Pi Network: Smartphone Mining App | Pi Crypto
One of the very first projects I ever encountered when I entered “Cryptoworld” was Pi. I had really no budget, and whatever budget I had was quite scared to invest. In addition to zero budget, I had zero clue what made a coin good or bad.
To be honest, I am not sure how I feel about Pi. It is free in a financial sense, but it requires installing an app and trading away some degree of your data. There is a rapidly growing user base, but it still isn’t clear how that will translate into value. And, most importantly, who knows what 1 Pi will be worth when (or if) it launches?
From a practical standpoint, to use Pi, you simply download the app to your phone, connect to someone else’s account, and then press the “mine” button once every 24 hours. The Pi developers enable a higher mining rate for people who are connected to established miners, which makes Pi one of the currencies where it is firmly an advantage to use a referral. I just happen to have one handy! If you saw the word FREE and have heard enough, go to https://minepi.com/Nobel322 and use my username Nobel322 as your invitation code. Otherwise, read on.
Pi’s stated mission is to bring an economical, low-energy cryptocurrency to the people (like me!) who are shut out of first generation crypto by economic costs (e.g., the price of a single BTC) or technological advances (e.g., expensive advances in ASIC miners and mining corporations). It is built on a fork of Stellar Consensus Protocol, which, like the development team, has ties to Stanford University.
As with all things crypto, the Stellar Consensus Protocol needs computing power to confirm transactions and maintain the network. Pi users who supply these services create Nodes. Nodes are one of four degrees of participation in the Pi project. The initial level is Pioneer, where you just tap your phone to demonstrate you are not a bot. In essence, through this kind of mining you are demonstrating that you are an active user, which probably is part of the value Pi seeks to offer to investors or markets. The second level is Contributor, where you start convincing your contacts to join, providing an indication that you are creating a security circle of known, trusted users for the network. The third level is Ambassador, which is really what I would be if you used my link because we do not know each other in real life, which limits the degree to which we would trust each other.
As you probably have figured out, you start as a Pioneer, mining bits of Pi every day. Actually, Pi is not really mined, it is more rewarded. You get Pi because you help support the userbase, not because your phone is rocking any algorithms. Userbase seems to be key.
What is Pi Worth?
This is an easy one. Nothing!
There are warning signs. In several of the articles I read to get some perspective for this piece, they are very concerned by two big issues. First, the mainnet still has not launched. Now, maybe the team is being very careful, but other than launching a browser, a wallet, and a testnet it’s hard to say what it’s worth will be. Without a mainnet, there is no value. Second, there seems to be increasing emphasis on the size of the active user base and the introduction of ads in some markets. This raises the possibility that the team is seeking to persuade investors or partners that they have great targets to sell ads to rather than a cryptocurrency.
A third issue got mentioned in passing, but this is the idea that it is not clear when or if we will be able to access our own wallet keys. As I have heard over and over again, not your keys not your crypto. If we can get our keys, that would be a nice sign that this will be more than an in-game currency or rewards token, like Bing rewards or something.
Pi has been doing stuff. I don’t always understand the stuff it has done, but it looks like there have been three main events. The first is a couple of halvings of mining/reward rates. It is now at a base of .2 Pi per hour and used to be 8. When (if?) Pi launches on a mainnet, it will halve again. The second is the rollout of the browser and wallet. To my eyes, the browser wallet thing just looks like the Pi app but in a different, umm, app? But it could be built out to interface with the rest of the internet world someday. Right now there are the same functions as the app, and Pi’s hopes that developers will build apps for the Pi ecosystem seem pretty speculative. Their “brainstorm” section solicits proposals, but only has 2 projects listed, both of which are ways to try to avoid the onerous KYC verification system. I am not a business genius, but I have to imagine the devs were hoping for more than that as it is not clear where the profit is in simply making onboarding of new users easier, without giving users more to do or places to spend or trade Pi. The third is the creation of a testnet for Pi transactions. Hopefully this accelerates us toward Pi launching on a mainnet.
So Why Is Pi Still Waiting to Be Traded?
Yeah, why is Pi still not on a mainnet? I mean, look at all the crap that is traded on some mainnet somewhere. Is it so hard for Stanford grads to work out? It is possible they really want to work out the kinks before they go to an active cryptocurrency. The Stellar Consensus Protocol is a lot faster than Bitcoin’s proof of work consensus mechanisms, but the Pi developers suggest that it is not clear how to scale it to the size of networks that they are aiming at. Ultimately, they want Pi to be a go-to crypto for just about everyone. As the number of users grows, the number of nodes needed to support the network grows, and as they grown, the complexity of the whole system grows. This might be one reason why Pi is still a concept that is not traded or even really used for anything. Pi is around 2 years into their project, and it seems like they are not quite over this scalability problem.
Let’s Sum Up
This is hardly a comprehensive analysis of Pi, but hopefully it gives you a better starting place than the one I had, which started and stopped at FREE!
If Pi is a scam, it is a weird one. I suppose the exit strategy might be to sell our data and then disappear. I don’t know. Is that worth a lot? They have 14 million or so active users who at least poke a button every day. Maybe they are getting more data from me than I thought. One site seems pretty upset about the data Pi can scrape but considering they don’t even show me an ad on my Pi app, I don’t know if I am as angry. It mostly seems geared to personalized ads (https://research.aimultiple.com/is-pi-network-safe/). I don’t even know what part of my phone doesn’t already try to feed me that crap so to me Pi is like any other app I would download in that regard. I know I am getting screwed somehow but I want to use the app anyway.
It also might be that the team, which only appears to be 2 people on the Pi website, is overloaded and not up to launching what they are dreaming of. Sometimes the dream stays out of reach.
My Take, For Now
I will stick with it, I think. I’ve got some Pi, and we shall see how it goes. They are close to the mainnet launch, if they aren’t lying about it, so it feels like something will happen soon.
How about you? You want some Pi?
If you want a bit more of a sure but free thing, you might be interested to try these faucets.