If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to get out of the house and move a little more, a mobile app called Sweatcoin might help give you the incentive you need to get off the couch for a few more minutes each day.
The Android and iOS app tracks your steps each day and then converts them into a digital currency called “Sweatcoin” that can be used to purchase things like a Delta or PayPal gift card or an iPhone X. It’s sort of like mining for Bitcoin, except “mining” is going for a walk.
The app is free to use, but like most things, there’s a catch: you need to have the app running in the background on your phone and accessing your GPS in order to actually get credit for the steps you take. That can be hell on your battery, but there’s a battery saver mode you can access within the app (which notes you’ll likely lose steps if you activate it).
Steps are also only counted when you’re outside, so all that treadmill time doesn’t count, and many users report they’re not 100% accurate, even without that battery saver on.
A New York Times story Sunday suggested that thanks to Sweatcoin’s fraud protection users end up only getting credit for roughly 65% of the steps they take.
Still at 65% you could still get to a few rewards reasonably quickly. Roughly every 1,000 steps you take is worth 1 sweat coin. At 10k steps a day you’d be able to get a FitBit Flex (550 coins) in close to 2 months, which might turn into close to four if you’re not getting credit for everything. Other prizes start at much lower price points and can be nabbed after just a few days.
Also worth noting: the free “Mover” account only allows you to earn 5 sweat coins per day. To earn more you’ll have to upgrade to a Shaker account (4.75 sweat coins (swc) per month) that has a daily earning cap of 10 sweat coins, a Quaker account (20 swc/month for a 15swc/day cap) or a Breaker account for 30 swc/month and a 20 swc/day cap.
All of the upgraded modes offer a free trial for 30 days, and you can pay for the upgrades with steps you take so ever tier is technically still “free.”