Buying or Selling a used Helium Crypto Miner

If you want to buy or sell a used Crypto Miner, there are a few things that you should be aware of!   As a starting point, read the official documentation of the Helium mining network about transferring a miner.

  • Only the wallet that owns the Hotspot on the blockchain can initiate a transfer.
  • Transferring ownership requires both users to have a valid Helium wallet account.
  • The Seller pays the transaction fee of ~55,000 DC. (~$0.55).  When discussing possible transfer errors, Helium documentation says the Buyer pays this fee. See “buyer_insufficient_hnt_balance” error.  Best if BOTH parties have a some wallet balance.
  • Hotspots must have had Proof-of-Coverage activity (creating a challenge, beaconing, or witnessing) in the last 1200 blocks (approximately 20 hours) in order to be transferred.
  • After accepting ownership (associating the miner with the buyer’s wallet), the buyer must reassert a new hotspot location.

After perusing dozens of eBay sale notices for hotspots, and contacting the sellers with questions, I’m convinced all the implications of these rule sets are widely NOT known! Some of the implications are:

  • The seller must transfer ownership before physically shipping the miner because during shipment the miner will be off-net for more than 20 hours, and therefore impossible to be transferred by anybody.
  • Once transferred to the buyer, it cannot be transferred anywhere (including back to the seller) without the buyer bringing the miner on line and meeting another 20 hour window requirement. In other words, if it’s returned to the seller, it is useless.
  • It will cost the buyer a $10 fee to reassert a new location of the miner and this money will be taken from the buyer’s Helium wallet.

Putting it all together, here’s how a sale would go on eBay:

  1. eBay top bid ends the auction.
  2. Buyer sends public Helium address to seller.  Sending payment now trusts the seller knows how to transfer it and trusts the network will transfer it.
  3. Seller disconnects miner from the net, and within 20 hours uses Helium wallet app to transfer ownership. Do this BEFORE shipping the miner, or it would be a useless brick to the buyer unless you give seller all your Helium keys (12 words).  With compromised keys, both people could access the wallet account (not good unless you’re privately inheriting the miner and wallet).  Transfers can not be cancelled, reversed, or changed (having the correct buyer address the first time is critical).
  4. When buyer receives the “transferred” notification on their wallet app,  then send payment.  If buyer does not pay, miner is now useless to all parties.
  5. When payment is received, seller physically sends the miner to the buyer.

History of the hotspot mining travels with the miner. All history will transfer to the new owner. Since earnings are taxable, be careful when culling the block chain for transaction records.

About Brian

Engineer. Aviator. Educator. Scientist.
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