The Transition to Light Hotspots — What Happened?



TL;DR Despite a mas­sive change to the Net­work, at a macro lev­el we’re more or less where we were (up 3%) with the num­ber of Hotspots get­ting reward­ed for bea­con­ing, and down 4% for num­ber of Hotspots get­ting reward­ed for wit­ness­ing. The rewards them­selves are low­er, but that’s always the long term trend of any cryp­to min­ing network.

Now, I know some of you will howl about this and talk about flat­lines and earn­ing tank­ing, but remem­ber, we’re not look­ing at YOUR Hotspot, we’re look­ing at the Net­work. I had some Hotspots go down. Some stayed up. The key thing to do in the month of May was some­thing oth­er than wor­ry over your Hotspot. Very few peo­ple did that. While you were wor­ry­ing, here’s what actu­al­ly happened.

Dave Akers over at has writ­ten an in depth report about the sta­tis­tics behind the tran­si­tion, which I have shame­less­ly bor­rowed graphs and num­bers from for this arti­cle. Yes, he approved my borrowance.

The amount of HNT mint­ed dropped tem­porar­i­ly and was spiky enough to freak out thou­sands of Hotspots own­ers. The trend line (red dots) is bet­ter to watch than day-to-day (blue line), but most peo­ple gnaw their knuck­les whilst star­ing at the blue. In any event, it is now approach­ing normal.

The num­ber of Hotspots bea­con­ing dropped sharply on May 11th and has­n’t recov­ered ful­ly yet. 

The devs (that’s the cool way of say­ing “Devel­op­ers”, we used to call them “Pro­gram­mers” but appar­ent­ly that is well out of vogue) tried to ramp up the PoC rate ear­ly on, but that did­n’t work. What it DID do was uncov­er some old bugs that had been undis­cov­ered and were caus­ing Hotspots in rur­al areas to earn less. 

When the num­ber of bea­cons dropped, it appeared to many own­ers that their Hotspots were dead. No bea­cons means no wit­ness­es, so if no one in your area bea­coned, there was…nothing to do. This noth­ing­ness trig­gered the Great Freak Out, and for a good 10+ days almost no one was hap­py. I was, but Mom says I’m special.

Ok, so what actu­al­ly hap­pened? We (and by we I mean the Nova & Heli­um Foun­da­tion team, I per­son­al­ly did noth­ing, see above) changed a Net­work from rely­ing on 800k+ rel­a­tive­ly weak (com­put­er-weak) nodes to test each oth­er (“con­struct Chal­lenges”) and shift­ed that bur­den over to 3k+ much stronger com­put­ers (the Validators).

In doing so, we lost about 5% of our earn­ings. You may see the 0.9% fig­ure bandied about, and that is also cor­rect in terms of the over­all Net­work, but in terms of the por­tion that we Hotspot own­ers get (the PoC, or Proof of Cov­er­age earn­ings), we lost 5%.

How much HNT is 5%? About 800 a day. So, instead of that 800 HNT being split between 800k+ Hotspots, it now gets split between 3k+ Validators.

What did we get in exchange for giv­ing up 5%? Well, we don’t quite have it yet, but we’re going to get a much more sta­ble Network.

Think of it this way: Heli­um rely­ing on all the Hotspots to con­struct Chal­lenges was kind of like a train hurtling toward a cliff where the tracks end­ed. Sure, it was work­ing, but we were about to go off said cliff.

Switch­ing the respon­si­bil­i­ty to con­struct Chal­lenges was like hav­ing that train fly off one side of the cliff, go total­ly off the rails and be uncom­fort­ably air­borne, then land per­fect­ly on the oth­er side, where the rails con­tin­ue into Val­ida­tor-land. It was nev­er going to hap­pen smooth­ly, but we’re still on the rails and the wob­bling will soon subside. 

One tru­ly amaz­ing thing is that dur­ing the whole tran­si­tion time, the Net­work has almost con­tin­u­ous­ly kept up with pass­ing the data from sen­sors on to inte­gra­tions. That is anal­o­gous to the wait­ers on the train in the image above con­stant­ly pour­ing tea into cups and not spilling a drop. 

That is a major win, though for most of you with more Hotspots than sen­sors you prob­a­bly (to be com­plete­ly hon­est) don’t give a rat’s ass about sensors.

You want your HNT. I get it. Let me give you the hard truth about HNT: The “good old days” of 1 or 10 or 100 HNT a day per min­er are gone. They will nev­er come back. Those aren’t my rules, those are sole­ly a func­tion of more and more min­ers split­ting the same size pie. 

If you want to know what to expect, I would *pre­dict* (NOT FINANCIAL ADVICE!) that an aver­age Hotspot will earn 1 or less HNT/month.

So, where does that leave you? Ya got three options, it’s up to you to decide:

  1. You can unplug. That is the “cut off your nose to spite your face” option. Maybe you can “sew your nose back on” by sell­ing the miner?
  2. You can keep min­ing and hope I’m wrong and that your earn­ings will go back up. I think that’s stu­pid, but I’ve been wrong before.
  3. You can learn to use the Net­work we’ve built. This is the path I’m taking.

I can’t help you with options 1 or 2. I can def­i­nite­ly help you with option 3. It’s the most dif­fi­cult and poten­tial­ly most prof­itable path for the long term. 

For those of you will­ing to take that path, you can fol­low along for free on this blog and my Dis­cord serv­er or YouTube chan­nel, or you can sign up for the Gris­tle Crüe and for $49/month join a group of enthu­si­as­tic and com­pe­tent peo­ple who are will­ing to work and learn and help each oth­er take advan­tage of all the oppor­tu­ni­ties and options com­ing down the pipe. 

What­ev­er you do, I hope it works out well for ya. I’ll be here kick­ing ass and tak­ing names, learn­ing and shar­ing in the pur­suit of excellence. 

The tran­si­tions to Light Hotspots isn’t com­plete, and I would­n’t be caught dead say­ing “It’s in the can” (sor­ry Joey, could­n’t resist), but we’re close, and much of the worst is behind us. Onward!

Rock ‘n roll.


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