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Breakpoint 2023: DePIN Panel Discussion Highlights

An overview of the Breakpoint 2023 panel on DePIN networks and their implications for the future of decentralized business models.

The notes below are AI generated and may not be 100% accurate. Watch the video to be sure!


During Breakpoint 2023, key figures in decentralized networks discussed the emerging concept of DePIN (decentralized physical infrastructure networks). Shayon Sengupta from Multicoin Capital, Paul Bohm from Teleport, and Noah Prince from the Helium Foundation presented their insights on how DePINs are revolutionizing the way we build and manage infrastructure by leveraging token incentivization. This panel highlighted the unique opportunities provided by blockchain technology, particularly on the Solana platform, for endeavors such as ride-sharing applications and wide-scale internet coverage.

Key Points:

What are DePINs?

DePINs, or decentralized physical infrastructure networks, utilize token incentives to build out global networks through distributed participants. These are compared to traditional businesses like ride-sharing or telecom services, which are often plagued by closed protocols and monopolistic structures. DePINs, conversely, aim to bring openness and market competition by decentralizing ownership and operations.

Helium's Network Expansion

Noah Prince explained how Helium transitioned from a low-power, wide-area network for IoT devices to a multifaceted network offering 5G coverage. This expansion was made possible by Solana's blockchain technology, facilitating coordination and incentivization. Helium demonstrates how these decentralized networks can ultimately provide more affordable and efficient services compared to traditional companies.

Teleport's Disruption of Ride-Sharing

Paul Bohm discussed Teleport, a ride-sharing platform built on an open protocol. Drawing inspiration from service models like Dropbox, Bohm underscored the importance of rewarding early adopters and coordinating community efforts to scale new services. By incentivizing drivers and riders, Teleport aims to disrupt incumbent ride-sharing giants by offering better earnings for drivers and cheaper fares for riders.

Focus on Solana

Both Helium and Teleport are harnessing the capabilities of the Solana blockchain, citing its performance, low costs, and high levels of USDC liquidity as key reasons for their choice. For these DePIN businesses, integrating with Solana means tapping into its fast and compositional financial market, which is essential for seamlessly implementing token-based incentive systems.

Facts + Figures

  • DePINs, or decentralized physical infrastructure networks, leverage blockchain tokens to incentivize the creation of global infrastructure.
  • Teleport is a ride-sharing application based on an open protocol aimed at offering better terms for drivers and less expensive fares for passengers.
  • Helium has transitioned from an IoT-focused network to providing a range of services, including cost-effective 5G coverage.
  • Solana's blockchain is emerging as a preferred platform for these services due to its scalability, cost-effectiveness, and ecosystem support.
  • Helium's network has grown to the point where it has had to transition from its original blockchain to Solana to scale up.
  • Teleport utilizes a proof of revenue model, rewarding drivers for expanding the network.
  • The participants underscored the importance of coordination and community in the success of decentralized networks.
  • Improved onboarding processes are seen as critical to bringing more users into the DePIN ecosystem and the broader crypto world.

Top quotes

  • "Civilization is about coordination."
  • "Tokens allow you to align selfish interest with the community interest."
  • "If tech is your problem, you don't have a problem."
  • "We're building some of the infrastructure that others will build on top of to build civilization."
  • "Composability matters, speed matters, price matters."

Questions Answered

What are DePINs and why are they important?

DePINs are decentralized physical infrastructure networks that use blockchain technology to incentivize the buildup of crucial infrastructure through distributed participants. This approach is revolutionizing traditional business models because it allows for market competition, collective ownership, and more beneficial terms for both service providers and users. By aligning personal gain with community interests, DePINs propose a more efficient and equitable way of building global networks.

How does Helium's network work?

Helium's network originally started as a way to provide IoT devices with low-power internet coverage through distributed hotspots. As the network has grown, it has expanded into providing wider services, including 5G coverage. This is accomplished by participants deploying hotspots, which in turn allows them to mine Helium's tokens as a form of incentive.

Why did Helium choose Solana's blockchain for its expansion?

Helium chose Solana's blockchain to handle the scale of the data from their rapidly growing network, which surpassed the capabilities of their original L1 blockchain. Solana presented an efficient, scalable, and cost-effective solution which catered for the dense and far-reaching activity of Helium's network, especially as it expanded into mobile 5G coverage.

What is Teleport and how does it plan to compete with giants like Uber?

Teleport is a ride-sharing application grounded on an open protocol that functions with the decentralized principles of crypto economies. It seeks to provide a fairer system for drivers to earn more and riders to pay less by incorporating market competition and network rewards into its business model. Teleport plans to disrupt current ride-sharing giants by aligning driver and rider incentives through tokenization and by providing overall better service.

Why is the coordination and community aspect essential for DePINs?

Coordination and community are the bedrock of DePINs because they ensure the alignment of the network's expansion with users' interests. By involving users as stakeholders in the business, these networks benefit from community feedback and democratic decision-making processes that guide the network's development, leading to more user-centric services and ownership distribution.