Over the last 3 months, ~300 Pioneers have been participating in a pilot of in-app transfers of Pi. The purpose of the in-app transfer pilot is to help bootstrap Pi’s peer-to-peer economy by helping us identify what Pioneers are willing to offer in exchange for Pi as well as what Pioneers want to buy with their Pi. In addition to laying the foundations of a healthy economy for Pi, the Pilot is also designed to help us understand what could go wrong so that we can avoid potential abuses of Pi and its community.
Pilot members were selected based on community recommendations as well as their previous contributions to Pi’s ecosystem. To protect Pioneers from being tricked by bots and bad actors paying with “Pi” that will be burnt before we move to mainnet, participants had to verify their identity (or perform KYC). Additionally, the terms of the pilot strictly forbade any transactions that involved fiat currency (such as selling Pi for dollars).
As we expected, the pilot has shown both promising and challenging signs. On the promising side, transactions have shown that Pioneers have a lot of interesting goods and services to offer for Pi. Examples of such transactions included:
- A collection of honey sold for 18 Pi including shipping.
- A digital camera sold for 65 pi.
- A special edition pair of Nike Jordans sold for an undisclosed amount of Pi.
- A children’s scooter sold for 3.5 Pi.
- Many other transactions including Pi for children’s diapers, oil, batteries, and automotive parts.
There were also many abuses of the in-app transfer. Although all exchanges of Pi for fiat currency were prohibited by the terms of service, we received many reports of Pioneers attempting to sell the currency or take advantage of others. For example:
- Some accounts made thousands of small transfers of Pi within a couple of days. These transactions did not seem to be tied to any real goods and services.
- Many accounts attempted direct sales of Pi.
- We received reports of people claiming that they were partially fundraising for charitable causes while in essence selling Pi. There is no verification that the portion of the funds intended for donation were actually delivered.
- All of these reports ultimately fuel additional bad behavior when organizations can then claim that they have Pi to sell in unauthorized offerings of Pi.
These types of bad behavior provide no help in establishing a healthy Pi ecosystem or building a foundation for Pi’s economy. Instead, they endanger existing and future Pioneers with potential losses of money, and the project as a whole by tarnishing our reputation.
In conclusion, we have learned two major lessons from in-app transfer Pilot so far:
- Enabling people to transfer Pi should be paired with healthy ways to spend the currency that drive demand for Pi.
- The Pi ecosystem needs a systematic approach or platform to support applications that scale the types of healthy transactions listed above and address the logistical headaches the arise when trying to transact with people all over the world.
That concludes our update for today. What do you think of these findings and assessments? Please let us know by joining the topic from the home screen. We look forward to your input.