If you keep an eye on app download charts, you’ve probably noticed Sweatcoin, an app available for both iOS and Android which rewards you in cryptocurrency for getting off the sofa and moving around. For every 1000 steps you record, you’re rewarded with (at present) just under one Sweatcoin, up to a maximum with a free account of five a day. Once you’ve accrued a reasonable amount, you can swap them for a range of rewards, ranging from one-off snack or drink subscriptions (usually around a month’s worth of activity), up to an iPhone X. With a free account, the latter could take you several years, by which time your tech will be obsolete…

The London-based company behind the Sweatcoin app launched in 2015 and has recently seen investment from venture capitalists to the tune of just over £4 million.

So, is it worth it, or it is just another app you’ll be deleting in a few months?

The Good Things:

  • If you’re already running a step counter, e.g. a Fitbit or Apple Watch to monitor your activity levels, it’s not going to hurt to have something else running alongside these to give you the odd incentive for taking exercise.
  • Even with a free account, those small rewards mount up fast, unlike some other reward sites where you’re slogging away for months just to get a £1 voucher for something you don’t want anyway.
  • The ‘paid’ accounts are paid for in Sweatcoin, so if you walk everywhere as a matter of course, you’re losing around two days’ worth of steps if you regularly clock up your 10,000 per day, and in exchange you have higher step-earning potential.

The Bad Things:

  • It’s a battery-eater. If you’re running anything older than an iPhone 7, you’re probably having to charge up twice a day by now anyway, and similar battery drain issues have been reported for Android handsets. If you’re also running other battery-heavy apps, or use your phone for a multitude of tasks, you’d better get used to carrying a battery pack.
  • Like Pokemon Go, and ‘walking’ your buddy to upgrade it, Sweatcoin steps are only recorded via GPS at present, i.e. your 5k run on the treadmill in the gym won’t count. Sweatcoin are working on a fix for this, but if you do all your moving about indoors, this app is unlikely to be for you at present.
  • Some users have complained about the lack of incentives, or the fact that the higher-value incentives frequently show as ‘sold out’ long before anyone might have got anywhere near them (especially as a Fitbit, at 375 Sweatcoin, would take a year to acquire with a free account).

Is it worth it?

In our opinion, yes. It’s an introduction to how blockchain technology works in practice for the uninitiated, and if you’re a big walker, a ‘Breaker’ level account (for those walking c.20,000 steps a day and costing you 30 Sweatcoin per month) could see you earning that Fitbit in around two and a half weeks rather than 12 months. You can pick up a free Sweatcoin every day by watching a short video, so if you do this regularly, that’s your premium account paid for in full without chopping into your step count at all.

Go on, get walking!