Sweatcoin is an iPhone and Apple Watch app which counts the number of steps you take and promises to pay you for getting fit.
Using GPS tracking and the device’s built-in accelerometer, the app can ensure you’re actually making the number of steps you need to do in order to receive payment.
The draw-back is that payments are made in the form of a digital currency (“Sweatcoins”), rather than cash, which can then be spent on certain health-focused products and services from Sweatcoin’s partners. As of writing, some examples of the type of products they’re offering are energy bars, a yet-to-be released fitness tracking scanner and a blood test, all in return for your hard-earned Sweatcoins.
Whilst the theory is that the rewards will motivate users to get active, the reality is, in my opinion, that I doubt that the rewards on offer will prove tempting enough to keep users interested. I appreciate that paying actual cold hard cash for steps would probably be open to abuse and eventually lead to commercial suicide, but the offers appear to be quite random and from unknown brands. They’re also sometimes limited in numbers, so you may have to get your steps in quickly before they’re all gone if there’s a product or service you’re particularly interested in.
Insurers are beginning to look at offering similar incentives for keeping fit – Vitality are particularly active (pardon the pun) in rewarding customers for being healthy – so there is definitely some value in offering these types of incentive, I just think it is more likely to be effective if the offers can be improved.
Sweatcoin is available for free in the App Store. An Android version is being promised, and you can register your interest in an Android app for when it’s released, but there are no timescales for the availability of an Android app at present.
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