How many Helium coins are there?

HNT is earned by providing internet, but there is only a limited amount available

A stack of blue coins with the Helium logo                                 
Every two years, the amount of mineable HNT is decreased by 50% – Photo: Shutterstock


An increasingly important question for Helium hotspot owners is: How many HNT coins are there?

This relatively simple question determines a lot about the future of the network. Helium is building a peer-to-peer internet from the ground up and convincing users that owning a hotspot is vital. Whether there is enough HNT to go around will influence investors’ decision on buying one of these hotspots.

What is Helium? Helium is a blockchain-based internet, connected by more than 500,000 hotspots around the world. Each hotspot is bought by the user for roughly $400 and can earn HNT, the native cryptocurrency, for powering this internet.

It was originally designed as a LoRaWAN network, one that is for low-powered devices. These include everything from Lime scooters to parking-lot sensors to air-quality monitors.

Helium has recently embarked on a mission to bring a decentralised 5G network to the masses by partnering up with the carrier DISH. This will allow phones to connect to Helium’s hotspots and gain access to a people-powered internet.

How are helium tokens mined?

The two main protocols for mining in the crypto world are proof of stake and proof of work. Helium realised that none of these worked for its network, and it needed a protocol that aligned more with its purpose.

The team came up with a unique method called proof of coverage (POC). Hotspots can mine HNT by verifying hotspots and sending data. This ensures the network is secure and active, while also fuelling the blockchain.

One of the appealing factors of Helium is its simplicity. Proof of coverage is an automatic process completed by the hotspot. All users have to do is plug it in and watch it earn crypto.

How many helium coins are there?

Cryptocurrencies usually just have a total maximum supply or an endless stream, but it’s a little more complex to work out the amount of HNT in the world. At its launch, Helium had a maximum supply of five million HNT per month. But since a recent community vote, the blockchain uses a two-year halving process that determines its maximum supply.

Essentially, every two years the maximum amount of mineable HNT reduces. Putting this into practice, Helium launched on 1 August 2019 with 60 million HNT mineable that year and another 60 million HNT mineable in 2020. On 1 August 2021 the first halving occurred, meaning only 30 million HNT could be mined that year and another 30 million HNT in 2022.

The next halving is due to take place on 1 August 2023 and will reduce the annual maximum supply to 15 million HNT. By 2069, only 3.6 million HNT will be mineable that year. This gives Helium a total max supply of 223 million.

How many data credits are there?

HNT is not the only currency used in the Helium network. Those using the network have to pay a fee with a token called data credits. These are pegged to the US dollar and will always cost $0.0001. So, $1 will buy the user 100,000 data credits.

Despite being pegged to USD, data credits (DC) are still tied to their HNT counterparts. In order to mint DC, the equivalent amount of HNT must be burned. This means the supply of data credits is dependent on the amount of HNT available.

Most dual-token cryptocurrencies, such as LUNA, use the burn and mint system to drive demand and price for one of the coins. Helium is more focused on keeping the amount of HNT static as it already has a maximum supply mechanism.

Net-zero emissions

As the network has a maximum supply and is constantly burning HNT for DC, this means it would eventually eliminate all HNT. Helium has avoided this and is keeping its supply static by introducing a concept called ‘net emissions’.

Net emissions does not seem to be implemented into the network yet. But the plan is to monitor the number of HNT burned per epoch, a period in the blockchain, then add that number to the minable HNT in the next epoch. For example, if 20 HNT was burned in one epoch, it would be minted in the next.

However, Helium still wants to profit from a deflationary mechanism. So when the system is implemented, there will be a cap on the number of HNT that can be created through this process.

Helium’s circulating supply

At the time of writing, on 16 February 2022, the price of helium is $26.41 and there are 110 million HNT in circulation, which is almost exactly 50% of its maximum supply. The cryptocurrency’s market capitalisation is $2.9bn.

Many details about Helium’s future are still up in the air. As the mineable amount of HNT will gradually decrease, users are unsure how this will affect them, especially as there is an increasing number of hotspots being added to the network. Will the daily crypto earnings decrease over time, or will the company make up for it in a raised HNT price?

The net emissions cap will also be crucial to hotspot users. The amount of re-minable HNT could have a significant impact on the earnings of hotspot owners. Getting this right will be vital for cementing the future of Helium.

Before investing in any asset, always do your own research and remember that cryptocurrencies are highly volatile assets. Your decision should be based on your attitude to risk, your expertise in this market, the spread of your portfolio and how comfortable you feel about losing money. Never invest more than you can afford to lose and bear in mind that past performance is no guarantee of future returns.


Is there a limited supply of HNT coins?

Yes, there is a total maximum supply of 223 million HNT coins. This is split across 50 years, with the amount of mineable HNT decreasing every two years. It started in 2019 with 60 million mineable HNT. In 2022, there will be only 30 million mineable HNT.

How long does it take to mine helium?

Helium is aiming for a target epoch of 30 blocks or 30 minutes. It is targeting to produce 1,736 HNT every epoch. However, the amount of HNT mineable by a hotspot will depend on the area and how many hotspots are near it.

How many helium coins are left?

At the time of writing, there are 110 million HNT in circulation. As there is a maximum supply of 223 million HNT, this means there are 113 million HNT that have not yet been mined.

Further reading

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