It seems that these particular posts are well received, so I figure I'd do another one about a particular "Crypto" that has popped up in the last couple years. It's... odd.
Imagine for a moment that you were shown a sheet covered box. A person next to the box tells you that there is a treasure chest underneath the sheet, and that all you have to do is wait and at a particular point in time, they will take the sheet off the chest and show you the treasure. All you need to do is spend a little time near the box every day and everything will be A-Okay. Hell, you might even get to keep some of the shit that is in the chest for your trouble!
If you think that this is unusual, it's because it's weird as hell. Imagine that feeling, and apply it to a brand new cryptocurrency. If you are anything like me, your gut might tell you that something is wrong here. After all, in the Crypto World, we do not trust. We verify. DUE DILIGENCE, as always, is the order of the day. This is very specifically what I'm gonna do with the Pi Network.
My first and foremost step in any cryptocurrency project is the Whitepaper. The whitepaper is an introduction not only to the use case, but also the technology underlying the proposed currency. It should cover the What, Where, When, Why and How questions all in one shot, and there should be little to no confusion as to what precisely is going on. After that? Well, these are a good few loose steps to follow:
1.) Peanut Gallery. Meaning, don't succumb too the hype or the gripe. This improperly biases you before you even get your feet wet.
2.) Tech? Basically, you should be able to figure out what kind of blockchain solution they are implementing, how it will work with the users, and what should be expected for development moving forward.
3.) Use Case? Why is this being invented? What problem do they intend to solve? What' their competition in the same use case?
4.) Team/Community? Who does their team consist of, how often do they communicate with their community, and how do they do it?
5.) Financials? What's their coin supply? 24 hour volume? Availability on Exchanges?
6.) Promises? What are they telling their backers? Are they keeping their commitments? Is it too good to be true?
Surprisingly, these are incredibly easy to answer with the Pi Network. And while I'm just some dipshit spewing words for your pleasure, I don't expect you to take my word for it. Do your own research after you're done with me. And AWAY we go!
So, The fact of the matter is that I don't hear much about Pi Network online. I see very few ads for adoption, and there is little noise on the social media sites. This is good and this is bad; It either means you're nowhere near big enough to begin to have people hating you, or you're simply not that interesting. Again, this might be considered a TEENY WEENY bit biased in and of itself.
SO, nobody, or very few people are shitting on them. I'll stay neutral on this one.
Okay, so the whitepaper is definitely not short on describing their tech. They seemed to do a halfway decent job in the whitepaper... just as soon as got through the introduction. I understand the motivation of getting people to read and have a recap of cryptocurrency before you go into your particular solution, but they get into the nitty gritty Cliffnotes, if that's even a thing. Not too terribly long on the basics, but not too short either. The solution they're trying to make is one of essentially making decentralization more... decentralized. By their arguments, the first generation cryptos have suffered from an almost plutocratic centralization (think whales and big-ass mining facilities in china... and BINANCE...). Their solution is a spin on Stellar's Protocol, which is based on the Federated Byzantine Agreement System, or FBAS (Or this damn thing):
Stellar's whitepaper is still one of the most complex I have ever seen... But I can tell you the basic idea of the protocol. You have a bunch of nodes that maintain the distributed ledger. These nodes are put in groups or "quorums" which interact with other nodes in other quorums. Each node votes on things and comes to agreements with other nodes in the quorum and the intesections between quorums, and so on. If this makes your eyes glaze over, don't worry; the idea behind it is to essentially increase decentralization in their own special way for fault tolerance as well as to minimize errors in the ledger. So, accuracy and security.
Pi Network - if I understand this sufficiently - builds "on top" of the Stellar Consensus Protocol. Instead of businesses and institutions being the network, the network is literally the people. These people consist or Pioneers (who just confirm they're not bots daily), Contributors (Pioneers who have a trusted network of other users), Ambassadors (the folks introducing other folks) and the Nodes (Which runs the SCP algorithm on a dedicated computer - which are made from contributors). A user can be more than one of these things.
All of this centers upon what they call "mining", which is technically not mining. Since Pi Network is based on Stellar, it is technically a PoS (Proof of Stake) Crypto, which does not have mining like Proof of Work coins like BTC or Ethereum. Instead, their "mining" (ugh, it's NOT mining) consists of people basically doing their part by directly interacting with the protocol. They get rewarded in Pi as a result. AND people can do it from their phone.
