Out of the 100s of Helium hotspots shown in Hong Kong on Helium Explorer, i have so far been able to confirm 20 real ones, by going around the city with a mapping device (see part 1 for details). Today i took my mapping device on a 45km car ride (red line), and its signal was only picked up by 2 hotspots, while i passed dozens of alleged hotspot locations. These 2 confirmed hotspots are:

The Helium network and its Proof-of-Coverage system is seriously broken:

  • it is clear that we can not rely on any coverage seen in Explorer (only 20 real hotspots found so far)
  • real hotspots seem to earn a lot less than fake hotspots (see below for a very obvious example)

REAL HOTSPOTS EARNING LESS THAN FAKE HOTSPOTS

Looking at these 2 real hotspots on Explorer, we see that they have been earning less than 10% of the Network Average. They have not witnessed any nearby hotspots (see tab Witnessed), despite being nearby dozens of alleged hotspots (see tab Nearby); this means that probably most of the ‘nearby’ hotspots are fake locations: their beacons are not received by the real hotspots. The Helium Proof-of-Coverage cannot distinguish between real and fake hotspots, and because the fakes are witnessing each other, they earn more than the real ones.

These 2 are real hotspots, confirmed by mapping device, earning less than 10% of Network Average:

“Silly Indigo Rook”: HELIUM TEAM IGNORING 4 DENYLIST REQUESTS

Compare this with a blatantly fake hotspot in Mui Wo Silly Indigo Rook, that has not received any of my sensor data, but manages to witness plenty of hotspots at 10km+ distance with 500m mountains in between (Tuen Mun, Sunny Bay, Shui Hau, Tai O..). Note how it earns a lot more than Network Average.

I have tried to get this fake “Silly Indigo Rook” added to the Helium denylist twice (#1565 and #2705), and 2 other people have also tried, with more evidence (#2054 and #3012) and still, today on 28 April 2022, this hotspot is not on the denylist, and the Helium guy working on the denylist (@abhay) even closed that last issue #3012 without any explanation. This is a ridiculous situation: Helium is just not taking responsibility to keep the network clean of spoofers, so real hotspot owners no not have a fair chance to earn HNT.

ONLY 20 REAL HOTSPOTS FOUND IN HONG KONG SO FAR

I have been taking my mapping device around Hong Kong (mainly Lantau island and HK island) and so far my signals have been received by only 20 hotspots. I keep track of them in the Helium Console, as seen in below screenshot. I will continue to take the device to new parts of the territory, hopefully finding more real hotspots.

The list of real hotspots so far:

  1. Cheery Vanilla Cow
  2. Basic Sable Bird
  3. Beautiful Peanut Newt
  4. Electric Blonde Griffin
  5. Shambolic Tiger Leopard
  6. Daring Syrup Pigeon
  7. Huge Daisy Reindeer
  8. Cool Pine Stallion
  9. Rapid Peanut Dolphin
  10. Long Coconut Worm
  11. Fun Lava Jellyfish
  12. Basic Gingham Jellyfish
  13. Short Ruby Owl
  14. Cool Viridian Beetle
  15. Short Amethyst Puma
  16. Acrobatic Snowy Boar
  17. Rural Fuchsia Mockingbird
  18. Unique Plastic Frog
  19. Icy Alabaster Tadpole
  20. Vast Admiral Chicken

MAPPING DEVICE LOG

Just to show that my mapping device was working properly, see below screenshot of the Helium console, showing the Join Request and 3 successful Uplinks in Mui Wo around 6am, and then a gap with no coverage (missing Frame Counters), 1 success at 10:48 in Ma Wan, then coverage again in Mui Wo from 11:21.

Finding real Helium hotspots in Hong Kong (part 2)

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