Until roughly 4 weeks ago, I knew very little about cryptocurrencies. I had heard of Bitcoin of course; and was aware that Bitcoin had largely been successful becoming the most established of the cryptocurrencies. I was also aware that Bitcoin wasn’t widely available and even though each Bitcoin was worth £7000 + (at the time of writing this), it hasn’t been used to buy / sell goods & services as much had been hoped. Bitcoin has turned in to a type of online gold. High value & quite rare held by a minority.

The other thing I knew about cryptocurrency was that in order to get it you had to mine it. This mining process was expensive in terms of the computer equipment needed and also the amount of energy (electricity) the mining process required. In other words the process to acquire a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin wasn’t available to the many and was only available to the few. 

Given one of the main purposes of cryptocurrency was to distribute the currency in a fairer way and to decentralise currency and the processing of transactions away from the banks and governments – Bitcoin hasn’t been that successful. The central premise of decentralisation is moving away from SQL databases to something called block-chain. In it’s simplest description, block-chain is a database where no one person or agency (bank/government) can change or alter the record. Instead every transaction is recorded for the people by the people in a distributed ledger. Essentially this means that fraud or manipulation of the transactions and records is impossible. Sounds kinda cool doesn’t it. 

Described as a 1st generation cryptocurrency Bitcoin did well to establish and develop the block-chain and in 12 years has gone from a currency with NO value to being valued as high as £10k per coin. Some people who invested and mined Bitcoin have made a lot of money over the last few years. Spending Bitcoin is still not as easy as normal currency and because of the way the currency is valued and the scarcity of it people are holding on to it as an investment rather than to spend as an every day currency.

Beware of the Scams

There has been a lot of bad press and scams in and around the cryptocurrency market. Promises of get rich quick in the crypto boom has led to huge amounts of people investing and losing.

None more so than with the OneCoin global scam. To learn more about this, I highly recommend you listen to the Missing Cryptoqueen podcast on BBC Sounds. It was something I hadn’t heard of until 4 weeks ago. This cryptocurrency was billed as a game changer, changing the world in fact. 10’000’s of people across the globe, invested their hard earned £££ through pyramid and large network marketing scams thinking they were buying a cryptocurrency called One Coin.

They weren’t. The money disappeared and it turned out to be the biggest global scam ever with as much as €15 billion disappearing. The FBI and other crime agencies made arrests but the set up was sophisticated, the delivery & marketing was top class and ultimately it was a scam through an organised crime syndicate with money being laundered through multiple shell companies. It was a scam the world has never seen and will likely never see again. Incredible that it happened and grew so quickly, but so very sad as people across the globe lost their money. Money that most of them could ill afford to lose. The lure of making lots of money crossed with clever marketing techniques & crypto terminology proved too much for many. 

With One Coin there was no block-chain. There was no market place, there was no planned stock exchange. The numbers were manipulated and made up and even after it was exposed as a scam people were still investing. Education on this stuff is so important, research and understanding what you are getting involved in is SO IMPORTANT.

Enter the Pi Network

So 4 weeks ago, and the thing that set this whole thing off for me. A very good friend of mine and the co-host of The Lancashire Hot Pod sends me a text saying I should download an app called Pi Network and start mining cryptocurrency for FREE.

Intrigued AND VERY sceptical I did some digging and found a few articles on the Pi Network and what it was trying to achieve.

Essentially a group of Stanford Uni Graduates were trying to change the world and get cryptocurrency in to the hands of every day people through smart phones. Wait, I’d just heard and read about this with One Coin, a new currency set to change the world. No thanks. I’ll give it a wide birth thanks.

However, the difference with Pi Network was that it was an app you can download via both Google Play and the Appstore. It had over 1 million downloads and there were positive reviews on multiple reputable cryptocurrency websites. Like this here and this here.

I downloaded the app using my friends invitation code (to access the Pi Network you have to be invited by an existing member). As I’m sceptical and curious, I read the FAQs and the Whitepaper and checked out the forums where other Pi-oneers (see what they’ve done there) were chatting about the project. It seemed legit and the Core Team were all visible on social media, LinkedIn and were recording videos on a regular basis with information and updates.

