The recently-opened-for-beta-testers Helium Wallet app is not the Helium app; that’s the first confusing thing. The Wallet app is all about keeping control of your 12 words in YOUR hands, and no one else’s. Outside of the Helium Wallet app, you should NEVER give your 12 (or 24) words to anyone. Per.i.od.
In the world of crypto, a “wallet” is really just a set of digital keys that you, and ONLY YOU, have access to.
That’s really the whole point of the Wallet app; to make sure you maintain the secrecy of your 12 words while still getting access to all the other tools out there, like the new manufacturer apps (Bobcat, Rak, Sensecap, etc) coming out.
Those apps will allow you to manage your fleet, to remotely control and troubleshoot your Hotspot, to keep a finger on the pulse of your Helium world. What they SHOULDN’T do is ask you for your 12 words.
Think of it this way: The Helium Wallet is your key. All the manufacturer apps are like doors into various rooms. You use your key to open those doors and get into those rooms. You don’t leave the key in every door handle.
The whole thing is kind of boring, and a little bit of a pain in the butt (going from one app to a few apps), but the security element can’t be overstated.
Let’s walk through what it looks like. First, look for the Helium Wallet app and download it from wherever you get your apps. Then, open it up, pick either the 12 or 24 word option (depending on what you have, most of us have 12), and enter ’em in.
In any given wallet, you can dig into the transactions. You can also add multiple wallets to the app. You might have one for your active Hotspots, one for a Hotspot you want isolated (maybe you have a Host and there’s no need for them to see your other accounts), and maybe you have a separate wallet for where you withdraw your HNT monthly, just to keep it out of the active wallet. You can also keep a list of commonly used addresses you send money to. Oh hey Gristleking’s Donation Wallet! 😉
You can click into any of those transactions and dive a little deeper. You can also pair with a Ledger, or create an entirely new account.
The whole thing is pretty straightforward. Now, why is this all so important? Having control of your wallet through the Wallet app allows for a “deep link”, which is a direct link from app to app. This allows you to connect from your wallet to any manufacturer’s app WITHOUT giving them your 12 words.
That’s the whole point. If you give a manufacturer (or anyone) your 12 words, they have access to your wallet. It’s kind of like leaving a set of keys at the car dealership. Sure, they *probably* won’t stop by your house and take your new car for a spin, but…why give ’em the opportunity. Your wallet, your HNT, your control. That’s the deal.
When you buy Hotspots from a manufacturer, you’ll use their app to onboard your Hotspots, and you’ll “sign” those onboarding transactions with your wallet. Every manufacturer’s app will be a little different. You maintain control of your Hotspots in the manufacturer’s app, by using the authority of the Helium Wallet. This also allows you to use third-party apps (not manufacturer’s) in the future, if you want to, say, manage taxes on your HNT earnings, but without putting your HNT or Hotspots at risk.
One last word to the wise:
Don’t share your fucking words with anyone.
No manufacturers, no third party apps, not your brother, not your dog, not even the first girl you kissed back in summer camp in ’89. Shoutout to [redacted]! Treat anyone who asks for your 12 words with extreme suspicion; they are trying to con you.
Other than that, have a rad time deploying Hotspots and earning HNT. This is a fun game, and even if you read this in 2023, well, you’re probably STILL early. Rock ‘n roll!