Pi, officially known as Pi Network and also referred to as Mine Pi, is a cryptocurrency platform with a mission of making a “cryptocurrency and smart contracts platform that is secured and operated by everyday people.” The Pi vision is to be a peer-to-peer marketplace that operates on the Pi Network. To fulfil their mission and work towards their vision, Pi is built as a mobile-first cryptocurrency ecosystem.
Right now, Pi Network is in phase 2 of initial development, the test phase, also called the Pi Testnet.
Note: I am not a financial expert and this article should not be considered financial advice. I am not associated with Pi, I just have a Pi account and am experimenting and learning about it myself. If you use my invite code, you will join my security circle and contribute to my Pi earn rate. I will also be contributing to your Pi earn rate and will be part of your security circle.
So what exactly is Pi?
This video does a great job of summing Pi up in 50 seconds!
I was dubious about the battery life claim, but having experimented and mined with it for a number of months now, I haven’t noticed any significant change to the battery life on my iPhone. This comes down to how Pi actually operates.
Can you mine Pi?
People are interested in the concept of mining cryptocurrency, or in other words, receiving a reward for contributing something to the network. Pi facilitates this with the idea of mining from your mobile phone. However, unlike the proof-of-work method of mining employed by Bitcoin, Pi uses a consensus algorithm based on the Stellar Consensus Protocol and what is called a “Federated Byzantine Agreement”.
A Federated Byzantine Agreement works by having a number of nodes agree amongst themselves on what block should be next in the blockchain. So instead of competing against each other in a Bitcoin-style proof-of-work, the miners are working together to come to agreement.
The agreement approach requires more communication between miners but uses very little power, making it more economical for everyday people to be involved in mining.
So, yes, you can mine Pi. However, in order to make Pi mining possible on mobile devices, a number of different roles exist that all contribute to mining in their own way.
A pioneer is the most basic user type. This is someone who accesses Pi using the mobile app. Each time a pioneer opens up the app and chooses to mine for 24 hours, they are validated and can request transactions.
A contributor is someone who is providing a list of trusted pioneers to the Pi network. In other words, the contributor knows and trusts this circle of people. This is their security circle. In return for providing this circle of trust to the network, contributors earn additional Pi when they mine.
The security circles created by contributors all over the world combine to form a trust network.
Contributors also operate using the mobile Pi Network app.
Ambassadors are people who bring other users into the Pi network. In return for bringing in those new people, ambassadors can also earn additional Pi when they mine. This is what has caused some people to suggest that Pi could be a pyramid scheme. In practice though, it is more like an affiliate program where the referrals are required in order to improve the security and trust of the overall network.
Ambassadors operate on the mobile Pi Network app as well.
Nodes are where things get a little different. A node is someone who is a pioneer and a contributor but who is also operating the Pi node software on their computer. A Pi node is where the actual algorithm operates and these nodes take into account the trust data that is being provided to them by contributors.
At the time of writing, nodes are in test phase.
Getting started with Pi
To create a Pi wallet, download the Pi Network app for either Android or iOS and when you go through the signup process, use my invite code “mjbi” to join my security circle – this will automatically boost your Pi earning rate each time you mine Pi, and yes, it will also increase my Pi earning rate as well.
Invite code: mjbi
Follow the instructions to setup your account and to enter my invite code.
You must verify your account with a phone number. This is important for the trust of the network. You can only have one Pi wallet (or account) and it can only exist on one device. The point is that each Pioneer is a unique individual. That individual is trustworthy and has been validated as being a real person.
How to mine Pi on your phone
Once you have your account setup, you will see a screen like this:
Every time you open the app, if it’s been more than 24 hours since the last time you began mining, it will prompt you to tap the Mine Pi icon to resume mining.
It’s important to note that you must tap to mine every 24 hours. While this is a bit annoying, it is part of the process of maintaining a security circle that in turn facilitates the network security.
