‘Next Bitcoin’ talk triggers another Pi rush in Vietnam

By Luu Quy   December 10, 2021 | 06:17 am PT
‘Next Bitcoin’ talk triggers another Pi rush in Vietnam
Pi Network app seen on a smartphone. Photo by VnExpress/Luu Quy
There’s not much concrete evidence, but Vietnamese investors are once again rushing to mine the Pi cryptocurrency, prompted by speculation that it could be the next Bitcoin.

HCMC resident Thanh Lam reinstalled the Pi Network app on his smartphone recently after removing it earlier this year.

He had given up on the cryptocurrency after accumulating nearly 1,000 Pi without being able to use them. Several months later, rumors that developers of the cryptocurrency are set to move it to the next stage pushed Lam to try his luck again.

"Some group members said that Pi will be listed on a cryptocurrency exchange by the end of this month at $314," he said, adding that the price was inspired by the mathematical value of Pi (3.14).

These days, Lam opens the app and taps a button to mine the cryptocurrency, hoping to strike it big with a zero investment.

In Hanoi, Thu Hang has been inviting friends and family to register new accounts and join her group of miners to increase the mining speed for Pi.

"I have heard that within a month it would cost a lot of money to own Pi," she said.

Increasing numbers of Vietnamese citizens have evinced keen interest in the Pi Network since mid-November as rumors swirled about the cryptocurrency being valued at hundreds of U.S. dollars soon.

Data from traffic tracking platform Similarweb shows that access to Pi Network’s website from Vietnam rose nearly 59 percent month-on-month in November.

Globally, Vietnam ranked fourth in traffic to the website behind leaders U.S., India and Russia.

From outside of the top 100 most downloaded apps, the Pi Network rose to seventh and 13th place, respectively, on Play Store and App Store in Vietnam, according to Similarweb data.

It is now the most downloaded app in Play Store Vietnam’s social category.

The renewed interest in Pi comes as the network celebrated on Twitter its 1,000th day. Its developers claimed to have attracted 29 million users worldwide.

However, no information about the next stage of the project ws revealed during the celebration.

Vo Phien, an admin of the Facebook group Pi Network Vietnam with over 100,000 members, said Vietnamese users were getting more interested in the cryptocurrency because there was talk that the project is moving on from the testing stage to the "main" stage.

The platform has asked its users to verify their identity before Dec. 24, which many interpret as a sign that Pi developers will keep their promise to switch the project to the main stage by the end of this year.

However, Phien also cautioned that the speculation was not based on concrete evidence.

The value of this cryptocurrency depends on the total number of Pi available on the market, but no one knows that number, he said.

Some people have been taking advantage of the rising interest in Pi to hack others’ Facebook accounts by asking unsuspecting users to submit their personal information to buy a Pi trading account.

"We need to remember that Pi’s value is currently at zero and trading is banned," Phien said.

The Pi Network, which describes itself on its website as "the first and only digital currency you can mine on your phone," was launched in 2019 and gained popularity in Vietnam earlier this year.

The app, said to be developed by two Stanford University Phds, has been scrutinized by tech experts who have warned users that it could be a scam.

"The Pi Network has a smartphone app and servers to keep them running, so why don’t developers release its source code for the community to review?" asked blockchain expert Dang Minh Tuan.

The Pi currency only exists on servers and administrators can create as many Pi as they want, he noted.

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