Update: The article previously said that Mr Ackman was an investor in Helium. However, a subsequent tweet made it clear that he is "uninvolved in Helium." The article has been updated to reflect this.
Billionaire investor Bill Ackman has performed an about-face on his previously icy attitude towards crypto, saying that it is “here to stay.”
The founder and CEO of hedge fund management company Pershing Square revealed that he is now a “small direct investor” in several crypto projects, including Dimo, a vehicle data-collection platform, Origyn, an art certification platform, and Goldfinch Finance.
In a lengthy Twitter thread, Ackman stated that, “I think crypto is here to stay and with proper oversight and regulation, it has the potential to greatly benefit society and grow the global economy.”
He also explained his rationale for the volte-face, which boils down to his discovery that some blockchain projects have more utility than others; the crypto project that Ackman cited most was Helium.
What is Helium?
Helium is a blockchain-based network of wireless communication protocols powered by thousands of individual users. It initially focused on powering Internet of Things (IoT) devices like sensors and trackers. The network currently has nearly a million nodes; operators are incentivized with Helium (HNT) tokens.
Ackman appears to have been drawn to the project’s tokenomics.
He tweeted: “Given HNT’s ultimately finite supply, the balance between supply and demand yields a market price which increases or decreases over time along with the success of the Helium Wi-Fi network. As such, HNT becomes a valued commodity whose price is determined by supply and demand.”
Ackman also said he has invested in seven blockchain venture capital funds and is a small-fry investor in companies that “reduce fraud in crypto,” which was one of the main reasons he was initially wary of the industry.
The billionaire stressed that his crypto portfolio is that of a “hobbyist,” and that he now believes that “with proper oversight and regulation, it has the potential to greatly benefit society and grow the global economy.”
Helium in the news
Helium came under fire back in August after two of the companies it claimed it was sponsored by—Lime and Salesforce—denied any involvement with it, despite their logos having been on Helium’s website. Helium quickly removed the logos.
In September, after a community vote, Helium’s purpose-built Layer 1 blockchain migrated to the Solana network. According to Helium’s founder and CEO, Amir Haleem, the move was prompted by the desire to scale the ecosystem. After some window shopping, the Helium Foundation settled on Solana because of its high transaction throughput and data transfer speeds.
In November, Helium and Solana Labs announced a partnership to bring the upcoming Helium Mobile service—a smartphone carrier powered partly by T-Mobile—to Solana’s crypto-integrated smartphone, Saga.
Stay on top of crypto news, get daily updates in your inbox.