How to Determine if a Location Has Earnings Potential | Gristle King

Written by Nik Hawks (a.k.a Gristle King)

Does your location have earning potential?

When it comes to Helium Hotspots, earning potential is a function of just two things: how many other Hotspots your antenna can “witness”, and how well those Hotspots conform to the density rules of HIP 17. Everything else you do, from getting high elevation to choosing an antenna to deciding whether you should go for an indoor or outdoor deployment is all driven by those two things.

Let’s start with the basics.  Any Hotspot on the planet should receive a few Challenges (between 1 and 4) a day, and then beacon those challenges out.  The surrounding Hotspots witness that beacon, the whole cycle (Challenge, Beacon, Witness) is reported to the network, and everybody earns some HNT.  For now, we’ll focus on where you earn the MOST HNT out of that cycle, which is the Witnessing aspect.  About 75% of your earnings come from witnessing the beacons of other Hotspots.  What are the implications of that?

First, if you want to earn HNT at any kind of high level, you need to be able to witness a large number of challenges. Second, in order to maximize the value of each of those witnessed beacons, they should come from Hotspots that have a Transmit Reward Scale as close to 1.0 as possible.  Remember, your Witness reward for any given beacon is multiplied by the scale of the beaconing Hotspot. Third, ideally, those beacons that you witness should be witnessed by between one and four other Hotspots.  Now, if you’re in any kind of crowded area, more than 4 Hotspots will witness a beacon, so it’s good to know that the upper boundary for how many Hotspots can be rewarded for any given beacon is just 14.  That means if 50 Hotspots witness a beacon, only 14 of ‘em, randomly selected, will receive an HNT reward for that witness event.

Ok, so that’s the basics out of the way.  They’re good to know so you have a fundamental understanding of how rewards work, however they are very difficult to use to calculate what your earnings might be. How do we make that easier? Let’s look at a few resources, some free and some paid, to help quickly determine what a Hotspot in any given location is likely to earn.  Just to frame the cost up front, the paid apps will probably run you about $15/month total to do a thorough assessment of any Hotspot on the planet in about 10 minutes.  You can do the same thing for free, but it will take you closer to a few hours.

How HNT earnings can be estimated for a specific location

So, how can you estimate HNT earnings for your location? The short and unrefined answer is that a given location will earn the average of the closest 10 Hotspots.  Let’s dig in a little more to get you a better answer. Start with the free resource of the Helium Explorer site.  Turn on the Rewards layer (down at the bottom right on desktop), and zoom into your location.  You’ll get a color coded idea of which areas are earning well, and whether or not your area is likely to earn well:

Now go over to Hotspotty, center on your location and let it catch up.  If you zoom out, you’ll see that your region is defined by a large purple perimeter. Now, turn on the 30 day rewards layer.  You can find that in the top right on desktop, where the gear icon is.  Click the gear icon, then scroll down until you see the Hotspots menu, and select Monthly rewards.  Close the sidebar, and look at the list on the left side.

This will show you your local high earner as well as the average earner in your region:

This gives you a good idea of the maximum you can achieve as well as what you’re likely to achieve.  The way to roughly calculate what you’re likely to achieve is to answer these questions about YOUR proposed deployment. Start with the region average, and compare that to the earnings of the nearest Hotspots around you.  You can find those earnings for free on Helium Explorer but it’ll take some time to click into each Hotspot.

If you don’t mind spending $5-10/month, you can pay for a HeliumVision subscription (full disclosure, I’m an investor in HeliumVision) and quickly see the local 24 hour earnings.  In HeliumVision, look on the left side of the screen and open up the Layers menu, then select Average Rewards 24h.  Now you can zoom in to your location and see what the local 24 earnings are:

Compare that to the average you found in Hotspotty, then decide if your deployment is likely to witness more, the same, or less Hotspots as the deployments around you.  Both HeliumVision and Hotspotty are powerful tools and we’re just scratching the surface on them.  If you’d like to dive deeper into HeliumVision, I’ve built an online course for it that can be found here.  The Hotspotty Course is coming soon.

Now you know how to estimate the earnings for your location.  It’s not that hard, and it’s generally more accurate than any of the estimating tools out there.  Keep in mind that over time HNT earnings will continue to be split between more and more Hotspots owners, so what you’re seeing today will be higher than what you’ll see in the future.  That’s just encouragement to get your Hotspot deployed as soon as possible in a great location so that YOU can start to earn your share of all HNT rewards.  Best of luck with it, and as always, rock on!


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