Pi Network is still just in phase 1 (beta). On 14th March 2020 it’s going to turn 1 and a “Global Pi-Day” is on it’s way. Pi starts with the numbers 3 . 1 4 and last year on the 14th March the project started with the ambition to gain 1 million users in the first year. 1 year on, the birthday celebrations will take place with a bang as the network has amassed over 3.5 million users globally. That’s some serious Pi.

So what is Pi?

Well it’s NOT free money.

It’s a long term project to create a new cryptocurrency for and by everyday people that can ‘mine’ or ‘earn’ from your smart phone. You can check out the short intro video here

The more you contribute the more you earn. Wooooooaaah. Hang on a minute, that sounds like a pyramid scheme???

Well technically it works in a similar way. In order to build the global network you have to invite people to join. For each person you invite you are able to ‘mine’ at a higher rate and if you invite 3-5 people you can create a secure or trust circle which also gives you a bonus. Your earning team then can invite others and UNLIKE a pyramid scheme you don’t get any benefit from anybody else who is invited by someone else. There is no commission as it’s free. Your earning circle could have 5 people but someone you invite could invite 30 and they will earn Pi at a higher rate.

It’s a clever way to build the network and the important bit. You vouch for your earning team, the system has been set up to avoid bots and computer programmers trying to emulate and ‘mine’ Pi fraudulently.

All you need to do is log on to the app once a day and press the ‘mining’ button which then starts of a 24 hr mining session. After that 24 hrs is up you’ll stop mining and again you’ll need to open the app and press the button. All you are putting in is 5 seconds a day, no money, no investment, just a little bit of time each day.

When I initially started building my earning team I invited family members and close friends and then started to invite people I knew professionally and through my networks. The response has been fascinating in terms of how different people perceive the opportunity or see it as a scam and no amount of links or resources can change their minds. Some people have no interest in cryptocurrency, no desire to learn about it or contribute to the project. Totally get it and in the early days even after learning about the Pi Network I was acutely aware that that this COULD be scam and I’ve just invited my family members, friends, work colleagues and professional associates to a dodgy pyramid scheme. I had inadvertently turned in to something that I feared the most, a fraudulent scammer!!!

Luckily, and because I did the research, I was confident it was legitimate and for everyone that signed up there were 5 who didn’t for good reason. There is still a lot of unknowns and people have been burned before. There are still plenty of people out there trying to make a quick buck (or 15 billion of them) and as ever we need to guard against these scams and protect ourselves and each other.

Everything I’ve read about Pi Network points in the direction that this is creating something that could indeed change the world and create a completely decentralised currency. The project lead team are experts in block-chain, they have a sound strategy that is already surpassing where they envisaged they’d be at this point and they are clear and transparent with the direction. As we move in to Phase 2 the team will continue to build the market place and continue to test and pilot as the testnet is built and block-chain transactions start in earnest.

Here is a screen shot of the app from my phone.

The Core Team have just released a video with details of Phase 2 and to talk about the 1st birthday celebrations. Pi Day 2020.

There is still plenty of time to get involved in the project. So if you are interested in being involved and want to start mining Pi yourselves why not give it ago. You are welcome to join my earning circle and then invite others to your earning circle and help continue to build the network and who knows in a year or so you could be offering your products and services in the marketplace in exchange for Pi.

If you have bothered to read this far then I imagine you’re interested and will sign up. All you need to do head here

https://minepi.com/CommunityMike

Download the app and when it prompts you, use CommunityMike as the invitation code and this will add you to my earning circle and you’re then free to invite others. Good luck with that!

It’s been an interesting learning journey for me and I’m going to keep up with it and see where it eventually ends up. Will I end up with a piece of the Pi or will I end up with Pi on my face?

***Disclaimer – I am no expert on cryptocurrency so if you read something that isn’t factually correct or isn’t right please let me know and I’ll amend it. I’m not claiming to be an expert just sharing what I’ve learned over the last 4 weeks on a subject and a project that is really interesting.

Happy mining!!