Helios Protocol (HLS) Review

About

Intro

In another edition of our project reviews, we decided to have a look at Helios Protocol, a DAG-based blockchain with smart contracts and decentralized web-hosting.

So what is the deal with Helios Protocol? In this review, we will dig deep into this project and give you all the answers. We took an in-depth look by examining the project, its team, tokenomics, community, and technical analysis, among other metrics.

If you wish to skip to the summary to see the SWOT analysis, matrix score and rating, please click here.

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Overview

What is Helios Protocol?

A self-scaling decentralised application and decentralised web-hosting platform based on DAG + blockchains. Helios Protocol is designed from the ground up to be futureproof with secure, high speed, and low fee transactions, and to enable truly decentralised and democratic applications.

The project aims to tackle three current issues faced by most blockchains, which are:

  • Energy consumption
  • Scalability/Speed
  • Transaction fees

Helios Protocol state they solve all of these issues and more, with their more efficient DAG-based blockchain which has PoS/Masternode consensus, is more scalable and offers much more competitive transaction fees than BTC or ETH.

Helios Protocol boasts a modern and efficient blockchain, with a potential use case larger than a medium of payment or as a store of value. As such, we award a score of 2 for this section

Score ✅✅

What features are there?

The features listed above are taken from the project’s website, and a little further analysis on the roadmap highlighted plans for Helios to develop a decentralised web hosting service which will add an extra dimension to the project. There is little information provided on this, but the team advised that this will be updated in the near future.

The Helios platform will be capable of executing smart contracts and dApps programmed in Solidity, just like the Ethereum platform. This aims to allow the accelerated adoption of the Helios platform by existing developers and for the seamless migration of Ethereum based dApps to the Helios platform.

One of the key features for Helios with its DAG-based blockchain is its transaction throughput of 225 million tx/sec. When compared to Bitcoin’s four tx/sec or Ethereum’s 15 tx/sec, Helios protocol is on the order of 50 to 20 million times higher throughput meaning much more transactions can take place on its blockchain.

As mentioned, the team also plan to build a decentralised web-hosting service, allowing dApps to host websites directly from the blockchain, with the team due to release further information around this soon.

As the Helios blockchain is currently in Testnet, we can only award one mark on this section. We want to revisit this in the future once the main net is live, and all listed features are fully implemented and working.

Score ✅

How is development progressing according to the Roadmap?

The Roadmap is impressive and highly detailed, with objectives clearly outlined and highlighted in white when completed. The next milestones listed are the launch of the main net stage 2 in Q1 of this year and stage 3 which will be the launch of the main net, planned for Q2 or Q3 of this year. The team advised us that they are currently working with developers to build dApps on their testnet.

We like the approach of the team who are ensuring that development from the testnet is transitioned onto the main net in small phases. The development is consistent, and we award a score of 2 for the milestones achieved over 12 months along with the detailed Roadmap on the website. To score an extra mark, we can recommend the team update the Roadmap on their website.

Score ✅✅

What is the adoption of the project?

As the project is currently in its testnet phase, there is no way to measure the adoption for the Helios blockchain based on the number of DApps or DApp users. The team advise that there are currently around ten community-based developers working on DApps on the HLS testnet.

The Helios team have created a DApp incubator programme which is aimed at growing the number of developers on the network.

Although there is not a highly impressive number of developers of DApps on the network, it does indicate some adoption of the HLS blockchain among the developer community. To facilitate adoption amongst existers Solidity developers, Helios also allows for the seamless migration of Ethereum DApps onto the Helios network.

We award a score of 1 in this section as we are unable to measure adoption until the main net is launched with functioning dApps.

Score ✅

What competition is there?

There are numerous competitors in the smart contract sector, and Ethereum is the clear market leader. Indeed the success of Ethereum has led to a host of similar smart contract based blockchains, with none able to dethrone ETH either in market cap or adoption rates. Ethereum has the most number of dApps developed on its platform to date with around 3294 dApps launched. Although ETH is the market leader, we can see below that the number of dApps being developed on its blockchain has fallen since its peak in December 2018.

