Pi network review: scam or legit?

The full review of the Pi network: scam or legit? 

11.01.2022 18:42
by Nina Petrov
14 min read

Is Pi coin legit? This is potentially a million-dollar question in crypto circles at the moment. As the Pi project approaches its final phase, many people wonder what the future might bring. Since it is a promising project and absolutely free to mine at the moment, it seems like easy money to some. Many doubts and misinformation surround one of the most controversial cryptos.  

In order to help you with any dilemmas you might have, we prepared this thorough Pi network review. We will explore burning questions such as is Pi coin real, what is its value, and is Pi network a scam. The idea is to provide accurate information for you to decide if it’s worth a chance. Prepare for an exciting and winding journey, as the answer to the question “Is Pi cryptocurrency legit?” comes in fifty shades of grey. 

Pi Crypto Guide  

The Pi coin is very mysterious, and trustworthy information is hard to find. We dug the Internet forums and blogs very deeply to find the latest news about Pi. Hopefully, it will help you know more about it and decide if it’s worth your time and effort.  

What is a Pi network? 

Pi is only a project, for now, not yet a currency in the full sense of the word. People involved in the Pi network are currently creating the community necessary to hopefully launch the Pi digital currency in the future.  

According to the available information, the network was developed and launched in 2019 by a group of students from Stanford, Vince McPhilip, Chengdiao Fan, and Nicolas Kokkalis. The Pi white paper reveals their basic idea was to tackle the downsides of Bitcoin mining and bring crypto closer to people.  

The only way to join the Pi network community is if someone invites you. Pi network members are welcoming because they are awarded in additional Pi coins for every referral they bring. Since the future value of Pi coin depends on the size of the community, people are very happy to share their referral codes. These codes can be found on blogs, YouTube videos, and even Facebook posts. 

The Pi referral program looks much like a pyramidal scheme. This investment scheme is notorious and illegal in many countries because it implies that early participants are getting rich on the account of the later ones. However, in the case of Pi, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Namely, its referral program is MLM (Multi-Level Marketing). However, it is not a pyramidal scheme. The reason is simple: the users get bonuses only for their direct referrals. What their referrals do in the future doesn’t affect the original user in any way. 

Currently, there are around 29 million active users of the Pi network, which is quite a number considering they began only three years ago.   

Three phases of the project 

The founders announced the project would develop in three phases.  

  • Phase 1 (March 2019 – October 2019): the free Pi coin app was published, and the network grew to 3.5 million users 
  • Phase 2 (March 2020 – present): Pi network continues to grow, Pi coin Wallet, Pi Browser, and Developer portal are released. Additionally, they hosted their first Hackathon, an event in which they invited users to participate in creating the future Pi ecosystem 
  • Phase 3 (starting date unknown): the withdrawal and exchange of Pi will be possible 

In other words, Pi is meant to be in testnet mode during phases 1 and 2. 

What is Pi cryptocurrency?  

The way Pi is currently defined, it is supposed to become a stablecoin. It seeks to balance availability (easy mining) and scarcity (the total amount of Pi coins is predetermined).  

Stablecoins are a special type of cryptocurrencies that are less volatile because their value is connected to real fiat currencies. USDT is one of the most popular stablecoins. Its name is crypto dollar, and it is a digital version of the US dollar, with approximately the same value. 

Once phase 3 starts, Pi would gain value. Until then, mining Pi means obtaining coins with zero value hoping their value will grow in the future. Nobody knows when will phase 3 start. The exact date depends on the success of phase 2, although some people expect it to start in the first months of 2022. 

Pi consensus protocol 

One of the main differences between Pi and Bitcoin, for example, is in the underlying consensus algorithm. Namely, it is general knowledge that blockchain is a safe and decentralized record of online transactions. To function, it requires a network of peers (i.e., computers) to agree on the legitimacy of each transaction. The so-called consensus algorithm controls the procedure through which this general agreement is achieved.  

There are several types of consensus algorithms. The oldest and most popular one is PoW (Proof of Work), used by Bitcoin and known as Nakamoto protocol. Ethereum, on the other hand, utilizes a modification of the so-called PoS (Proof of Stake) protocol. There are other protocols, and each has modifications, and they can also be combined. The difference between them is in the ways in which they guarantee trustworthy and safe transactions. The balance between the levels of centralization to find different ways to promise safety, fault tolerance, and liveness. 