After you have tapped the Mine Pi icon, you are prompted to confirm your security circle. The more members of your security circle, the more you will earn. You can add new members by clicking the “Edit” button, or you can begin mining by clicking the “Mine” button.
If you make any changes to your security circle after you begin mining, they won’t contribute to your earn rate until the next mining period.
You can join my security circle by entering my invite code when you sign up: MJBI
After you commence mining, Pi will confirm your earning rate based on your security circle and you can close the app.
It’s worth noting that the ability to mine Pi may cease when Pi moves to the Mainnet stage. Currently, the team is exploring possibilities and community input as to how mining might continue to be a part of the network. Any coins mined prior to the Mainnet stage will be transferred to your Mainnet account, so you won’t lose anything.
Improve your security circle
You can improve your security circle in two ways:
- Invite existing Pi users who you know (from your phone contacts list)
- Invite new people to join the Pi network, preferably people you know. You can SMS invitations to your contacts from directly within the Pi app.
Regardless of which way you go about improving your security circle, the more members you have in your circle, the higher your Contributor bonus will be.
You can see in the screenshot below that I am earning 0.2 Pi per hour from my Pioneer role. I’m then earning a bonus 0.04 Pi per hour from my 1 security connection. The more security connections I add, the larger my circle and the bigger my earnings bonus will be.
If you invite new users to the Pi network, they will also generate an Ambassador bonus for you in addition to a Contributor bonus.
To get started mining Pi with an instant Contributor bonus, make sure that when you sign up for Pi you use a referral code. I’d appreciate it if you used mine!
My Pi invitation code is: mjbi
Can you convert or exchange your Pi to cash or other cryptocurrency?
Right now, no. Pi is still in the Phase 2 of development, the Testnet phase. This means it is not connected to any external networks and is still being developed and tested. As of December 2020, Pi surpassed the 10 million user mark though, which is a major milestone.
Once Pi enters Phase 3, the Mainnet, that is when connections to exchanges will begin to occur. At that time, you will be able to start exchanging Pi for other currencies.
So, when will Pi move to Phase 3, Mainnet?
An announcement was made within the Pi app on December 8, 2020, when Pi reach the 10 million user mark, the Pi team made the decision to set a roadmap for the path to Mainnet within 1 year. In other words, by the end of 2021, Pi should be on Phase 3, Mainnet, and you should soon after be able to connect to exchanges.
That said, the Pi app is intended to be a globally accessible peer-to-peer marketplace that can have apps built on top of it. Apps and other means of exchange are necessary for Pi to achieve its vision, so these options may begin to be developed before Mainnet is reached.
See the Pi roadmap for more information on each phase.
Pros and Cons of Pi
Pros of Pi
- Easy to mine.
- Fun to be part of a cryptocurrency network and community that is in development.
- It’s free.
- Community feedback is helping to shape the future of Pi.
- There is a roadmap outlining the plans for Pi.
- The development team is active in the community.
Cons of Pi
- It’s not currently exchangeable for anything.
- Being in development there is a risk that Pi may never go anywhere and you may never be able to do anything with your coins.
- By default the app shows your name to your security circle. I suggest changing this in your settings.
- You have to manually tap to mine every day.
Other things to note about Pi
- Data you share in the community section of the app is not private, it is a forum. Be careful what you share.
- Pi is built around trust and so there is some assumption that you know the people in your security circle. As such, there is capability to message and chat with the people in your circle. Be careful what you share, especially if you don’t know all the people there.
- There are a lot of scams going around trying to take advantage of people who want to convert their Pi into something else. This isn’t Pi’s fault, but it is something to be very careful of. You should only listen to messages from Pi via the official Pi channel through the Pi app.
What do you think about Pi?
I’ve been mining Pi with just one security circle connection for about 6 months now. It’s been interesting experience to be part of a blockchain network that is in development. I’m interested to begin experimenting with the node aspect of Pi and building out my security circle further.
I’m also keen to hear what you think about it. Have you used Pi? Do you still use it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Recommended crypto resources
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