It is reasonable to ask the question, are developers moving over to other blockchains to develop their dApps or is the lack of adoption among dApps discouraging new development? This remains to be seen; however, it is definately a positive that dApps on the Helios platform will be capable of executing smart contracts and dApps programmed in Solidity.

We are going to award a score of 1 to Helios Protocol for this section for this ability. However, with no main net, it is difficult and unfair for us to currently measure the project against its competition or the market leader. We again would like to revisit this in the future.

One of the unique elements of the Helios project can be the decentralised web hosting feature, there is no current project providing anything like this so it will be interesting to see how this develops.

We reward projects with unique features over its competition, and as such, Helios has the ability to score full marks here once the web hosting feature is implemented.

Score ✅

Tokenomics

Token info
SYMBOL HLS
GENESIS BLOCK N/A
BLOCK EXPLORER EXPLORER
CONSENSUS PoS/MN
CIRCULATING SUPPLY 20,000,000 HLS
MAX TOKEN SUPPLY 350,000,000 HLS
% MAX SUPPLY MINTED 5.7%

What is the token distribution for Helios Protocol?

Although the project is still in testnet for its development, the coins for the project are distributed on its main net with the projects distribution method shown below. The team advise us that currently around 20M HLS have been distributed with the total emissions expected to be completed within an estimated 5 year period.

We are impressed with the distribution via airdrops and bounties as this allows any user to obtain Helios, however, less than 75% of the total supply will be distributed among the public which we see as a negative.

The team provided the addresses of distribution funds for the purposes of this review, however, these are not labelled and we recommend that any addresses with team funds are labelled for transparency.

Score ✅✅

Is there a block explorer for the project?

There is a block explorer listed on the project website. However there is only one explorer and there is no rich list so we are unable to analyse the circulating supply. The block explorer is developed from scratch so we award a bonus point for this and score 2 for this section. We recommend that the team develop a rich list so addresses and movement of coins can be analysed easily. We also recommend every project has a minimum of 2 block explorers in case one goes down.

Score ✅✅

What are the emissions?

The project website states that all coins will be distributed over a 5-year time frame with a max supply of 350,000,000 HLS at the final distribution. We are impressed with the unique distribution method compared to the majority of projects and the fact that there will be a fixed supply. However, the fact that less than 50% of the supply has been distributed at the time of this review means we award a mark of 2 points. Only 5.7% of the max supply has currently been emitted, meaning there is an upward inflation curve for the near future.

Score ✅✅

Financials

The quality of the financial data for Helios was limited and referenced from Coinpaprika

MARKET CAP N/A
VOLUME (24HR) N/A
PRICE $0.0087
VOL TO NETWORK N/A
AVG PRICE 30 DAY $0.066 USD
TRADING PAIRS BTC

Is there any utility for Helios?

The current utility for the Helios token is to pay computation fees when executing decentralized application code such as creating a smart contract. There is no current utility for HLS outside of its ecosystem. However, the team advise that their planned decentralised web hosting service will incorporate Helios as a method of payment.

We award a score of 1 for this section and will update it once more utility features are introduced.

Score ✅

How can someone obtain Helios?

Helios scores well in terms of our entry section, with the project distributing more than 50% of its supply via airdrops and bounties. Any users across the world are able to obtain coins with no funds or mining costs associated, so we score a maximum score of 3.

Score ✅✅✅

Team

Experience

The team are listed transparently on the Helios website along with the LinkedIn information for several team members, including the founder and CEO. There is also a registered company for the project, HELIOS BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGIES LTD, along with a company number listed on the website. A quick search shows this company is registered in British Colombia, Canada.

Finally, the team has also attended several blockchain conferences in the last year to promote Helios, including Vegas Blockchain Week and World Crypto Con.

We are highly impressed with the transparency of the team/project and award full marks for this section.

Score ✅✅✅

What is the experience in the team?

The founder of the project, Tommy Mckinnon, is a highly intelligent individual with a Bachelors and Doctorate in Physics both obtained from Simon Fraser University in British Colombia, Canada. Mr. Mckinnon is an experienced web developer/programmer, founding his current web development company HyperEvo Tech in 2004.

We would like to see more public information around the remaining team members skills and experience; however, we award full marks on this section based on the founders’ exceptional education and business achievements.

Score ✅✅✅

What is development like for the project?

