Welcome to DePIN Summer

Decentralized Physical Infrastructure Networks (DePIN) are flourishing across multiple businesses, creating an “economy of things,” where value is shared across all participants. Scott Foo, founder of DePIN Daily, digs in.

AccessTimeIconJul 2, 2024 at 6:46 p.m. UTC
Updated Jul 2, 2024 at 6:50 p.m. UTC

When did I get interested in DePIN? It goes back to SETI, a 2000s-era crowdsourced search for extraterrestrial intelligence, and my own family. We have always found a hobby in setting up airplane antennas and watching the planes on radar for fun. I never thought there would be a decentralized version of this network, where individuals could contribute radar data and be rewarded for these contributions instead of just a hobby. Little did I know that, years later, it would be a worldwide movement called DePIN.

This op-ed is part of CoinDesk's new DePIN Vertical, covering the emerging industry of decentralized physical infrastructure.

If you have been here for a few cycles or even since the last bull run, you’ve already heard a lot of broken promises with different buzzword metas and acronyms such as HODL to WAGMI. As most of the last cycles' promises fade away, there’s a new acronym and utility taking front and center stage. This time it stands for something REAL. DePIN. Decentralized Physical Infrastructure Networks.

What is DePIN?

DePIN takes current blockchain tech and transforms how physical infrastructure like IoT devices and machines operate and interact with each other. By using decentralized control, DePIN allows machines to autonomously trade value, offer services and also sustain themselves. The DePIN approach creates a scalable, faster and people-owned infrastructure.

This enables real world assets like vehicles and sensors to function as part of a friendly ecosystem, creating machine composability and value in the form of tokens for all participants. We call this the “Economy of Things.” This DePIN model also reduces dependency on large corporations, cuts capital expenditure (CapEx) and operational expenditure (OpEx) and enhances any system's strength and durability.

If this is your first time hearing about DePIN, let me explain it in more simple terms. Instead of big companies profiting millions off all kinds of your data, imagine you’re rewarded for the data you create or for any extra resource you might have. That could include your GPS location, supplying weather data, extra bandwidth from your internet, flight data or even the extra power your house or GPU generates. This is the same data and resources that in most cases, you have been giving away for free for years and sometimes even decades. DePIN cuts out middlemen and gives the power and data back to the people.

Another exciting concept that's already starting to form within the DePIN space is parallel markets. Take a DePIN like Farmsent on peaq. One part of the network is soil sensors for farmers. They can now put another DePIN like a weather antenna up and get a better weather insurance rate now that they’re supplying up-to-date weather data directly from the farm. Now you have one sector of data connecting to another and creating value for both sides. This leads to better pricing models, a better network, and even bringing communities together who might not have been introduced otherwise.

The Current Landscape of DePIN

What excites me most is that DePIN is breaking traditional sectors and changing how we think about these legacy systems. There’s so many amazing projects being built. Projects like Silencio (also on peaq) allow you to be rewarded for measuring noise pollution from your iPhone. MapMetrics gathers mapping and carbon data. And platforms like TENEO are unlocking access and liquidity with the tokenization of machines like a fleet of Teslas. Combinder gives people access to green microgrids while YOM offers sustainable alternatives by using a network of existing gaming machines instead of building more data centers.

New and exciting sectors are constantly popping up within DePIN, such as agriculture and robotics. Farmsent is transforming the agricultural world through decentralized farming data networks, while XMAQUINA is allowing you to own fractions of all sorts of machines with tokenized robotics solutions. RWA/DePIN hybrid projects like penomo are making investments in renewable energy and allowing for big machines like EV charging stations and solar turbines more accessible to all.

DePIN is more than just a clever acronym or another Web3 meta. It’s the Web3 Bat Signal for a fundamental change in our approach to building, managing, and interacting with physical infrastructure. The projects I've engaged with, the events I've spoken at, and the communities I've helped uplift, all underscore one truth. DePIN is where Web3 gets REAL. It's a complete pivot from speculative vaporware and tribalism to creating real world value and real world progress.

As the founder of DePIN Daily and Growth Lead at peaq, I've seen the influence of an organic, engaged community fighting the good fight of taking our data back. From people making their own devices with Raspberry Pi’s to helping other community members with their setups, everyone is here to build and uplift each other. The chain tribalism and PFP wars have been left behind in 2021. The DePIN community acts as a foundation for builders, founders, and users to exchange ideas, collaborate, and push this DePIN movement forward.


People are frightened and struggling all across the world, from AI taking their jobs to finding and earning passive income to help with bills due to inflation. DePIN can help with this. From owning a fraction share of an AI robot-cafe to earning a few extra bucks a day for sharing your cars data or GPS location, the change starts now. Stepping into DePIN and real world applications, while working at peaq has opened a whole new horizon and has me so excited for the future. Let’s bring blockchain back to what it was meant to do and give power back to the people. DePIN Summer is here.

Note: The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of CoinDesk, Inc. or its owners and affiliates.

Edited by Benjamin Schiller.


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Scott Foo

Scott Foo is DePIN Growth Lead at peaq, an L1 for DePINs, and Founder of DePIN Daily.

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