San Jose, ‘Capital of Silicon Valley,’ Wants to Fund Internet for Low-Income Households With Crypto Tokens

The money would come from coins mined on the Helium network.

Sep 30, 2021 at 4:24 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 30, 2021 at 4:54 p.m. UTC

San Jose, Calif., which is sometimes called the “Capital of Silicon Valley,” plans to fund internet access for low-income families through HNT tokens mined on the Helium network, according to a city press release published on Thursday.

  • The pilot program aims to give 1,300 participating households a one-time payment of $120 that they can use to pay for low-cost internet for one year.
  • To fund those payments, the mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation will install 20 Helium-compatible hotspots with volunteer residents and small businesses. The hotspots will mine HNT tokens for six months.
  • Helium aims to provide wireless connectivity that doesn’t rely on centralized wireless carriers. Instead, it seeks to build a global peer-to-peer network of nodes that power internet-of-things (IoT) devices. The network includes more than 200,000 nodes, according to the Helium website.
  • Helium mining devices use 5 watts of energy to provide long-range wireless access to devices around them while earning HNT tokens. This type of connection cannot support devices like laptops or smartphones, but can work for IoT devices.
  • The project is a partnership between the mayor’s office, Helium and the California Emerging Technology Fund.
  • Helium raised $111 million in a token sale last month..

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Eliza Gkritsi is a CoinDesk news reporter based in Asia.