HIP 17 — Why Are You Getting Scaled?



It’s one of the most con­fus­ing aspects of Heli­um; you put up your hotspot in an “emp­ty” res 8 hex, but you still get your trans­mit rewards scaled. Why is that, and what can you do about it?

First, let’s talk about “trans­mit reward scal­ing”. What is it? Let’s take it straight from the Github pro­pos­al:

[…]for each trans­mit, the trans­mit­ting hotspot’s reward will be based on the num­ber of wit­ness­es and then scaled by its own trans­mit reward scale. 

For wit­ness­es, they will receive a por­tion of reward based on the num­ber of wit­ness­es scaled by the transmitter’s reward scale. 

Translation –>

When you bea­con, any reward “assigned” to you for that bea­con will be mul­ti­plied by your trans­mit reward scale. If you have a trans­mit reward scale of .5, all the rewards you get for bea­con­ing will be cut in half. (Your Reward) x (0.5) = 50% of your rewards.

When you wit­ness, any reward assigned to your hotspot is scaled by the trans­mit­ter’s reward scale. That means if you wit­ness a hotspot’s bea­con, but that hotspot has a trans­mit reward scale of .5, your wit­ness reward will be cut in half. (Your Reward) x (0.5) = 50% of your rewards.

But how the heck is the rewards scale cal­cu­lat­ed? Which res­o­lu­tion should you look at? Here’s the vid:

What’s the short ver­sion for readers?

  • Your reward scale is a func­tion of hotspot den­si­ty assessed at dif­fer­ent scales (res­o­lu­tions).
  • Heli­um assess­es your rewards scale at EVERY res­o­lu­tion.
  • The trans­mit reward scale cal­cu­la­tion is a “water­fall”, affect­ing every res­o­lu­tion from 4–10.
  • You can be in your own res 8, or res 7 but still be in an over­crowd­ed res 4 and get scaled. See the video for an example.
  • Some­times the rewards don’t make sense. This can usu­al­ly be explained by blockchain lag, OR it’s like­ly that Heli­um is doing some behind-the-scenes math to com­bat gaming. 

Groundwork for Understanding HIP17 — Hexes & Siblings

Let’s start with the idea of sib­lings. At any res­o­lu­tion size, a sib­ling is any hex shar­ing a side with your hex. Every hexa­gon has 6 sides and there­fore 6 sib­ling hexes.

A sib­ling is just one of 3 chain vari­ables, or “chain vars” that the Heli­um blockchain uses to deter­mine trans­mit reward scal­ing at any res­o­lu­tion size.

The chain vari­ables are:

  • Den­si­ty Tar­get — How many hotspots can be in a hex WITHOUT any oth­er hotspots around
  • Den­si­ty Max — The most num­ber of hotspots you can have in your hex, even if the Sibling/Density Tar­get vari­ables are met
  • Sib­lings — The num­ber of sib­lings that need to meet the Den­si­ty Tar­get before you can move to Den­si­ty Max

For exam­ple, at res­o­lu­tion 8 (res 8), the chain vars are 2, 1, 4. Yes, it’s con­fus­ing. No, I did­n’t write it. Yes, I can explain it. I’ll go in order of the chain vars.

  • 2 refers to the num­ber of sib­lings that will need to have the Den­si­ty Tar­get in them in order for your hex to have up to the Den­si­ty Max before being scaled.
  • 1 is the Den­si­ty Tar­get, or the num­ber of hotspots per hex Heli­um allows IF the hotspot had no oth­er hotspots nearby.
  • 4 is the Den­si­ty Max, which is the max­i­mum num­ber of hotspots you can have in a hex once con­di­tions are met (Num­ber of Sib­lings each hav­ing the Den­si­ty Target.)

That means if you’re in a res 8 hex in the mid­dle of the desert with no one around you, you can only have 1 hotspot per hex before you get TRS’d (Trans­mit Reward Scale). If you had 2 hotspots in your hex, your TRS would be 0.5, or 50%.

If you’re in a res 8 in the city where it’s a lit­tle more crowd­ed, and you have at least 2 sib­lings that ALSO have 1 hotspot in them, then you begin to be able to add more hotspots, up to 4 hotspots in your hex before get­ting TRS’d. 

The same thing applies at every res­o­lu­tion. Once you get it, it’ll make a lot more sense. 

The last thing to remind you of is that you’ll fre­quent­ly see wonky num­bers that won’t make sense. Some­times those are out­dat­ed num­bers that just take a few days to drop off. Some­times that’s a result of the “chil­dren” hex­es affect­ing the area cov­ered (more on that in the Heli­umVi­sion Mas­ter Class, which you should total­ly sign up for.)

At the end of the day, even an 8 year old child could look at New York City and know it’s over­crowd­ed, or Basalt, Col­orado and know it’s under­pop­u­lat­ed. While this is a lit­tle bit of rock­et sci­ence (the guy who wrote it now works on rock­ets), the intent is one of com­mon sense: There is no ben­e­fit to the net­work for over­crowd­ed areas.

That’s real­ly all you have to remem­ber. Best of luck with your deploy­ments, and if you need help going deep­er or opti­miz­ing your Heli­um hotspot, con­sid­er hir­ing me.

Rock on!


55 responses to “HIP 17 — Why Are You Getting Scaled?”

  1. Jamie Barratt Avatar
    Jamie Barratt

    Thought so but want­ed some clar­i­ty on it, thank you!

  2. Hi, new­bie here and hun­gry for clar­i­ty. I’m look­ing at an area with low­er pop­u­la­tion den­si­ty, but zero min­ers and no sib­lings. If I am the first and only min­er in the area is that a ben­e­fit? Does a low­er pop­u­la­tion den­si­ty reduce my earnings?

  3. Hi Michael, nope, you need oth­er min­ers around you in order to earn. You earn ~75% of your rewards from “hear­ing” (Wit­ness­ing) oth­er trans­mis­sions (Bea­cons.)

  4. Hi Nik, I asked a ques­tion on dis­cord and imme­di­ate­ly got a 24h time­out and dun­no why… The ques­tion was this (did­n’t write the exact num­bers, now I have to you): 

    HIP 58 ques­tion for Helium/Nova. I only had a hand­ful (11) of wit­ness­es but was doing fine. 50% (6) of that wit­ness­es were up to 217 km away because the radio waves trav­eled across the sea (and I’m locat­ed on the coast). Now that they are invalid… 

    –> Will my Wit­ness Reward Units stay low or will it improve i.e. do invalid wit­ness­es account into Wit­ness Reward Units? 

    If yes, that now seems unfair because I get noth­ing for them and less rewards for the scarce area in gen­er­al I’m try­ing to cov­er with Helium/Nova net­work. Can you please answer me? I just escaped two weeks ago from a 6x over­crowd­ed city, put an HNTen­na on a small hill over­look­ing the sea, start­ed get­ting 0.3 HNT per day, said to myself yeah!, and frankly, now I’m kin­da sad. Also, if the answer is yes and they do account, the only thing is see I could do is switch the expen­sive HNTen­na that cost 400$ to import with the stock anten­na so it stops going across the sea… Any­way m8, guid­ance needed! 🙂

  5. Hi Mario,
    Sounds like you’re a lit­tle ear­ly to that area. I’m not sure about invalid wit­ness­es & WRU. Rather than switch­ing out an anten­na, I’d add a local Hotspot or two and improve cov­er­age. Hotspots are get­ting much low­er in price than they were. What part of the world are you in?

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