Though it began just this year, the Pi Network already has more than 500,000 users, and it aims to be accessible to everyone with a smartphone. Nicolas Kokkalis Ph.D. ’13, Chengdiao Fan Ph.D. ’14, Vince McPhilip M.B.A. ’18, and visiting student researcher Aurélien Schiltz launched the network on March 14.
People generally rely on third parties to guarantee safe and reliable financial transactions. Often the third party is a bank or service such as PayPal, which costs consumers money and often places limitations on transactions. A purpose of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin is to remove the need for a third party and its rules or fees, making financial interactions more free and beneficial for both parties involved. Bitcoin served as one of the inspirations for the Pi Network, which set out to re-imagined bitcoin as a social, mobile-first currency.
“Cryptocurrency and blockchains have the potential to decentralize financial and legal services in the same way that the internet decentralized information and media,” Fan wrote. “Unfortunately, in their current state, most cryptocurrencies remain out of reach of the everyday people who could most benefit from the technology.”
Pi aims to allow everyday people from all walks of life to contribute to the security of the cryptocurrency and the success of its community. The team believes this meritocratic principle, as well as Pi’s inclusivity, are positioning it to become the world’s most widely used cryptocurrency.