Date Tue, January 23 2018

A friend recently introduced me to Sweatcoin, an app that tracks your steps and provides you with coins in exchange for being active. My friend knows how much I like to walk, and who doesn’t like practically free coins?

Of course, Sweatcoin is the sort of thing that sounds too good to be true, so I had to give it a try to see if it was worth trying. You know how it goes.

Sweatcoin is available for Android and iOS users for free, and installation was painless. As soon as you register, it asks a few questions, including your name. Because I followed my friend’s referral link, she was automatically added as a friend. So keep that in mind if you sign up to Sweatcoin with a referral link such as this one, which is mine.

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My first concern is whether you can use the app in the background. You can. Next, I was curious if it would track indoor steps. According to reviews, it works best outside. This is because it partially uses GPS to track your steps. One thing that many reviewers have failed to touch on is while Sweatcoin does count your inside steps, it doesn’t convert them. Instead of earning almost 2 SC for 2,000 steps inside, I earned just over .30 SW. This is why they advise you to use the app outside. It’s unfortunate if you do a lot of inside walking.

Another concern I had is whether it would drain my battery. I’ve had my phone for over year now, and the battery isn’t as great as I would wish. Sweatcoin does drain the battery but less if it’s running in the background. This is partially mitigated because the basic, free account only allows you to earn 5 sweatcoins per day. Every 1,000 equates to .95 sweatcoins due to the conversation rate, so you’re waking just over 5,000 steps or about 2.5 miles, which really isn’t much. I try to do more 3 times that amount of steps a day.

I’ve compared the step counter on Sweatcoins with my iPod, and Sweatcoin does lag behind. I’ve read that it counts about 60% of all your steps, but I’ve had better luck than that. Sweatcoin tends to miss fewer than 500 steps per day, which isn’t perfect but isn’t terrible. It’s definitely better than 60%.

So, once you reach that 5 SC limit, you can shut off the app and preserve battery life, which you need to do manually. There’s no button to shut off the app, so it keeps tracking, even though it will not count toward anything.

Sticking at the basic tier will earn you fewer than 2,000 Sweatcoins per year, but all the rewards cost upwards of 3,000 coins. In fact, several $50 rewards cost 3650 Sweatcoins, which means a basic user would have to max out the counter every day for two years. That’s a long time. Even if I was willing to wait that long, I am not sure if the app will still exist then.

The better bet is to upgrade your account, and there are several tiers above the free tier. You can pay a monthly subscription fee of 5 Sweatcoins to try them out after a free 30-day trial. The next tier allows you to earn 10 sweatcoins daily, which is a nice jump. But it’ll still take a year or more to earn the high-value prizes — if you can even call $50 ‘high value.”

There are several other tiers for people who move a lot. Ideally, I could earn 10 Sweatcoins a month; although, I’d have to make a more concerted effort to max out the 15 SW tier daily. If you were a serious walker or runner, you could upgrade to the 20 daily SW limit, which costs 30 coins monthly. At that point, it would take just over 4 months to earn a $50 reward, assuming you were able to meet the goal every day and considering that you would need to work off the cost of the membership, too. It’s much better than two years, but it’s still a while.

There is an as-of-yet-unannounced level that I assume is higher yet, but few people would find that realistic.

All this effort is worth it only if you want the rewards. The Sweatcoin site vaguely describes rewards;

Goods, services & experiences ranging from anti-gravity yoga classes to high-tech shoes, to iPhones and Apple Watches.

There are Paypal and Amazon as well as flyer miles and some gadgets, but most of the rewards just don’t draw me in (jeans from an unknown brand or yoga subscriptions). They seem to change frequently, which could be problematic if you’re attempting to earn enough Sweatcoins to buy something.

Now, I’ve seen some people describe Sweatcoins are cryptocurrency, but that seems like a stretch at this point. Using the app doesn’t help to generate them in any way; although, the founder has plans to start a blockchain DLT in the future. Currently, Sweatcoins are no more currency than the points you would earn with Mpoints or MyPoints, both services that I’ve tried in the past to earn contest entries and rewards such as gift cards.


I kept using Sweatcoin, mostly because I kept receiving emails advising that the next week would include prizes from a beauty brand that I like. I received five emails before the brand finally showed up. I was excited to see it until I realized that it was a $5 off coupon, not a free product. You need to spend $20 to use to, anyway.

The real rub? The company is advertising a 25% off coupon on Facebook that’s a better deal with fewer restrictions — and I didn’t have to work for it. I would accept the prizes on Sweatcoin to be more exclusive and worthwhile that random coupons you can find online!

The motivation for Sweatcoin is equally to get you off your butt and onto your feet. If Sweatcoin sticks around, you could earn some nice rewards as well as stay healthy. And if the plans to expand Sweatcoin into a true cryptocurrency work out, the rewards could improve and value increase. So it’s worth trying and keep an eye on if you have any interest.

Get Sweatcoin for Android or iOS.

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