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    • I received this email today from someone I know introducing me to Pi Network, a cryptocurrency experiment started by three Stanford graduates.

      As the email points out, you download their app, sign up for free and the referrer gets a bonus if you use their referral code.  You can only activate your Pi Network account with a referral code, and once you sign up, you get your own referral code to relay to others.

      As Pi Network’s website explains:

      As an Ambassador, you earn up to a 25% bonus on your base mining rate for each person you invite to the network.

      You become an Ambassador when new members join your earning team by using your invitation code when they sign up for Pi Network. Each member of your earning team provides a 25% boost to your
      earnings when they are actively mining. A new member can only be added to their inviter’s earning team, because each member only joins Pi once using one inviter’s invitation code. In other words, unlike the security circles where people can be added into multiple member’ circles based on trust, earning teams are fixed based on who invited whom. Each invitee in the world can only be claimed by one inviter.

      Sounds very MLM, right?

      The Pi Network app runs on your phone and mines cryptocurrency.  The obvious question is how much of your phone’s precious battery life does it consume?  They claim very little:

      So how can you mine a cryptocurrency without draining your battery or data? Instead of burning energy as proof of work cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin do, Pi secures its ledger when members vouch for each other as trustworthy. This forms a network of interlocking “security circles” that determines who can execute transactions. This novel approach allows crypto mining on your phone by leveraging your
      existing social connections, with no financial cost, no battery drain and a light footprint on the planet. Read the technical section in our White paper for more accurate and detailed explanation.

      So what does one get by mining Pi?  Nothing at present:

      Today Pi is worth approximately 0 dollars / euro etc. similar to Bitcoin in 2008. Pi’s value will be backed by the time, attention, goods, and services offered by other members of the network.

      By pooling our attention, goods, and services around a common currency, Pi’s members seek to capture more of the value that typically goes to banks, technology giants (e.g., Facebook, Amazon), and other intermediaries. Today, we are laying the infrastructure for this digital currency and marketplace by distributing the currency, building the community, and developing the technology to ensure its security.

      And one final caveat: in order to keep accumulating Pi, you must press a button once each day in the Pi Network app to prove you’re not a bot.

      If nothing else, Pi Network is a great social experiment to see how Six-Degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon connected we are…and how many of us are incentivized by earning 25% more of something that currently has no value but may have some value in the future.  At least you don’t have to host any Tupperware or Avon parties!

      And like any good Pavlovian experiment, it makes us click a button each day to keep getting our reward, which in this case has no value, not even a cookie or a marshmallow!

      So, in a shameless plug to accumulate currently valueless cryptocurrency, please use this referral code when signing up:  FriendOfAlan

      Let's see how far away from Kevin Bacon we are...

    • One question!

      What happens if one accidently forgets to click the button on one's phone or is unable to for some reason - in the hospital, unconscious, imprisoned, out of country, whatever, one doesn't punch the button every day. phone's lost, broken, etc

      Two Questions, actually!

      Could not one automate the button pushing in some manner?

      Third question!

      What data on one's phone are you allowing the app to use, see, copy, distribute, etc??

    • On the first question, I don't know. I'll find out the next time I'm in jail.

      On the second question, you have to tap a button on the app, so I'm not sure how you'd do that without opening the app and tapping it. Perhaps the button changes from day to day or moves its location in the app screen? Perhaps a more clever programmer than me could devise a way.

      On the third question, it asked only for my name and phone number, presumably to identify me and to send me daily alerts to open the app and tap the button - the Pavlovian part of the process. I'll let you know if I start to receive annoying text messages or invitations to Tupperware parties!

    • Funny answers!! I laughed out loud - but my questions were not set ups, but serious questions.

      What does become of my ownership of the Pi coins, or whatever they are, if I fail to push the button in the app each, and every, day? Do they spontaneously vanish, disappear, get transferred to a newer user, what exactly?

      And why would I really want to own anything that requires me to actively do "something" EVERY DAY to retain my ownership?? Is the button pushing the equivalent of the Mining? Maybe when you're in jail you can transfer your ownership to an heir??

