Amir Haleem

Amir Haleem is the CEO and co-founder of , a decentralized wireless infrastructure initiative utilizing . He was also a former esports world champion.

Education & Early Career

Amir Haleem’s early career began during his student days at the University of Manchester. During this time, he discovered esports and became deeply involved in Quake, an arena shooter on PC. Despite not prioritizing his studies, Haleem’s competitive nature, shaped through sports like soccer and track and field, led him to excel in Quake, making him one of the best in the world. [1]

After dropping out of university, Haleem transitioned to the video game industry and worked at a startup called Refraction Games in Stockholm. His significant contribution was to the development of the game Battlefield 1942. The success of this game turned it into a massive franchise, and Electronic Arts later acquired it. During these formative years, Haleem’s experiences in the video game industry laid the groundwork for his later ventures and contributions in the tech and gaming sectors. [1]


In the mid-2000s, Haleem had the opportunity to meet , the founder of Napster, a pioneering platform in the realm of peer-to-peer file sharing and online music distribution. This encounter with Fanning proved instrumental in shaping Haleem’s perspective on the internet and innovative technologies. As a trailblazer in its time, Napster showcased the internet’s transformative power and how it could revolutionize traditional industries. [1]

The collaboration between Haleem and Fanning evolved over the years, leading to discussions that began in 2012. These conversations centered around the challenges associated with connecting devices to the internet, addressing issues related to accessibility, cost, and complexity. Recognizing the potential to innovate in this space, Haleem and Fanning laid the foundation for what would later become Helium in 2013. [1]

The shared vision of overcoming obstacles in device connectivity and leveraging the power of decentralized networks became the driving force behind Helium’s creation. Haleem's experience in video games, exposure to Napster's impact, and discussions with Shawn Fanning led to the creation of —a platform designed to revolutionize wireless infrastructure and enable easy device connectivity to the internet. [1]


Helium Network

In March 2022, Crypto Driven’s Matt Turck discussed the Helium Network with Haleem. When asked about what was, he responded with the network’s initial focus and the troubles it went through:

“When we started Helium a long time ago…we believed that IoT was the worst solved problem in telecom. There were no solutions for connecting devices to the internet that were small and battery powered and needed to be cheap. And so, our focus for the longest time has been on solving that problem…We took lots of different attempts to try and solve that problem…It was not all up into the right. It was a very twisty road that often went left and downwards and went all over the place.”

He then added:

“With crypto, we had the light bulb moment somewhere in 2016 or 2017, where we realized that you could empower people, whether they were individuals or small businesses or even large businesses to participate in the telecom industry and use crypto as a way to organize that. Helium is really that. It’s the economic system that allows individuals to participate in a global telecom network.”

Haleem also explained why Helium wasn’t built on when it was first conceived:

“Ethereum was really the only way that you would feasibly build something like Helium, if you were going to do it as a . We already thought that that was going to be a problem. prices were already quite high. We knew that the number of transactions was going to be significant in a network like Helium.
And so, we weren’t sure how to proceed, whether you would have some state channel implementation or whether you would try and roll up as many transactions as you could, the way that a lot of the Ethereum layer 2s work today. The other thing people were doing was forking . You could take the Bitcoin code and it and run that way. Everything that we wanted to do didn’t really fit into either of those”

Later, he discussed Helium’s hotspots and clarified rumors surrounding them at the time:

“I think a lot of people looking at Helium mistakenly think that Helium, the company earns anything from hotspot sales. People often say, “There’s a licensing fee. Helium Inc. doesn’t care. They’re just interested in selling hotspots.” We actually make nothing from any hotspot sales. There’s no licensing, there’s no nothing. And so for us building the first hotspots was important because it allowed us to create the user experience that we thought mattered the most. Everything from that has been open sourced and handed off to third parties. The hotspot ecosystem is as decentralized as it could be. We actually, as a company have no interaction with the vendors other than to assist with technical questions and technical problems over time.”

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Amir Haleem


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