Health & Fit I tried Sweatcoin, a viral app that 'pays you' to walk outside — here's how it went

19:01  16 april  2018
19:01  16 april  2018 Source:   Business Insider

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But when I first heard about Sweatcoin , an app that " pays you " in a type of currency that it aims to eventually turn into cryptocurrency to reach your fitness goals, I was intrigued. Naturally, I had to give it a shot. Here ' s how it went .

Here ’ s how it went . SEE ALSO: I tried the science-backed 7-minute routine that was one of 2017’s hottest workouts, and it actually works. The first thing I learned about Sweatcoin after installing it on my iPhone is that it doesn’t actually pay you to walk around

a man and a dog walking on a dirt path © Erin Brodwin / Business Insider I'm no stranger to fitness apps, having tried everything from an app that promises the benefits of a trip to the gym in seven minutes to a tool that lets you track and share your runs with other users. 

But when I first heard about Sweatcoin, an app that "pays you" in a type of currency that it aims to eventually turn into cryptocurrency to reach your fitness goals, I was intrigued.

Naturally, I had to give it a shot. Here's how it went.

The first thing I learned about Sweatcoin after installing it on my iPhone is that it doesn't actually pay you to walk around — at least not in the conventional sense of the term.

a screenshot of a cell phone © Provided by Business Insider

The app lets you earn "Sweatcoins," or points based on the number of steps you take in a day, which you can then use to buy a limited number of specific goods that Sweatcoin has made available — like a Fitbit tracker, fitness classes, or subscriptions to apps designed to help you eat healthier. Eventually Sweatcoins founders aim for it to be listed on cryptocurrency exchanges, but it isn't yet.

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Here ' s how it went . The first thing I learned about Sweatcoin after installing it on my iPhone is that it doesn't actually pay you to walk around — at least not in the conventional sense of the term. The app lets you earn " Sweatcoins ," or points based on the number of steps you take in a day

I tried a viral app that ‘ pays you ’ to walk outside — here ’ s how it went . 4 days ago 0 Comments 1 view(s). Sweatcoin tracks your outdoor steps and lets you earn coins you can use to buy health classes or fitness equipment.

The irony of the fact that my Sweatcoins could only be used to purchase fitness equipment and classes was not lost on me. Nevertheless, I kept the app running in the background of my phone, thinking perhaps it would spur me to move more.

a screenshot of a cell phone © Provided by Business Insider

Although I was feeling slightly less enthusiastic about my potential purchases with Sweatcoins after learning how they could be spent, I kept the app running in the background of my phone. If you hard quit the app (or swipe up when you're not using it), Sweatcoin will stop tracking your steps. 

I also learned that Sweatcoin doesn't track all of your steps — only those the app believes are completed outdoors.

Because the app is constantly running on your phone — something that many users have complained drains their battery — it is able to use GPS to roughly determine when you're inside and outside. The only steps that count towards your Sweatcoin earnings are those you take outdoors. Also, the app doesn't sync with Fitbits or other fitness trackers. Instead, it relies on your phone's step tracking software.

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Although I started out skeptical, after a few days with the app, I noticed myself subtly favoring outdoor walks with my dog over indoor workouts at the gym.

a man walking down a dirt road © Provided by Business Insider

Knowing that I wouldn't get any credit for the indoor workouts I did at the gym (and seeing the giddy look on my dog's face every time I took his leash out of the cabinet), I started opting to take him out more frequently. I'd occasionally pull out my phone just to make sure the app was counting my steps, but otherwise I mostly ignored it.

One day after a particularly long walk, I checked my daily Sweatcoin count and noticed I'd only gotten 5 credits, or coins — the exact same number as the day before, when I thought I'd barely budged. Something was up.

a screenshot of a cell phone © Provided by Business Insider

After a few minutes swiping around in the app, I realized the problem was my status. I was still a mere "Mover" — the very first category of Sweatcoin membership — and "Movers" can't earn more than 5 Sweatcoins per day. Even though I'd earned more coins by walking more, I'd maxed out on what I could actually earn because of my level. To earn more, I had to move up a category to "Shaker," but to do so, I had to pay (in Sweatcoins, of course). Not liking either option, I decided to try it out for 30 days for free.

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Sweatcoin app makes exercise pay off – literally There are plenty of fitness apps and activity trackers that can count your steps, but now there’s one I tried a viral app that ' pays you ' to walk outside — here ' s how it went | eggshoe.

