Pi achieves this by using a different type of consensus algorithm in its blockchain rather than the widely-known and energy exhaustive Proof of Work (PoW) . Pi’s consensus algorithm is based on the Stellar Consensus Protocol (SCP) and an algorithm called Federated Byzantine Agreement (FBA), all of which do not require exhaustive energy consumption to reach consensus in order to secure a ledger. These types of consensus algorithms require the nodes to form quorums and exchange messages with each other based on a trust graph composed of individual quorum slices in order to come to “consensus” on what the next block should be.
Mining is the process of contributing to the consensus algorithm of a blockchain to secure its ledger in exchange for rewards. While PoW mining requires a lot of energy consumption for nodes to “work” to solve mathematical puzzles to help the algorithm reach consensus, Pi mining requires a distributed trust graph. The security circles of each individual mobile miner will aggregate into a global trust graph that will feed the consensus algorithm of the Pi blockchain. Therefore, each mobile miner mines Pi by contributing to the intersectionality, security and feasibility of the Pi Blockchain’s consensus algorithm in order to secure the Pi ledger. While PoW miners’ contribution to those blockchains is energy, Pi mobile miners’ contribution to Pi Blockchain is their trust relationships and active confirmation of such relationships. The heavy lifting of running the consensus algorithm based on this trust graph aggregated from mobile miners is still done by computer nodes. In fact, the Pi Testnet already has more than 10,000 such computer nodes, placing Pi onto a good path towards creating a very decentralized Mainnet.