This New Study Says Walking Could Be Turned Into Currency
Okay, so maybe not cold, hard cash, but a digital currency you could spend on goods and services just by walking.
A new study from the January British Journal of Sports Medicine says that the smartphone app Sweatcoin made people increase their physical activity by 20% over a six month period compared to their activity three months prior to having the app.
The study found that those typically lacking motivation to exercise (sedentary and high BMI individuals) were most likely to increase their step count with Sweatcoin.
Here’s how it works: for every 1,000 steps generate 0.95 Sweatcoins and these can be used to purchase products on the in-app marketplace, (with prices ranging from 5 to 20,000 Sweatcoins), in local shops, or even transferred between other users. The company says Sweatcoin uses a GPS-based verification algorithm that rewards for only genuine outdoor steps to prevent gaming or cheating.
According to Sweatcoin co-founder, Oleg Fomenko, the company wants to make people more active. “Sweatcoin does that by seeding a very simple and important idea: physical activity has monetary and economic value,” said Formenko.
“Your steps are not worthless, as many people think,” said Formenko. “They actually have tangible value and Sweatcoin helps users realize this value by working with its partners, insurance companies and local and national governments.”
Formenko says that unlike other digital currencies, Sweatcoin actually does have an intrinsic value that’s not linked to the expected future growth of the currency.
“The next step for Sweatcoin is to make its digital currency a convenient medium of exchange and this can be done in a variety of ways,” said Formenko. “We feel that making Sweatcoin a de-centralized digital currency by putting it onto next-generation blockchain technology will deliver the greatest impact and scale without sacrificing users’ privacy.”
Jennifer is human tech contributor for Forbes.com and Modern American News covering the intersection of science and technology with art, health, environment, culture and agriculture. Some people call her a multi-tentacled octopus, which is redundant, but she’s a narrative journalist, writer, author and poet. She’s a frequent moderator of creative, AI and VR/AR panels at events and festivals around the planet and travels the world regularly to interview spectacular humans and help them tell their stories. She’s a frequent guest on 938Now’s Tech Scares and her first book, Love, Lust, Longing and Truth was published in 2017.