Bill Ackman Endorses Crypto Project Helium, Discloses Crypto Holdings

The Pershing Square Capital Management CEO says controversial crypto project Helium can “build intrinsic value over time.”

AccessTimeIconNov 21, 2022 at 7:03 a.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2023 at 4:03 a.m. UTC
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One of traditional finance’s better-known investors revealed on Monday he has turned a new leaf and is now endorsing crypto, even though his choice of project may be questionable.

In a tweet thread, Bill Ackman said he likes Helium, a decentralized Wi-Fi mesh network. Helium has been accused of using fraudulent endorsements from tech giants like Salesforce and mobility company Lime to give its network legitimacy, while also reportedly exaggerating its relationship with DISH Network, which it claimed would grant it access to its 5G spectrum.

As for Helium’s tokenomics, reporting from Forbes shows that the network has a checkered history of favoring its founders and insiders, while also using fake clients to increase its payout of tokens.

In September, the Helium community voted by a large margin to replace its blockchain with Solana, and promising to integrate Helium onto the SOL phone. Despite Solana's downtrend, Helium's founder has pledged to stick with Solana.

“Despite crypto’s ability to facilitate fraud, with the benefit of sensible regulation and oversight, crypto technology’s potential for beneficent societal impact may eventually compare with the impact of the telephone and internet on the economy and society,” Ackman tweeted.

After examining a number of “interesting crypto projects,” Ackman said that he began to “understand how a token could build intrinsic value over time” and evolve past the speculative nature of a modern-day “tulip mania.”

“Over time, a two-sided market for HNT [Helium’s token] develops in which miners buy hotspots and deploy them around the globe to earn tokens. Users, in turn, purchase HNT tokens in order to use the network. The more demand for the network, the more demand for HNT,” Ackman tweeted.

Except, HNT is down nearly 95% during the last year, according to CoinGecko data. The token now trades for $2.23.

Average daily earnings per hotspot are now at 0.06 HNT, or 13 cents, according to HeliumTracker.io with hotspots ranging in price from $200-$400.

Helium Board, another HNT tracker, shows that top earners on the platform are bringing in 2.4-2.6 HNT a day, or less than $6. Eager Orchid Whale, one of the top earners according to Helium Board, has a network of 155 hotspots that power his daily earnings of 2.48 HNT ($5.48).

(Helium Board)
(Helium Board)

Aside from endorsing Helium, Ackman said he owns a stake in ORIGYN Foundation, a relatively unknown project that makes vague references to non-fungible tokens (NFT) on its site and says it “unites industry leaders from art, luxury, media, entertainment, sports and more with token holders.”

He also said he has a position in Goldfinch Finance, a lending platform that says it pays 17% on USDC deposits, with nearly $100 million in active loan value despite only $100,000 in monthly protocol revenue.

“Goldfinch yields come from real-world lending, and investments are collateralized off-chain, which makes them distinctly different from the highly volatile [decentralized finance] lending you might be familiar with,” the site reads.

Its token is now trading for $0.63, down from an all-time high of $32, according to CoinGecko data.

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