The team has a new release tagged 2021.03.05.0. This release collects some small but important maintenance upgrades to the blockchain but primarily is focused on adding a new functionality to the Proof of Coverage system. We also included a few code changes that will support Light Hotspots in the future and snapshot bump.

Proof of Coverage Updates

The Proof of Coverage system, as many of you are aware, rewards Hotspots for being correctly asserted and provide coverage for IoT devices that use the Helium network. It is the primary incentive for Hotspot placement. This update adds a new feature that allows blockchain participants to evaluate the quality of coverage that is being provided by Hotspots. This system needs to continuously be updated to ensure that good providers continue to be rewarded and reduce the impact of poor placement and bad actors in the network.

We’ve introduced a new way for Hotspots to be identified on chain through the hash of the Hotspot’s IP address. The new field is associated with a chain variable poc_addr_hash_byte_count that will need to be activated for this system to be used. Roughly speaking, the Challenger will hash the IP address it sees from the challengee and attach it to the receipt. Future Challengers will be able to inspect all receipts in the last PoC interval, see if the IP address has already been challenged, and skip them.

How will this impact me and my participation in Proof of Coverage?

Correctly asserted Hotspots on individual IP addresses will see no impact.

If your Hotspot is affected, you may see a reduction in Challenge rate and your Witnesses will see a reduction in Witness rate. If you see a reduction in Witness rate, you may notice that the Challenge rate of your neighbors is reduced.

The filtering is done over a single PoC interval (which is currently set at 240 blocks), and, as always, we recommend correctly asserting your location. This is an enhancement to existing radio based filtering and upcoming work on FSPL-based judgements.

Plan

We have been beta testing 2021.03.05.0 and its predecessor 2021.03.04.0 since March 4th, 2021 5:00 PM PT. Current ETA for GA is 1:00 PM PST, March 5th, 2021. The chain variable that will activate the address hash will be activated early next week, likely Monday, March 8th, 2021 around 11:00 AM PST.