With the arrival of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, the IoT (Internet of Things) world has seen a dramatic increase in popularity and possibilities thanks to new innovative businesses such as Helium Inc. (now Nova Labs) and the MXC Foundation. Both companies aim to build a global network for IoT devices and rely on consumers to provide network coverage – rather than the company building cell towers around the world.
The brilliant thing about this concept is that neither business has to worry about building towers, meaning obtaining permits, constructing them and doing regular maintenance. Instead, they reward enthusiastic consumers in tokens as a reward for hosting the coverage-providing ‘miners’. Helium Hotspot Miners earn HNT, while M2 Pro Miners earn MXC (and BTC, DHX and soon DOT).
When doing research about hosting a low-powered miner and figuring out which one is more profitable, there currently are only two options out there: Helium Miners and M2 Pro Miners. On a glance they seem quite similar as both miner types utilize radio waves to create a global network – but there are significant differences that you should consider when choosing which miner you want to host (first).
Let’s dive into: M2 Pro Miner vs Helium Miner – Which one is better?
M2 Pro Miner vs Helium Miner: Price
A significant difference between the M2 Pro Miner and a Helium Miner is the price tag. Where a Helium Miner cost between €400-600, the M2 Pro Miner cost around €2500. About 4-5x the price of a HNT Miner. Just based on this, you would most likely lean towards a Helium Miner as your first Miner. But the better question is, is the multitude times more expensive M2 Pro Miner worth it’s price tag? Let’s talk mining rewards.
M2 Pro Miner vs Helium Miner: Earnings / Rewards
The second most important thing you want to know as an investor is rewards. To answer this accurately, let’s dive in how both Miners work and how mining rewards are determined.
Helium Miners Rewards:
Helium Miners earn HNT by providing network coverage for the Helium network + transmitting data. Miners earn rewards by:
- Participating in Proof of Coverage challenges – where the devices verify other hotspots to check if they are online, have a good signal strength and are connected to the internet. As a reward, all involved miners earn HNT.
- Receiving and sending data from IoT devices to the internet. For every X bytes of data, miners earn HNT. Companies and individuals using the network buy prepaid ‘Data Credits’ and spend them when sending data from their IoT devices such as sensors and trackers.
The actual amount of HNT all those activities reward are percentages of all the HNT mined per month, which is a fixed amount. Currently, 2.500.000 HNT is mined worldwide per month and this is distributed over all the HNT miners that are working. Therefore, the more Helium Miners are switched on and mining, the more the rewards are spread out reducing each Miner’s earnings. In the early months, some Helium Miners were making between €1000-3000(!) per month based on the amount of HNT they mined * the HNT price at that time. Currently, many hotspot owners report they are only mining around €1-2 per day.
To try and compensate for the gradually lowering rewards, Nova Labs introduced a ‘Halving Schedule’, where the amount of HNT mined monthly is cut in half every 2 years. This is an attempt to create scarcity that should drive the token price up as it has done for Bitcoin and other coins that utilize a halving schedule. The previous halving for HNT took place in August 2021 and shortly after the token price did go up (though so did the rest of the market).
M2 Pro Miners Rewards:
The M2 Pro Miner is able to mine multiple coins: MXC, BTC and DHX. To mine BTC and DHX, some MXC tokens need to be staked and at the moment the amount that the miner currently earns mining those two coins is very low (around €1 per day) so we will focus in this article on MXC mining only.
To earn MXC, the M2 Pro does not rely on a Proof of Coverage consensus mechanism to reward tokens. Instead, every M2 Pro miner always earns around $10-12 per day in MXC tokens. Note that if the token value of MXC goes down, the amount of MXC you earn goes up to always keep the $10-12 earnings. This means that there is actual benefit in having a bear market where the token value goes down – as you’ll happily earn more tokens while waiting for the price to go back up.
M2 Pro Miner vs Helium Miner: Return on investment
Now that we know how much M2 Pro miners and Helium cost and earn, let’s do some calculations to see how fast you’ll hit your ROI. Note that this is a very simplified version where we leave electricity cost out of the equation (which is very low anyway as both Helium and M2 Pro Miners use around 5W).
M2 Pro Miner return on investment time
Assuming you claim the €50,00 discount by using this link, an M2 Pro Miner shipped to Germany/Belgium/The Netherlands will cost €2491,00 including taxes + €9,99 shipping = €2500.99. With the fixed amount of $11 in earnings (average of $10-12) and a USD/EUR price of €0,95, you will hit breakeven on day 237, which is just under 8 months.
It is important to be aware that emptying the M2 Pro miner fuel tank will reduce the Miner Health which negatively influences the amount of MXC you earn. In addition, there are fees involved when withdrawing MXC so most M2 Pro owners choose to mine long term (1.5 year+) before selling any MXC tokens to maximize earnings and only pay transaction fees once. In any case, the ROI period remains around 8 months.
Helium Miner return on investment time
Calculating the return on investment time of a Helium Miner is exponentially more difficult as there are many factors involved that do not apply to the M2 Pro miner, such as:
- HNT Token price
- Choice of Miner (price wise, the hardware is pretty much the same)
- Amount of HNT miners online (and more coming online every day)
- Location of the Helium Miner (inside / outside on a roof / mast)
- Antenna choice (higher dBi generally result in better results)
Below we attempted to create a scenario to make an as accurate as possible guestimate of the ROI time:
Scenario: A SenseCAP M1 Helium Miner bought for €567 + €50 for a 6.0 dBi antenna earning 3 HNT per month, taking into consideration the token price slowly recovers with 1 euro a month but more miners come online every month (growth seen in second column).
Using these very roughly guesstimated numbers, the ROI time will be around 19 months. Here are a few more ROI estimates using the same calculations but different average HNT earnings per month:
- 1 HNT per month: 49 months
- 2 HNT per month: 28 months
- 5 HNT per month: 13 months
- 7,5 HNT per month: 9 months
- 10 HNT per month: 7 months
Same scenario, but with double the speed of HNT token price recovery (and so setting a new ATH):
- 1 HNT per month: 34 months
- 2 HNT per month: 20 months
- 5 HNT per month: 10 months
- 7,5 HNT per month: 7 months
- 10 HNT per month: 6 months
To get a feeling of how many HNT tokens your Helium miner potentially would earn per month, have a look around on the Helium Explorer Map in your neighbourhood and take an average of all the Miners around you that use the same antenna strength and height placement as you are planning to use.
Note that withdrawing and selling HNT does not influence mining rewards and there are almost no fees for withdrawing HNT from your miner wallet.
M2 Pro Miner vs Helium Miner: conclusion
Based on the above calculations and many factors involved which mostly depend on strategic choices made by the owner but also external factors of the market, it is hard to pick an overal winner. If you want to earn steady rewards against a higher price tag, the M2 Pro Miner might be the better choice for you. If you believe that the HNT token recovers faster and rewards remain the same or go up, you might prefer a HNT miner. As always we advise you to do your due diligence and decide only after a few nights of good sleep. When you are ready to make a choice, come back here to claim some discounts we found on all Miners: