FreedomFi's 5G gateways will mine HNT cryptocurrency for owners who dole out coverage to passing users, IoT devices

Traffic + Demand * Bandwidth = $$$ (maybe)

If you had 5G and cryptomining on your buzzword bingo cards, crack open the bubbly – FreedomFi gateways will mine the HNT cryptocurrency in exchange for providing 5G cellular coverage to IoT devices and passing users.

Fresh from rolling out its tech to US national parks earlier this month, FreedomFi yesterday announced it has buddied up with Helium Network to mine the latter's native crypto-coin on Magma-based 5G gateway devices in return for dispensing signal.

The aim of the deal is to augment the existing capacity of macro-cell tower operators with consumer-deployed devices that pair with 5G antennas. In a nutshell, a user equips themselves with a FreedomFi Gateway, a radio certified to operate in the CBRS band and compatible with both the gateway and the Helium network, and is good to go (in the US, at least).

And, obviously, plug that gear into a decent internet connection for all those 5G users to hop on.

How much one might make from such a setup depends on a variety of factors, including just how powerful that radio is. FreedomFi expects the cost of a radio to be between $500 and $5,000 depending on strength and throughput capability, and the gateway itself should go for $500. So no small investment, and one also needs to consider the number of offload roaming partners on the Helium network.

FreedomFi co-founder Boris Renski told The Register: "We expect that people living in highly trafficked, urban areas (like cities) should be able to make about 50 cents for every 1Gb of cellular data they transfer." Thus with a decent connection, a decent radio, and (most importantly) demand from customers, there is money to be made. Or at least reward for one's contribution.

But the devil is very much in the detail. Frank Mong, Helium COO, told The Register: "The mining rate will depend on a variety of factors such as distance, coverage quality, other networks, etc. It's an organic network with varying results depending on location."

And then there is the volatility of the cryptocurrency world to consider. Helium's $HNT cryptocurrency details can be found here.

There is, however, good news for those worrying about the environmental impact of such gear. "The amount of power consumed by the FreedomFi Gateway and an indoor CBRS radio," said Renski, "is comparable to that of a Wi-Fi access point." But we'd expect beefier radios to have considerably beefier power costs.

Still, with carriers offloading cell towers into consumer-deployed Wi-Fi access points in the form of Carrier Wi-Fi there is a certain logic in extending the pattern for 5G cells and access points. And lets face it, a little incentive never does anyone any harm.

The tech is currently US-only, but is expected to expand (via Wi-Fi at first) to other countries as the year goes on. Non-HNT-mining FreedomFi Gateways for private 5G networks also remain available for $299.

But if you do decide to set up your very own 5G rig, maybe don't advertise it on the neighbourhood social media group, eh? Not everyone will be a fan. ®

Similar topics

Broader topics

Other stories you might like

  • Verizon: Ransomware sees biggest jump in five years
    We're only here for DBIRs

    The cybersecurity landscape continues to expand and evolve rapidly, fueled in large part by the cat-and-mouse game between miscreants trying to get into corporate IT environments and those hired by enterprises and security vendors to keep them out.

    Despite all that, Verizon's annual security breach report is again showing that there are constants in the field, including that ransomware continues to be a fast-growing threat and that the "human element" still plays a central role in most security breaches, whether it's through social engineering, bad decisions, or similar.

    According to the US carrier's 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) released this week [PDF], ransomware accounted for 25 percent of the observed security incidents that occurred between November 1, 2020, and October 31, 2021, and was present in 70 percent of all malware infections. Ransomware outbreaks increased 13 percent year-over-year, a larger increase than the previous five years combined.

    Continue reading
  • Slack-for-engineers Mattermost on open source and data sovereignty
    Control and access are becoming a hot button for orgs

    Interview "It's our data, it's our intellectual property. Being able to migrate it out those systems is near impossible... It was a real frustration for us."

    These were the words of communication and collaboration platform Mattermost's founder and CTO, Corey Hulen, speaking to The Register about open source, sovereignty and audio bridges.

    "Some of the history of Mattermost is exactly that problem," says Hulen of the issue of closed source software. "We were using proprietary tools – we were not a collaboration platform before, we were a games company before – [and] we were extremely frustrated because we couldn't get our intellectual property out of those systems..."

    Continue reading
  • UK government having hard time complying with its own IR35 tax rules
    This shouldn't come as much of a surprise if you've been reading the headlines at all

    Government departments are guilty of high levels of non-compliance with the UK's off-payroll tax regime, according to a report by MPs.

    Difficulties meeting the IR35 rules, which apply to many IT contractors, in central government reflect poor implementation by Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and other government bodies, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said.

    "Central government is spending hundreds of millions of pounds to cover tax owed for individuals wrongly assessed as self-employed. Government departments and agencies owed, or expected to owe, HMRC £263 million in 2020–21 due to incorrect administration of the rules," the report said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022