Helix Miners: A Comprehensive Review

April 16, 2014 09:24 UTC

Update: Helix Miners, along with Flower Technology, may have scammed their customers. A few months ago, Helix partnered with Flower Tech to be the sole distributor of Flower Tech’s miners. The two companies showed off a working prototype of a Flower Tech miner and things appeared to be going as planned. However, in August, Flower Tech announced that the company had not raised enough funds to complete the ASIC design and ship out the miners in time. Flower Tech assured customers that all preorders would still be fulfilled, and that Helix and EnSilica, the chip designer, would continue securing funds for the project. However, neither Helix Miners nor Flower Technology has provided any updates since then. The two companies have also suddenly stopped responding on Flower Tech’s official Litecointalk thread. Furthermore, some members of the Helix team may have been operating under false identities. For instance, Esteban Gonzalez, Helix’s CMO, can be found with 5 different LinkedIn profiles:

Personally, I’ve had a great experience with Helix Miners, which is why I wrote this review in the first place. However, I cannot ignore the evidence against Helix and Flower Tech. I’ve reached out to Helix Miners and Flower Technology, but have not received a response from either company. It’s unfortunate, but it seems as if Helix and Flower Tech may have, in fact, scammed their customers. If you have any information about the two companies, please share it in the comments section below.

Last week, a relatively unknown company called Helix Miners announced that it would be reselling mining hardware for major scrypt ASIC companies, including Mining ASICs Technologies, Flower Technology, and others. The goal of the company was:

“…to create one place where you can find all of your hashing needs….so that you only need to talk to one team, one company, and trust one source!”

-Helix Miners

Helix promised low prices, reliability, and good relationships with both customers and suppliers. But I wanted to see if such a small and relatively obscure company would really live up to its claims. And so, on Monday, 7 April, I purchased a Gridseed 5C Miner from Helix. Here’s a detailed review of my experience with Helix Miners.

What’s Good

Transparency and Reputability

In the sketchy world of cryptocurrency mining, it’s nice to see a company that values transparency. Information about Helix Miners is easily and readily available online. The company is run by CEO Oto Gomes, and is based in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Mr Gomes can be reached at his main office number – (954) 725-4600,  or emailed at og [at] helixminers.com. Furthermore, Gomes welcomes visits to the Florida office, and Helix Miners has published photos of the company’s recent trip to the Gridseed offices in China.

The Gridseed office entrance

Speedy Service

I placed my order for one Gridseed 5C last Monday. I was curious about when the Gridseed would arrive, so I emailed Helix about it. Mr Gomes responded within the hour with the following:

“You should receive it by Wed…no later than Thursday!”

The next day, the order shipped and I received tracking information.

Shipping Confirmation

Helix Miners was having a special, free shipping promotion during the week of my purchase, but I never expected the company to send my order with fast, Priority Mail for free.

My order was shipped with Priority Mail 2-Day, which includes $100 of insurance.

As promised, my order arrived Thursday evening in perfect condition.

To prevent damage during shipping, Helix surrounded the Gridseed with protective bubble wrap, foam, and paper. The package was also shipped with $100 of insurance with USPS.
The Gridseed appeared to be in perfect condition.

Customer Care

But of course, just because the Gridseed looked like it was in perfect condition didn’t mean that it actually worked. I would need to test it out by mining before I could confirm that everything was in working condition. There was just one problem. I had very little experience with cryptocurrency mining and had never before even touched an ASIC. The package didn’t include a power adapter, and so my primary concern was what kind of power adapter to use. I decided to ask for help, and once again, I received a response within an hour.

Customer care from the company’s CEO

Fortunately, I had a 12 V, 1.5 Amp power adapter lying around. I didn’t hear from the IT guy within 3 days, so I decided to try to set the miner up myself. After a lot of Googling and unsuccessful attempts, I was finally able to set up the Gridseed using SCRIPTA and a Raspberry Pi.

Lots of Googling
Gridseed hooked up to a Raspberry Pi Model B
It works!

What Needs Improvement

As with all companies, there is always room for improvement, and Helix Miners is no exception to this rule.

Newbie-Friendliness

At the moment, it seems like Helix Miners expects its customers to be experienced miners. My package came with absolutely no instructions, and Helix’s website wasn’t much help either. Although the company offers great customer service and support, it would be better if customers could avoid that route and instead be given easy setup instructions. Interestingly, Oto Gomes mentioned in one of his emails above that Helix is “working on a plug&play kit that will have it all configured and facilitate it for the everyday person.” I’m sure many mining newbies such as myself would greatly appreciate this.

Public Image

First impressions are really important, and when your website looks like this, you’re unlikely to make a great impression on potential customers.

In fact, one of our CCN readers was quick to judge:

However, Helix Miners responded to Panda’s comment with the following:

In fact, it looks like the new site is up, and it really does look sweet.

The home page
The shop

However, upon closer inspection it becomes obvious that the site is not complete.

The social media buttons link to the theme designer instead of Helix Miners.
This is obviously not a real phone number.
After unsuccessful attempts to log in, I found out that my account apparently doesn’t exist. Most likely the accounts haven’t been migrated over from the previous site.

Clearly, the new website is still under construction, and once it’s complete, it’s going to be beautiful. However, I don’t understand why Helix would make this unfinished website live. If the site is still under construction, it should only be accessible by Helix Miners staff, not everyone in the world. I know that Helix is highly reputable and trustworthy, but if I were a random customer stumbling upon this website, I would be very suspicious and unlikely to make a purchase. Disreputable companies like Butterfly Labs still get customers because of their marketing and PR. It would be a shame if a legitimate company like Helix Miners were to lose customers due to such careless PR mistakes.

Overall Impression

All in all, I was highly satisfied with my purchase and my experience with Helix Miners. The company upheld its promise of providing low-cost mining hardware with excellent reputability and customer service. Even after completing and receiving my purchase, Oto Gomes, the CEO, helped me set up my new Gridseed. However, Helix Miners still has lots of room for improvement in terms of newbie-friendliness and PR. Despite this, I am happy to have made a purchase with Helix Miners and would definitely recommend their services.

Last modified: November 22, 2014 20:34 UTC

@@neilsardesai

I enjoy keeping up with the latest stuff in science and technology and have been following Bitcoin for a few years now. I also occasionally post cool stuff on twitter.

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