, but it’s there. That’s what we’ll dive into for the rest of this, most­ly focus­ing on a rad tool called Heli­um Ana­lyt­ics, which you can find here.

The raw data for Heli­um Ana­lyt­ics comes from what’s called an ETL. ETL stands for Extract, Trans­form, and Load, and it’s basi­cal­ly a copy of the data con­tained in the Heli­um blockchain. You can run your own ETL, but it can get expen­sive to store all of that data. As of March 2022, the blockchain is about 4 ter­abytes of data. That’s a lot, and a great rea­son to let some­one else take that on.

Thank­ful­ly, Dave Akers over at Heli­um Ana­lyt­ics has done just that. Let’s dive in to the tool he’s built to help you under­stand all the data the Heli­um blockchain holds!

Let’s start with what you want to know: Is my Hotspot doing what it’s sup­posed to do when it comes to earnings?

Now, “sup­posed to do” means dif­fer­ent things to dif­fer­ent peo­ple. For me, I look at past earn­ings in 7 day chunks, and I expect that over time those earn­ings will drop. I’ll typ­i­cal­ly use the Watchi­um app for keep­ing an eye on what my Hotspots are doing (use code GRISTLEKING to get ear­ly access), but you can also use the Heli­um Explorer.

If there is a sud­den drop or rise that does­n’t match what I’m expect­ing, then I look at the glob­al aver­age, both the tar­get­ed aver­age (what *should* have hap­pened) and the actu­al aver­age. Heli­um Ana­lyt­ics makes this ultra easy. For these exam­ples I’ll be using today, but you can use the date box in the top right to dive deep into the past. 🙂

Go to the Dai­ly Data Rewards Sum­ma­ry, then look all the over on the right side, under “Actu­als.”

Now for me, I’m kind of a loca­tion snob: If it’s not awe­some OR serv­ing a very spe­cif­ic cov­er­age pur­chase, I won’t put one up. I like my loca­tions to be 3x glob­al aver­age at the min­i­mum. Not every­one can do that, I’m just shar­ing with you what I’m look­ing for. The impor­tant thing here is to see if there’s a tem­po­rary glob­al shift in earn­ings along with where your Hotspot(s) stacks up.

The next thing to pay atten­tion to is whether those dials are in the green or the red. If they’re in the red, you can expect your earn­ings to be down. If they’re in the green, expect earn­ings to be (gen­er­al­ly) up. All of us who’ve run Hotspots for any amount of time know that earn­ings are spiky; you’ve got days where you feel like you’re nail­ing it and days where you won­der what’s wrong. Those are normal.

Ok, now you have a pret­ty good idea of where every­body else is, and you should have a good idea of where you are. But…you’ve heard that “every­one” on Twitter/Discord/Reddit/FB/YT is com­plain­ing of rewards being down. That’s some­thing you can check over on the Rewards Dis­tri­b­u­tion tab.

This is a “dis­tri­b­u­tion graph” (Dave at Heli­um Ana­lyt­ics par­tic­u­lar­ly likes these) with 3 col­ors on it. The orange line is what hap­pened yes­ter­day. The red line is what’s hap­pen­ing today. If those two lines are over­lap­ping (the way they are in this screen shot, you can be pret­ty sure that rewards across the Net­work are not down.

If you see some­thing like this, where the red “today” line is left of the orange “yes­ter­day” line, you know rewards are down across the Network.

The blue area is the num­ber of hotspots at each point. As you can see if you click through the days, MOST hotspots make .4 or less per day.

The left side Y‑axis is the num­ber of Hotspots in each “group”, the right side Y‑axis is the total amount of HNT each “group” of Hotspots made, and the bot­tom is how much HNT each indi­vid­ual Hotspot made.

A “group” of Hotspots is all the Hotspots that made the same amount, say .46915 HNT that day. 

Now let’s focus back on the next thing that makes sense for your aver­age Hotspot own­er, which is how many Hotspots are actu­al­ly active on the Net­work. This was sur­pris­ing to me; at any one time, about 30% of all Hotspots are offline! Dave says he’s been watch­ing that stat for a while, and it’s stayed rea­son­ably con­stant through­out the growth of the network. 

Now, WHY 30% of Hotspots are offline at any one time is a mys­tery to me, though I’ve heard lots of poten­tial­ly true expla­na­tions. My take­away as a Hotspot own­er who is inter­est­ed in earn­ings is that it’s fine for those of us online; we don’t have to split such thin slices of pie. 🙂

The last thing to dig into is the Chal­lenge Sum­ma­ry data, and while you can dig in REEEAL deep, I stop right at the top, look­ing at the Aver­age Chal­lenges (that’s per day) and the PoC inter­val (this is how often an aver­age Hotspot will Bea­con). In this case, 544 min­utes equal about every 9 hours. Now, that’s a rough calc, but close enough for me to use. 

One thing to note here is that the PoC inter­val can be changed on the blockchain. The Heli­um team will do this in the short-term future just to keep the blockchain from get­ting too con­gest­ed while we still have “full fat” Hotspots on it. When this was writ­ten (the morn­ing of March 25th, 2022), the inter­val was 475. 

A few hours lat­er, that inter­val had changed to 950. Kind of cool to be writ­ing a blog post right in the mid­dle of Heli­um history.

Maybe that’s a lit­tle on the nerdy side. If you want to check this, you can see any of the chain vars over here, on Helium.Plus.

You can cer­tain­ly dive deep­er, and we do in this video, but for now I think you’ve got the most use­ful basics to help deter­mine for your­self the health of the Net­work. Rock on!

Hey, if you’re enjoy­ing the con­tent on this blog and want to either sup­port it OR you want to join a crew of enthu­si­as­tic Heli­um par­tic­i­pants, check out the cours­es I’ve built to help you under­stand Heli­um or con­sid­er join­ing the Gris­tle Crüe! Thanks so much for read­ing, and have a rad day!


2 responses to “Helium Analytics: Data, Truth, and the Results”

  1. Hi,
    Tries Heli­um Ana­lyt­ics .… looks like the last ETL date was 11 May

    Has it gone?

  2. Hi Chris, nope, it’s still up, the ETL is behind though.

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