The Pi Project: What are we exactly building for this project?

This article is an edited transcript of an AMA YouTube session held by Chengdiao Fan – one of the founders of the Pi Network. She goes into detail about what the core team is building for the Pi project, talking about the plans of the Pi Core Team, what the Pi Network is building, and how the Pi project plans to succeed.

What is Pi and the Pi Project?  

Pi is a layer one blockchain with its own native currency, the Pi token.

It is also a platform to build Pi apps as the project focuses on utility building.

Therefore, marketplaces are one of the core example apps we run on the Pi ecosystem. 

Pi has been quite different from other projects in its strategies to achieve accessibility and mass adoption of cryptocurrency and to create a utility-based ecosystem in a Web 3 world.

What are the three major strategies the Pi Project is adopting and following?

The first is growth.

This is because a real and successful currency has to rely on a large number of people to hold it. 

They have to recognize it as a currency and must be willing to transact goods and services with it. 

So growth has always been a strategy. 

In this regard, we have grown to over 35 million engaged members, which makes it one of our core strategies.

Decentralization is the second strategy. 

Not just in the sense of technical decentralization alone. It also includes testnet movement and mainnet migration as part of the process.

Utility building is the third strategy.

We do it through platform building, allowing ourselves and other developers to build Pi applications on top of the Pi Network to create utility. 

While these three strategies hold true for the current period and the future, we want to emphasize more on utilities in the future.

And to answer the question; “What utility are we trying to build?”  

We want to move this community from an extrinsically motivated community to an intrinsically motivated community.

I will explain these two concepts more.

What is extrinsic motivation?

There’s a probability a lot of you have heard it (and it is also a buzzword) “to earn.”

You’ll hear examples like run to earn, play to earn, etc. 

These types of models are the essence of extrinsic motivation, and of course, most of them fail.

Extrinsic motivation is a very powerful mechanism. 

It glues people together, aligns interests, and motivates them to do things together.

But it depends on how you use it, how the project uses it and what end it serves.

Intrinsic motivation provides real utility, and It could be;

  • Entertainment – meaning someone gets entertained 
  • Convenience – provides things that wouldn’t happen without this product or solve a real problem. You get fulfilled by this using this specific product.

So examples of intrinsic motivation usage of a system:

An example is Zoom

A popular video/call conferencing tool. 

A lot of people use this tool to fulfill a need when they have meetings with remote people. 

This is utility. 

People’s usage of Zoom does not depend on how high or low the stock price of the parent company, Zoom, is.

Another good example is how we use iPhones – it is not affected by Apple stocks. 

Today, if Apple’s stock drops, do I stop calling my friend? 


That’s why these products are intrinsically motivated for their users to use them.

So what are we trying to do? 

In the bigger vision or a higher level strategy, we want to move our community from extrinsically motivated to intrinsically motivated. 

Meaning that Pioneers should want to come to Pi Network regardless of whether there is an extrinsic motivation or mining Pi is the extrinsic motivation for Pioneers.

However, in addition to that mechanism that helps us grow this network powerfully, we want to make that shift into what type of utility it creates and provides for the community. 

That’s part of the reason we also designed the Enclosed Network period. 

Which, as I said, is very different from other projects (very counter-intuitive) because, for the majority of the other projects, they have their goal.

We specifically designed the enclosed period to nurture certain types of utility building that don’t necessarily require external connections.

And that type of utility will help nurture the mindset, educate pioneers, and the mentality of the community, to shift from the overall speculative-focused crypto community;

What does this solve exactly? What needs does this crypto network fulfill?

And, of course, I’m not saying that an open network isn’t good. 

It’s the ultimate goal. 

So the timing of this depends on how, in the enclosed period, we can nurture a certain type of utility building. Also, the urgency of us trying to produce, trying to create utility that relies on external networks.

Okay, and I want to answer the question; 

Why do we need to do this shift?

This is the key to real success in the crypto world and the Web3 world.

Crypto networks need to be able to provide real services rather than just be tools of speculation. 

Crypto and blockchain itself have a certain utility by nature. 

For example, decentralization, anti-censorship, and complete self-sovereignty – all these are good blockchain native utilities, and they are real.

But mainstream audiences do not necessarily share them.

It is shared by crypto enthusiasts like people that understand the meaning of decentralization and people that have a problem with anti-censorship.

Like, the beginning of Bitcoin and why it succeeded is because of its utility – the native utility of blockchain.

Now we need to find, similarly, and for our Network to succeed, we need to find real utilities. 

It can no longer be limited to small groups of people who benefit from this native utility. 

Therefore, we need to build a platform that allows mainstream audiences to access acceptable and understandable utilities. After which they can be tested, created, iterated, and produced.

Pi Network aims to complete this shift from extrinsic to an intrinsically motivated community. This will give rise to new utilities in the format of web3. 

Okay, to be honest, this process is not something that you say you will do and you will achieve.

Just for a heads up, this process takes a lot of trials of so many different Pi apps by the community and by the Core Team.

There will probably be a lot of failures because real utility and product is not the sure course. Nobody can come out and say; 

“Oh, I can create something.” 

And then immediately the next day, it sells in the market.

In that sense, it’s just in the context of the crypto and web3 world. 

The utility of addressing the needs of humans are real, so it’s like creating a startup or business.

After its success, everyone can say, “Oh, such a simple idea like Facebook” or “Oh, it’s just a simple idea.” Everyone you know can create a social network with a real name.” 

But, before it succeeds, it takes so much time, iteration and so many trials.

Before Facebook, there was Myspace and some other social networks, and after a bunch of social network attempts. Only one succeeded.

So what I’m trying to say is that there is no sure way to say utility is easy. This is not the first app we roll out, not the first batch of developers who wrote out their Pi apps on the Pi platform, that it will hit the utility.

But the Pi project hopes to create an environment that nurtures utility building and supports developers in utility building, and educate our community to focus on utility.

“We as Pi Network, we have a good start, and we have good resources that enable us to actually work under good stepping stones for the utility building together. 

What we have is the first largest social network and community.

This is the beginning of the motivation for me and Nicholas to create this project. 

It comes from our years of experience in human-computer interaction.

For those that don’t know. What is Human-computer interaction?

Human-computer interaction is the study of how to design systems – computer systems – for people to use and scale that usage. 

A core concept inside human-computer interaction is user iterations. 

Users need to give you feedback about whether your tool or your system is useful or not. 

You keep taking the feedback and process them to inform your product design. 

This loop has to happen many times. As I said (and in relation to the Pi Network), the Pi apps will fail many times.

In crypto, before we created the Pi project, we identified the peak problem for crypto as Mass adoption and real utility building. In addition, there are limited social networks.

Even at the time when we were teaching Stanford students in the class about building decentralized applications – at that time, Ethereum was the best platform in terms of developer tools and environment. 

Our students actually built multiple projects for the class.

However, there was no one using it. 

It was so bad that there were not even people testing it. 

No one uses it. 

There were a lot of great ideas but there were no users. 

Why Pi project is different from other networks is because we’re stepping on top of this amazingly large community. 

This community creates an environment that is suitable for any real product, designing and [constantly] improving.

So a large social network and community is the resource that Pi project has to reach the path to utility building.

Editors Note

Unfortunately, we’d have to stop our weekly series “What happened on the Pi Network this Week.” However, we’ll be replacing it with new titles and more informative news styled writing just like we did in our last edition. So the news will come with a different heading and a newer feel we believe you’d love.


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