But when I first heard about Sweatcoin , an app that " pays you " in a type of currency that it aims to eventually turn into cryptocurrency to reach your fitness goals, I was intrigued. Here ' s how it went .SEE ALSO: I tried the science-backed 7-minute rou

In the meantime, I did notice myself walking a little bit more, but I wasn't sure I'd keep it up — or that my slight adjustments were significant enough to make a dent in my overall health.

a man and a dog walking on a dirt path © Provided by Business Insider

Scientific studies on whether fitness trackers actually change behavior have been largely inconclusive. Some studies suggest that for specific populations, like people who have been diagnosed with heart disease or are obese, fitness trackers can motivate them to move more, at least for several months. Others studies find that while using the devices may be helpful for certain people, they don't necessarily drive behavior change on their own.

This is something that Sweatcoin co-founders Oleg Fomenko and Anton Derlyatka are aware of. But they believe Sweatcoin will be different.

Since Sweatcoin is still new, there's not much research yet on whether giving people more concrete rewards for fitness — like Sweatcoins — will help motivate them to move around more.

a screenshot of a video game © Provided by Business Insider

Still, there is some research that suggests this might be a promising vision for future step-tracking apps. One recent peer-reviewed study of a workplace-based program that gave employees money for walking suggested that the model could work. Over half the participants — all of whom were hospital employees outfitted with a fitness tracker — met their step goals 12 weeks into the program. 

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Jr Negrete invites you to join Sweatcoin — the free app that PAYS you to get fit! Available in the US, UK, CA and Ireland only. Enter your email to be notified when I come to your country.

But when I first heard about Sweatcoin , an app that " pays you " in a type of currency that it aims to eventually turn into cryptocurrency to reach your fitness goals, I was intrigued. Naturally, I had to give it a shot. Here ' s how it went .

Fomenko and Derlyatka told Business Insider that internal data suggests the same thing: that giving users real rewards may prove to be the aspect of the app that makes it different from other fitness-tracking software. 

"We want to show the world that physical movement has economic value," Derlyatka told me in January.

Now that I was free to earn more Sweatcoins, I started exploring the social component of the app.

As a former Fitbit user, I'd enjoyed being able to see my friends on the app. I avoided comparing my step count directly to theirs since I can get pretty competitive, but I liked knowing that they were there. It felt like I was embarking on my fitness adventure with a group. Same thing applied to Sweatcoin.

But when I looked at my daily leaderboard, I couldn't help but feel a little discouraged when I saw my place near the bottom of the list.

a screenshot of a cell phone © Provided by Business Insider

I take public transit to work and do yoga almost every day, but most of my steps are indoors, so they don't count.

This got me wondering if other users had tried finding another purpose for their Sweatcoins — like making actual money.

a screenshot of a cell phone © Provided by Business Insider

Sure enough, some users are already selling their Sweatcoin. And that's OK with Derlyatka and Fomenko. 

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Find out how Sweatcoin works and how you can start earning with your steps. 4. Start walking , but look below for a few tips on how the earning actually works. How do I earn Sweatcoins ? The best way to earn is go outside .

It ’ s the reason we'd rather procrastinate or have another mince pie and watch TV instead of going for a walk . Sweatcoin counters this will of human nature and makes you fit in the times of plenty with Instant Gratification that makes Present Bias work for you . In other words, you get paid to exercise!

"We are in this for the long-haul. We believe we can create one of the most popular currencies in the world," Derlyatka said.

Then I started wondering if you could trick the app to make you think you were walking and earning more than you really were.

a small white dog standing in the grass © Provided by Business Insider

So I decided to experiment. One evening, I attached my phone to my dog's collar and took him to the park, where he happily tore up the grass with energy. He ran in loops, bounding and skipping. With every joyful leap, I thought of more coins in the bank.

Turns out, it's not that hard to trick the app — but Fomenko and Derlyatka say they are hard at work trying to improve their algorithms to prevent this. In the meantime, Sweatcoin's terms of use specify that you can get banned from the app if you do so.

a screenshot of a social media post © Provided by Business Insider Erin Brodwin / Business Insider

Under its Terms of Use, Sweatcoin specifies that users "shall not ... seek to generate Sweatcoins by any means other than your genuine physical movement." It goes on to specify that users cannot "simulate any such verified movement" or "enlist third parties to generate Sweatcoins on your behalf." 

Doing so, it continues, can result in getting banned from the app and having your Sweatcoins revoked. 

The whole point of the app is to get moving outside more. That said, Sweatcoin also collects data on your location and steps — data that it may sell to marketers, as outlined in its privacy policy.

  I tried Sweatcoin, a viral app that 'pays you' to walk outside — here's how it went © Provided by Business Insider

Sweatcoin isn't alone in collecting this information. Hundreds of location-based apps like Foursquare and Swarm do it too. However, Fomenko and Derlyatka said they would never share information on an individual user's health or behavior to third parties. The data is used exclusively to verify that a user's steps were taken outdoors, Fomenko said.

"We would never ever post this information to anyone else," Fomenko said. "The point of it is to verify the movement. So we know that every Sweatcoin in existence was genuinely sweated over by you or me."

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