According to Sweatcoin, walking has never been so profitable

By Shira Jeczmien

Published Nov 15, 2018 at 03:39 PM

Reading time: 2 minutes

Over the past year, more than five million people have realised that they can be cashing in from the very simple and somewhat inevitable act of walking (or running for those who like to do that too). Why just exercise when you can exercise and earn digital money at the same time? These were likely the thoughts of the makers of Sweatcoin, an app launched in 2015 that converts users’ footsteps into a hard earned digital currency called sweatcoins (SWC), which can then be used to purchase an array of products through the app.

The invention of Sweatcoin and its rise in popularity doesn’t exactly come as a shocking surprise. People love the gamification of sport activities and even more so the ability to not only count calories burnt but also coins earned. In the sleek purple and warm red hues of Sweatcoin, 1,000 real world steps are worth 0.95 SWC. A quick look through the website allows potential users to see some of the perks Sweatcoin offers, including an iPhone 8 for 20,000 SWC, a Vivobarefoot £50 voucher for 75 SWC or a Borneo expedition for 50,000 SWC.

From Initiative Q to countless other cryptocurrencies specialising in certain fields, Sweatcoin’s basis of turning steps into digital money isn’t particularly new. But what is interesting here is that in order to be able to truly access the perks of Sweatcoin (iPhone, holiday, etc), users need to pay for subscriptions that allow them to earn more than a capped level of sweatcoins per day. And to pay for these subscriptions, users pay with sweatcoins—not real world cash. For example, a mere five SWC per month grants users the level of Shaker, allowing them to earn up to 10 sweatcoins per day. The next membership level is Quaker, costing 20 SWC per month and permitting up to 15 SWC a day. Finally, the Breaker membership costs 30 SWC per month and allows for up to 20 SWC per day. Needless to say, earning sweatcoins isn’t as simple as following the Fitbit and iPhone mantra of 10,000 steps a day.

Unlike many other cryptocurrencies, whose premise lays in their ability to eventually convert their digital value into real world economic value, Sweatcoin asks its members to pay with sweatcoin and thus spurring the trade and use of the coin internally instead of trading the coin with money. Earlier this year Co-Founder Oldeg Fomenko said in an interview with TechCrunch that his wider vision for Sweatcoin is to move into and develop an “open-source blockchain DLT technology that will allow Sweatcoin to be traded like any other major crypto—or fiat currency.”

Sweatcoin has dug its foundation into a terrain made up of a growing obsession with cryptocurrencies as well as health and wellness tracking. It has also created its own digital economy where insurers and employers can prompt their customers and employees to exercise while creating a sensation of value. Cash value. As Co-Founder Anton Derlyatka says, Sweatcoin’s “first premise is that physical movement has economic value”. The real worry here is that while cashing out on something we should anyway be doing is appealing, before we know it the app could have a twisted treadwheel where users are forced more than prompted to continue their earning race. As New York Times writer Natasha Singer describes her experience of Sweatcoin, “The first time I swiped the app off, a notice popped up on my phone: ‘You killed me! Do not force quit me if you want to generate sweatcoins.’”

As much as the idea of earning while you walk or run is intriguing (and tempting), Sweatcoin has a sense of impossibility to it. It has been widely reported that the main downfall of the app is that it does not count indoor activity as it combined GPS tracking for fraud protection and thus dismisses treadmills, Zoomba, yoga or whatever else you might be into. Ultimately the coins are cumbersome to accrued and the prizes are expensive, in SWC terms of course. And at a closer look, what seems like an initiative to get people moving a little more now resembles a hectic rat race towards iPhones and package holidays which are just a few steps out of reach.

Keep On Reading

By Charlie Sawyer

Actor Jamie Dornan guiltily admits to stalking women in London. Here’s why

By Bianca Borissova

Explaining the absurdity of gatekeeping in TikTok’s viral Slavic Girl trend

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

A triangle of sadness: The 3 biggest issues facing UK universities at the moment

By Charlie Sawyer

Paris Hilton spills the tea on being a socialite and mum of 2 on new Call Her Daddy podcast

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Forget about bed bugs, a Scabies outbreak is already sweeping the UK

By Louis Shankar

The TV finales that saved 2023, and the ones that royally ruined it

By Charlie Sawyer

Ron DeSantis’ obsession with the anti-woke agenda ruined his chances of becoming president

By Abby Amoakuh

Underage deepfake porn of Jenna Ortega and Sabrina Carpenter used in Instagram and Facebook ads

By Charlie Sawyer

How to date in 2024: Ditch other people’s romantic timelines and focus on you and only you

By Abby Amoakuh

Ballerina, beauty queen and Mormon: Who is Ballerina Farm owner, Hannah Neeleman?

By Charlie Sawyer

What to do if your landlord increases your rent, from negotiating to appealing to a tribunal

By Abby Amoakuh

Two Australian OnlyFans stars slammed for recruiting high schoolers for explicit content

By Charlie Sawyer

Gun safety expert warns how crucial Gen Z’s vote will be in 2024 US presidential election

By Abby Amoakuh

Where is Melania Trump? Is the former First Lady hatching an escape plan?

By Abby Amoakuh

Who is Courtney Clenney, the OnlyFans model accused of stabbing her boyfriend to death?

By Charlie Sawyer

Explaining Swiftonomics: Why NFL stans need to be thanking Taylor Swift big time

By Charlie Sawyer

Justice for Billie Piper: Why she’s worth so much more than her ex-husband Laurence Fox

By Abby Amoakuh

Fans campaign for Jonathan Majors’ Marvel comeback after actor avoids prison in domestic violence case

By Charlie Sawyer

No, controversial comedian Matt Rife didn’t compare himself to Bin Laden

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Why was Melania Trump not at the Manhattan courthouse with her husband?