SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — How would you like to get paid to stay fit?
A popular new app rewards you for every step.
Have you ever seen someone going for a run and thought, you couldn’t pay me to do that?
Well what if a startup actually offered to?
Sweatcoin user Ed Suh said, “See how it’s starting, it keeps counting.”
Suh is being paid right now for every step he takes. Not in U.S. Dollars but in Sweatcoin, it’s an app aiming to rival Bitcoin as a cryptocurrency.
Ranbir Arora with Sweatcoin said, “The whole idea behind Sweatcoin is that physical movement has a value to our economy.”
Sweatcoin got its start three years ago and has suddenly taken off.
It’s consistently in the top ten free apps on the app store, has 7 million users, and investors who recently shelled out $5.7 million in funding.
Every 1,000 steps gets converted to one Sweatcoin, users can only earn 5 Sweatcoin a day, and for now Sweatcoin can only be redeemed for participating products on the app.
Suh said, “You can get an iPhone 10 for something like 10,000-20,000 coins.”
Sweatcoin intends to begin using blockchain technology, similar to other cyptocurrencies this year.
The team hopes Sweatcoin will soon be exchanged for much more than tech products and workout gear.
“Our target is going forward in the next 10 years is to be able to pay part of your taxes in Sweatcoins” Arora said.
“We believe for cryptocurrency long term to have a value it has to be built on actual utility,” Arora said.
Arora argues Sweatcoin is sustainable because of it’s public health benefits.
“When people walk more it makes us not only healthy and more productive it also saves society costs in healthcare,” Arora said.
One of the main knocks against Sweatcoin is that the pedometer doesn’t count indoor steps because GPS tracking isn’t as strong indoors, so for now your treadmill run won’t count. It’s an effort to keep users honest.
Arora said, “If we tried to count indoors and remove GPS then user would be able to earn this currency by shaking their phone about.”
A better pedometer is one of many things Sweatcoin hopes to improve in 2018.
The team also hopes anyone curious about cryptocurrency but wary of investing any real money will pour in a little sweat equity instead.