Pi is based on a consensus algorithm named Federated Byzantine Agreement (FBA). Other platforms using a similar protocol are Stellar and Ripple. In terms of decentralization, this protocol is somewhere between PoW and PoS (hence the word “federated”). Although not completely open and liberal, its algorithm favours safety over liveness, unlike Bitcoin’s algorithm. Furthermore, the main goal of this protocol is to ensure the entire system continues to work despite potential malicious and bad actors. 

PI screenshot you are now mining

What does a medieval Greek empire have to do with blockchain protocols?  

This computer science term originates from a logical dilemma elaborated in 1982. The Byzantine general’s problem is about logistics and verified information an imaginary general would need to coordinate an attack successfully. He will win only if everyone attacks simultaneously. To do that, he sends a messenger to all of his subordinates to make sure they are loyal and align with his commands. The problem is in the messenger’s reliability. What if the messenger is corrupted and gives the wrong message to some of the generals? In that case, the battle would be lost. 

This story is relevant for blockchain because it is about the importance of trustworthy information and the coordination of peers. Blockchain is a technology that wants reliable direct transactions without third-party (banks and states) guaranteeing safety. In other words, algorithms based on Byzantine fault tolerance (BFT) principles send messages back and forth, agreeing through a voting process. There is no cryptography here – only common agreement. 

Pi and Stellar 

According to their white paper, Pi’s protocol is inspired by a consensus protocol employed by Stellar. It is an open-source and blockchain-based network for payments in any currency (fiat or crypto). The missing link between Stellar and Pi is David Mazières. He is a professor of data science at Stanford and a co-founder and chief scientist at Stellar. His name is mentioned in Pi’s white paper, proving that the founders were inspired by his next-generation consensus protocols. Actually, some say that Pi will run on Stellar (XLM) and become their stablecoin, backed by money. 

Pi and other blockchain networks 

According to data available on BitQuery and TronScan blockchain explorers, Pi works on Ethereum (ERC-20) and Tron (TRC-20) networks. A major difference between these two networks lies in transaction fees. While all transactions with the Tron network are always 1 USDT (one crypto dollar), ERC-20 usually charges much more. 

How to mine Pi on your iPhone or Android 

No other crypto is mined as easily as Pi. The only thing you need to do is install the app (available for Androids and iOS). Once installed, the app will ask you for a referral code and some personal data (name and surname, e-mail, phone number). The app is very simple and user-friendly. The only thing you need to do is click on the “Earn Pi” button once in 24 hours. The app will automatically assign the number of Pi coins to your account, according to your status. It happens even if the phone and internet are turned off. 

Once you enter the Pi network and begin mining, you start as a Pioneer. The amount of Pi coins you earn per hour rises as you progress through the three membership levels. With time, as you assert five or more trusted connections, you are promoted to Contributor. Finally, you become an Ambassador once at least 23 Pioneers join the network with your referral code. 

Later, the Pi app included the Node role as well. A user gets to the Node level once they decide to run Pi software on their PC.  

In order to protect scarcity, Pi employs a similar halving strategy used in other crypto projects. As the number of users rises, the base mining rate drops. Currently, the BMR is 0.2 π an hour. 

The controversial thing about Pi mining is that there is still no proof of a blockchain behind it. The developers themselves emphasize that the project is still in testnet mode, although the founders use the term “mine” on their website. Some users also admit that the current “mining” process is not the mining we know but merely a way to keep the network engagement and prepare users for the upcoming phase 3. 

Tap here to earn pi tutorial screenshot

Phone mining history 

The idea to mine crypto on iPhones and Android phones is not new. Approximately at the same time Pi was invented, various crypto mining apps showed up. Some of the most popular apps with this feature were Bitcoin Miner and MinerGate. However, all of them failed to provide users with any true value. The reason was in the very nature of mining. For most cryptocurrencies, miners are awarded for being the first to decipher the problem. The phone users lost the race against computers with much bigger CPU capabilities. 

Many of those familiar with mining principles for other cryptos usually find the idea of phone mining ridiculous. This is because conventional mining requires serious infrastructure, immense processing power, and high energy consumption. For example, Bitcoin is generated in the so-called mining power plants. These plants usually take up hundreds of square meters of space and are filled with computers decyphering blockchain data.  

However, the story of Pi cryptocurrency is interesting because it reveals the less popular aspects of blockchain technology and history. Namely, people forget that it was possible to mine Bitcoin with a common laptop in the first years of its existence. At the time Bitcoin’s blockchain was still starting, it didn’t require the CPU power it needs today.  