There is no wallet, unless you consider your app the "wallet". You don't have access to the currency. Things are kinda closed:
This is what you get. That's it. I'd go into further detail, but i'll tell you what I mean in the "Financials" portion. We know the tech is sound because Stellar pulls it off, but to be fair, we don't know what's going on here. This isn't mining, and there's no way to explore a blockchain or anything else. As far as I'm concerned, that number at the top of the app is just a little script that counts upward with nothing crypto-related surrounding it. I'm skeptical.
This one is short and sweet. The Pi Network's mission is to lower the barrier to entry to where anyone can contribute to the crypto project and receive currency for their trouble. This is interesting in principle, because I think this is a great idea. In my last post, I described why crypto is important. One of those things is the democratization of wealth and increased opportunities for people to get it. It is fascinating to say the least; what if by passively helping to maintain a distributed ledger of transactions, you could actually benefit financially? It is a way to put the money into the hands of the people, and I'm all about that. But what would it be USED for? What kind of financial transactions are we looking at? What is it doing? Stellar's is clear; they wanna have their coin be the intermediary for cheaper and faster international transactions. That's straightforward. But, besides being just a store of value, what applications are they looking at for Pi? This isn't very clear. They do want to have a marketplace and Dapps in the future, but it is still unclear on exactly what is happening.
There are others in this game, namely Electroneum and (lol) Phoneum, but I think that these can be run concurrently, and if they all took off, everybody would benefit. Currently, Electroneum is the clear success story. Pi Network has a lot of work to do if they're gonna throw their hat in this ring.
Again, this one is pretty short. They do have a Twitter (which was last updated in January) They don't respond or reply to much of anyone there except to put out announcements. Like the fact that the network was down for a bit (weird for a decentralized technology). Their team is pretty solid on the credentials, coming from Stanford University. They're not a neckbeard lair, so that's a plus. But, you don't hear too much about them. They're on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook but the accounts are paltry. They don't have a Telegram or Discord which to me is bad news bears. I may be opinionated (spoiler alert, I am) but any Cryptocurrency project worth their salt at LEAST has a Telegram.
The App's Chat feature... Is wanting:
Yeah, it's mostly just people acting like trolls and whoring out their ref code. Their community features are kinda lacking.
Pi is worth exactly... Well as far as I can tell, somewhere in the neighborhood of Jack and Shit. We have no information on coin supply, no exchanges host it, nothing. Sure, maybe it's still in its baby phase, and I can excuse an up-and-coming project. Rome wasn't built in a day, after all. Furthermore, you pay exactly the price its worth: nothing.
If I were able to buy this coin (which has no wallet feature; you cannot send or recieve Pi from anybody), the two major things I would want to see is how many coins they expect to have total and how does their use case stimulate inflows and outflows. Without this information, I'd avoid it like the plague. But who knows? Once they get rolling and actually have these things, MAYBE there will be some good application of it.
Until they reach 5 million users, they are running on what they call a "Provisional Governance Model" or an "off-chain" governance, where primarily the main team will be in charge... Of what, I'm not certain. There's too little to tell at the moment. They say development is going to heavily rely on community input... but where is that community input? I have received no replys to tweets or suggestions in my time using Pi Network. II wouldn't even know where a proper channel would be located. I'm sure if I go to the chat to suggest something, I'll just be told to "stfu".
They say after they reach 5 million users, they're gonna have a "constitutional convention". Basically, a committee will be formed from the main contributors to go out and get more suggestions from other users. It's... not very clear either.
At the time of writing, my impression of the Pi Network is.. not the best. The use cases they propose sre going to compete with other projects in the same space, their communication is wanting, there's little information financially, and they're basically running the show until they hit their magic number of users. The fact that they went "down" doesn't bode well. I have no idea what they're doing, and I have no way to confirm that the Pi I'm accumulating isn't anything more than a simple counting script on an app. There's no way to tell. There's no Pi Blockchain explorer, and if there was, what would it even say?
If they need more time, they need more time. If there has been a decent amount of time, they're probably just busy or something. I hear Stanford isn't a cakewalk. I'd hate to be so scathing, but it seems like this is a project that's a little too much Academics, and not enough practical application.
Prove me wrong, Pi Network. I'm fine with that.
Until next time, watch the markets, don't let your Pi in the Sky Dreams stay that way.