      I am not a programmer, but Mac and Win OSs both have ways of automating certain behaviours - I have never used them but I have read briefly of them. Not sure iOS offers the same ability but then in Big Sur OS what will be the difference between Mac OS and Mobile iOS? So I suspect there are ways that button push can be automated, in these post-apocalyptic times. 👉

      I didn't ask what boxes the app asks for information - I was really asking what data the app requests access to by default, or what data it attempts to get access to without informing the owner or perhaps anyone. Seriously...

      TINSTAAFL and all that.

      So my questions still stand.

      Thank you for your answers, but I still need more depth in the answers I have had so far.

    • One the first question... I couldn't find any additional information about the required daily check in on their website. So I'll check in for the first few days and then try delaying my check ins to see what happens. That won't be too hard since my phone's on silent most of the day anyway. I'm more of an iPad / laptop / desktop / email kind of guy than a text messaging guy.

      The app displays a running total of your mined Pi and seems to increase every 2-3 seconds. I've earned 5.7141 Pi so far in less than a full day. My guess is it stops mining after 24 hours until you tap the check in button to resume mining. That's how I'd program the feature - I'm a software engineer - but I would only be speculating. I'll know more later today.

      In any event, what better way to keep you engaged than sending you a text message each day requiring you to tap a simple button. You'll never forget about Pi.

      On the third question... The app did not ask my permission to send any other information than my name and phone number. I checked the permissions settings in my iPhone and there are no additional permissions beyond the usual Siri and Badges & Sounds permissions, and Background Refresh which I believe they need to keep the app mining Pi even when the app is closed.

      They do limit you to one account per person, which I think they define as phone number. So if you have a bunch of phones, presumably you could create multiple accounts and mine more Pi.

      I'll post an update as I discover more, especially

    • Ok, now, I am beginning to get interested

      If you don't press the button, you fail to continue to aquire Pi, but apparently don't lose what you have already aquired. That seems more interesting. So, if you miss your button punching, are you just behind one day if you resume punching for the following days after your missed day? Or has your account just closed at the final value the day you last punched the button?

      A text message to remind you to punch each day - that seems really important to the Pi people for some reason - that can't be entirely free for them to text large numbers of folks in various countries of the world, I would suspect. I wonder where the money comes from?

      So as far as you can determine, there is no sleight of hand grabbing your location data or your contacts lists, or your photos or whatever. This may be easier to be certain about on an iPhone with its more explicit permissions lists, but I haven't used an Android phone since the iPhone was released, so I am not current in that world.

      Thank you once again for your informative, and courteous answers to my pestering questions. 🙂

      I might decide to sign up - still pondering and looking about.

      I have read the white paper and understand some parts of it -

      A new question - how many members are there currently?

      I did not see this answered in their FAQ. But once they hit 5 million the governance shifts via a Provisional committee to a Constitutional Convention, so some things are destined to change at some time in the future and I am trying to discern how close that future is. Perhaps very close, as I seem to notice that this network opened in March of 2019, but I can't seem to find that date again when I go looking for it.

      I see from Google the membership passed one million in 2019 - so maybe the change in Governance has already occurred. Or will soon. Some discussion of numbers and values here

    • Personally, I enjoy exploring new things like this, just to see how they work - I'm an experiential learner.

      For example, I bought some Bitcoin and Ether a half-dozen years ago just to see what it was all about, which helped me develop some very definite opinions about cryptocurrencies. (I'll post those separately when I get around to it.)

      Similarly I opened a Lending Club account to see how crowdsourced lending worked, not because I relish making 3.5% as a subprime lender. (They have an amazing site for lenders, by the way, with a huge amount of data that would satiate any data junkie.)

      So I'm happy to participate in Pi's Pavlovian MLM experiment just to see what it's about.

    • As I speculated, Pi stops accumulating / mining when your 24 hour period expires. Tapping the button restarts the accumulation, so presumably if you're offline, sick or in jail for a few days, tapping will restart the process.