The historical innovation brought by the team behind the Pi network was the possibility of “mining” Pi through a simple app on a standard cellphone. Regardless of what happens with Pi in the future, it was the very first digital currency available for phone mining. 

Could it be possible?  

When other phone mining apps failed, Pi gave hope that phone mining could be possible. Another thing that clarifies why it actually could is the type of consensus algorithm employed by Pi. The Federated Byzantine Agreement (FBA) protocol described above is proved to be very efficient for two main reasons:  

  • it uses much less computing power, which makes it much lighter, faster, and easier to process for devices with lower CPU power 
  • according to a study from Bournemouth University in the UK, its energy consumption is significantly less demanding and more environmentally friendly. 

What is the value of the Pi coin? 

The current price of Pi coin is zero. It is impossible to trade it for crypto or fiat currency. There are many speculations on what this value could be, but no one knows for sure. We will have to wait and see. 

There are also many opinions on what it would take to raise the actual worth of the Pi coin. Some say that it would require a large investment to take off. At the moment, the only way the Pi app is being monetized is through its optional advertisement program.  

Although most resources claim that it is impossible to buy anything with Pi at the moment, this is actually not true. Croatian capital city Zagreb has an interesting story to tell. A bit further from the city centre, there is a coffee bar Benston. It is a famous gathering place for students from a nearby Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. At the same time, this coffee is one of the first places in the world where you can pay for your beer in Pi coins. And Benston is not the only one – Croatia already has several other places accepting Pi coin. 

Our Pi Coins prediction 

It is impossible to know for sure what will Pi crypto value be. No one knows if there will be any value at all. Adding to the confusion, many websites give ghost estimations that have nothing to do with Pi in reality. An excellent example of this is WalletInvestor and Digitalcoinprice, which predict Pi coin value based on data from May 2017. However, the Pi network didn’t even exist until 2019! 

There is no way to know the future of a cryptocurrency that hasn’t even been launched yet. 

The only certain thing is that gathering a community of 29 million people in only two years is a real success. If the magnet ever launches, predictions will become possible and probably much more precise. 

Is Pi a scam or legit? 

Unfortunately, there is no way to know yet. As you can see from our Pi network review, there are solid arguments for both sides.  

On the one hand, there is a list of pros: 

  • its blockchain technology is promising in terms of accessibility and environmental impact 
  • the idea proclaimed by its white paper is genuine and plausible 
  • the number of people already involved in the network is impressive 
  • the founders come from a significant educational institution that instills trust 
  • there are signs businesses will be willing to accept Pi as currency 

On the other hand, there are some serious doubts: 

  • the founders are known and have a lot of control over the network 
  • there is a lack of transparency: trustworthy information is hard to find and is dispersed on online forums, blogs, and Reddit discussions 
  • there are unresolved data and privacy issues 
  • the process of generating Pi coins is officially called mining, although it essentially isn’t mining 
  • there is no proof that there is a blockchain behind Pi at the moment 
  • investment is based on MLM methods 
  • there are a lot of negative Pi app reviews on the Google store 

Besides, many current Pi users don’t believe in its future but keep mining just in case. This doesn’t instil trust either. 

For all these reasons, it is impossible to make a final verdict. The pi coin is a good idea that has real (although not big) chances for success. In some aspects, it reminds of Bitcoin’s early days. In others, it evokes bad memories of the OneCoin scam. At the same time, Pi has significant risks related to information scarcity and data protection. Therefore, every person should decide if potential gains are worth the risk of your personal data going to the wrong hands. 

FAQ 

How much is Pi coin worth, according to the latest news? 

Pi doesn’t have any value at the moment. Also, it won’t have any value until its mainnet version is launched. If you find some websites displaying their value, you can be sure that the source can’t be trusted. 

Is Pi coin real?  

If we agree that even those coins with zero value are genuine, then Pi coin is real. 

Is Pi cryptocurrency legit? 

At the moment, no one knows the answer to the question is Pi coin legit or not. Installing the app doesn’t cost anything. However, there might be issues concerning data privacy. 

Disclaimer: All information contained here should not, under any circumstances, be construed as financial advice, investment recommendation or an offer of, or solicitation for, any transactions in cryptocurrencies.

Author

  • Nina Petrov is a theoretical mathematician, passionate about new trends in the global economy and blockchain technology. She is a devoted content creator and editor, crypto-enthusiast and stock market analyst.

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