As mentioned earlier, development based on the roadmap milestones is consistent since the launch of the project. However, the growth is also steady with that of a self-funded team in this industry, reflected in the fact that the main net launch is estimated around two years after the start of the project. The team has grown in this time, and we award a score of 2 for this section due to their commitment to continue developing the project in unfavourable market conditions with no outside funding to expedite development.

Score ✅✅

Are there any listed advisors or partnerships?

Listed advisors include Ashton Addison, the founder of Eventchain. Mr. Addison’s role as an advisor to Helios is listed on his LinkedIn page, but no specific information around what his role involves. Ashton also advises various other Blockchain companies globally including Syscoin and CoinPayments.net in Canada, Pundi X in Indonesia and SmartMesh in China.

This is also the case with Kenny Mackenzie with limited information available on his advisor role, and the remaining advisors’ profile, Jason Hamilton-Smith, is unavailable on LinkedIn.

There are no listed partners on the website or whitepaper.

Score ✅

What are the financials for the project?

The Helios project is entirely self-funded by the team, and there are no current streams of revenue for the project. The team produce annual financial reports for tax purposes; however, there are no financial reports provided to the Helios community as the team state there is no current cash flow. We would recommend the team provide this regardless as it can update their community around HLS distributions, spending on budgets/promotions etc.

We award a score of one for this section; however, there are a few areas for improvement as noted above.

Score  ✅

Code

Audit

There have been several external code audits for the Helios project, but these have been submitted privately to the team. There are no public audits for analysis.

CodeBase

The Helios network, unlike many blockchain projects, is built from scratch using a unique codebase.

Activity

A quick search shows there are over 15 repositories in the Helios Github. We analysed the Node repo, and there are 145 contributions in the previous 12 months and 36 contributors listed.

Community

Followers

Analysis of the projects social media channels shows the following community members:

  • Discord 12,193 members
  • Twitter 6245 followers
  • Telegram 4083 members
  • YouTube 73 subscribers

We did a quick summary of the Twitter account using Social Blade and can see there are sharp spikes and drops of followers on Twitter; however, this is normal for projects that offer airdrops. 

Overall they seem to maintain a consistent following on Twitter, and with an impressive 12,000+ members in the discord channel and we award full marks for this section.

Score ✅✅✅

How does the project communicate?

Discord is the main method of communication with the Helios community. The Discord server is highly organised and impressive, with a wide range of announcement, FAQ and multilingual channels. The team also hold a regular Town Hall meeting with their community, which is uploaded to their YouTube channel.

Score ✅✅✅

What is the engagement like with the community?

According to RivalIQ, the average Twitter engagement total per tweet is  81 per tweet, which is 1.3% of its total 6000+ follower audience.

At a rate of 81 engagement total per tweet, this is over ten times higher than the average engagement rate across all industries [ref]. More impressively, at an engagement rate of 1.3% per Tweet, Helios has over 27 times more than the average engagement rate.

Score ✅✅✅

Is there any governance mechanism?

The team advise that they plan to introduce a governance mechanism for the project. This will be done via a platform which allows stakeholders to cast their vote, however, this is not currently active at the time of review so we award a basic score of 1 for this section. We would like to revisit this once the governance platform is live and we would award full marks.

Score ✅

Helios Protocol Website

The website for Helios is easy to navigate and contains detailed information around the project, with working links at the time of review. 

There is a valid SSL certificate but the site does not follow GDPR compliance. There is also no multilingual option, and we highly recommend the team adopt this to increase their appeal among global users.

Score ✅✅

Helios Wallet

We will be doing a detailed review of the Helios wallet on our YouTube channel, however, the team shared a sneak peek of their wallet here.

Technical analysis

Chart


Chart Analysis

For chart analysis, we are using CoinTrader and analysing the HLS/USD pair.

Price has been flat and range-bound since October of last year with minimal trade volume. It is worth noting that the data references HLD trading on one exchange only and the data goes back to Sep 2019, so there are only several months of trading data for analysis. There is also no previous price cycle for reference.

Areas of interest to the upside, would be a breakout above 0.025c and then any further breakout above the 5c level. On the downside, there is little room for analysis, but as with any airdropped coin/token, there is zero cost attached to its holders so potentially no bottom for the coin that can be identified.

Score ✅

Where can users obtain price data for Helios?

Information for Helios is scarce, and we could only find any data for analysis on CoinPaprika. This would mainly be because the exchanges Helios is listed on are lower-tier exchanges not listed at our preferred data site Nomics.

We only award a score of one for this section as it’s essential projects are listed at more than one data site. The more data sites that projects are listed on allows for more accurate analysis from the public.

Score ✅

Which exchanges is Helios listed at?

Helios is currently listed at three exchanges; however, it is not presently listed at any Decentralised exchanges. To obtain a better score, we recommend an additional exchange listing for Helios along with listing on a decentralised trading platform to eliminate any potential risk of delisting.

Score ✅

Helios Pairings

Helios currently has the following trading pairs across the various exchanges it is listed at. The project receives full marks for this section for its range of pairings including the USDT stablecoin option.

  • Alterdice (BTC + ETH pairs)
  • Qtrade (BTC pair)
  • Atomars (BTC, ETH, and USDT pairs)

Score ✅✅✅

Helios Liquidity

Liquidity for Helios is non-existent with only $250 of trading volume listed on Coinpaprika in the last 30 days. Upon closer inspection, we can see that the largest trading market seems to be the Alterdice exchange in terms of volume. However, it must be noted the majority of the HLS on the books for sale is over at the Qtrade exchange.

There is no rich list, so an analysis of the exchange ask order books indicates around 410,000 HLS available for trading on exchanges, which equates to around 2% of the circulating supply.

Overall liquidity for trading is weak, and we award the basic score of 1 for Helios here.

Score ✅

Summary

Conclusion

In conclusion, we feel that Helios is a good example of how a project can be self-funded and develop a modern blockchain without the need for raising huge funds or creating huge hype.

The current issue for Helios, as with many smart contract platforms, is the ability to entice developers to build dApps on their platform over Ethereum, which is the clear market leader. Helios aims to address this by allowing smart contracts and dApps to be programmed in Solidity just like the Ethereum platform and deployed seamlessly on the Helios blockchain.

The team and community are the main positives for the Helios project. The CEO has an impressive array of programming experience along with impressive academic achievements.

Launch of their main net has taken time but this can be likely be attributed to the careful approach of the team to deploy functions on testnet and phase them into the main net over time. Funding could also play a part in this, all projects can often face financial hurdles which can delay any milestones and development.

There are areas for improvement for the project as noted throughout the report above and we would like to revisit Helios once their main net is launched with working dApps.

We award a score of 64/100 for Helios, giving it a B- rating overall.

ABOUT USE CASE
✅✅
ADOPTION
COMPETITION
FEATURES
ROADMAP
✅✅
TEAM PUBLIC
✅✅✅
EXPERIENCE
✅✅✅
DEVELOPMENT
✅✅
PARTNERSHIPS
FINANCES
CODE AUDIT
✅✅
CODEBASE
✅✅✅
ACTIVITY
✅✅
DOCUMENTATION
✅✅
ENGAGEMENT
✅✅
COMMUNITY COMMUNICATION
✅✅✅
FOLLOWERS
✅✅✅
GOVERNANCE
ENGAGEMENT
✅✅✅
WEBSITE
✅✅
TOKENOMICS DISTRIBUTION
✅✅
EXPLORER
✅✅
EMISSIONS
✅✅
UTILITY
ENTRY
✅✅✅
PRICE EXCHANGES
LIQUIDITY
PAIRINGS
✅✅✅
DATA
T.A
MISC LEGAL
✅✅
HYPE
✅✅
WALLET
✅✅✅

 

Breakdown

Disclaimer
  • This is a community voted review
  • This review is intended for educational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be considered as financial advice. 
  • Before investing in any project we recommend you do your own research + consult a registered financial adviser.
  • All information listed is accurate at the time of publishing in December 2019.

 

Methodology
  • We use a combined rating score out of 100, covering all the listed metrics for project reviews.
  • Each metric is rated out of 3 which includes a potential bonus point in every metric. 
  • We also reserve the right to award a bonus point for outstanding achievement for a project.
  • Our rating and grading framework is available here.