Need some monetary motivation for working out? Sweatcoin knows that money makes the world go ‘round and set out to create an app that legitimately pays you for getting your sweat on.
When I first heard of Sweatcoin (not to be confused with the Sweat app!) and that it had over 2.28 million users, I was curious but skeptical. I decided to download the app about a month ago, and although this Sweatcoin review is a bit different from the type of fitness apps I usually write about, this is an app well worth talking about!
Don’t have time to read the full review? Scroll to the bottom for the Quick n’ Dirty FAQ!
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What is Sweatcoin?
Before we get into the Sweatcoin review, let’s cover what it actually is and how it works.
Sweatcoin is an exercise motivation app that launched in 2016 by four Russian founders living in the UK. You can download the app for free (affiliate link) and get rewarded with “Sweatcoins” when you go outside walking with your phone.
Sweatcoin is a digital cryptocurrency (think Bitcoin or Ethereum), and you can earn 1 Sweatcoin for every “verifiable” steps 1000 steps. (More on that “verifiable” part in a bit.)
What is Sweatcoin worth in “real” currency? Since it’s exchanged for products, it’s hard to say exactly. Based on what I calculated from the top-tier rewards within the app, I would estimate that 1 Sweatcoin (SWC) = about $0.05-0.10 USD or 20 SWC for 1-2 USD.
How Does it Work?
It’s very simple: You download the app and then just make sure you have it with you when you pull on your Nikes and go out walking. The app will track your steps and convert them into Sweatcoins automatically. You can earn up to 5 Sweatcoins per day to start, not including “bonus” Sweatcoins which I’ll get to shortly.
You also have the option to upgrade your “subscription” to earn more Sweatcoins per day. But to upgrade, you only need to pay in Sweatcoins!
The subscriptions are:
This is the free default option. You earn up to 5 SWC per day or 150 SWC per month.
For 4.75 SWC a month, you can earn 10 SWC per day, up to 300 SWC per month.
For 20 SWC a month, you can earn up to 15 SWC per day, or 450 SWC per month.
For 30 SWC a month, you can earn up to 20 SWC per day or 600 SWC per month.
Apparently, this option is “coming soon” but no word on how many SWC per month you can earn. Based on the trend, it would probably be something like 25 SWC per day for up to 750 SWC per month.
Considering that 5 Sweatcoins is 5000 steps per day, I didn’t feel the need to upgrade because I’m rarely walking or running outside for that long!
The Economy: How Does Sweatcoin Make Money?
Everything within the app is bought and sold in Sweatcoin. But how does that economy work when it’s made-up internet money?
Sweatcoin economy works because brands partner with them for advertising and promoting products. For example, brands can “donate” their product that the app can sell for Sweatcoins. In exchange, they get major exposure to millions of people who use the app.
In addition to the subscription services – which are paid for in SWC – there is also a Sweatcoin “tax” of sorts on step count. The app takes a 5% commission on all verified steps.
Bonus Sweatcoins & Daily Rewards
Sweatcoins can be earned without the Can earn bonuses “streaks” which add up to 14 SC per week. In order to earn these daily rewards, you need to sit through a couple of minutes of advertising. From what I’ve seen so far, these are almost exclusively video game demos, trying to get you hooked so that you download the app once the demo is over.
Sweatcoin also launched an influencer program where you can get 5 Sweatcoins for everyone who signs up through your referral link. (like this link right here. 🙂 )
Apparently, there’s a secret rewards menu you get once you’ve successfully signed up 30 people. If I ever get there, I’ll update this section and let you know what’s in it!
Buying & Selling Sweatcoin (Watch for Scams)
You need to be careful with this because I have heard of scams. But buying and selling Sweatcoin is something that people are doing outside of the app.
Sweatcoinguide.com has a queue running for people who want to sell their Sweatcoins, but they prioritize based on how many you have to sell – the more you have, the higher up the queue you go.
There are other websites an forums where you can sell your Sweatcoins, but it’s risky and you could get scammed.
Sweatcoin also announced that they will be on the exchange at some point, but no word as to when. Some people are hoarding their Sweatcoins in anticipation of this.
There is something to this. If you know anything about cryptocurrency you’ll be aware of how volatile it can be. But sometimes it shoots up to the moon. The crypto exchange makes the stock market look like a coin-operated metal pony ride next to a bull-riding rodeo. So if you can gather Sweatcoin now, for free, while we’re on the ground level…. Why wouldn’t you?
Can’t You Just… You Know… Shake Your Phone to Get Sweatcoins?
Nope. The app’s algorithm is quite sophisticated! It cross-references your step count with your phone’s GPS, and then from that info determines the consistency and pace of your steps. In other words, you can just drive around the block in your car and earn Sweatcoins.
It’s also the reason why getting verifiable steps is a big deal. Currently, the algorithm only verifies about 65% of the steps your phone records. It’s no doubt a bummer, and the app creators claim they’re working on improving the algorithm to get this percentage up.
Unfortunately, this also means that steps are taken indoors or other forms of indoor activities do not count towards your Sweatcoin income.
So that 30-minute ab-crushing HIIT workout you just did?
Yeah, zero Sweatcoins for that.
This seems like a pretty major flaw to me and hopefully will be addressed in the improved versions of the algorithm if and when they implement one. (What about using the iWatch’s HRM to gauge exertion, Sweatcoin?)
What Can You Buy with Sweatcoins?
I was super wary of the Sweatcoin rewards or what could be done with this “currency”. After all, how can any business give away something for nothing?
It brings to mind a website I used to use (that shall remain nameless) with a free calorie tracker and diet forum. They tried to integrate rewards so that when you met your calorie and nutrition goals, you’d be eligible for rewards.
Except for the rewards all sucked. Weird coupons for obscure products and services no one ever asked for or needed. Maybe you have used a free tool with similar “rewards” that are just a waste of everyone’s time.
Sweatcoin? Not like that!
I was sold as soon as I saw this:
But if you’re eyeing that iPhone or crisp 1k bill, let’s crunch some numbers.
The maximum Sweatcoins you can possibly earn per month is 600 or 20 per day with the “Breaker” subscription, which costs 30 SC (so really 570.) If you don’t miss any bonus streaks, that’s an extra 56, so you’re back up to 656 SC per month.
And then there’s that downer of a discrepancy between the step count your phone records and what the algorithm deems “verifiable steps”.
Now, that iPhone is 20k SWC.
So, 20,000/656 = 30.5 months = 2.5 years.
That’s 2.5 years of you walking 20,000+ verifiable steps – Every. Single. Day.
The app’s FAQ actually acknowledges how difficult this is and recommends that you invite people to join the app to help boost your SWC accumulation. But you only get 5 SWC for each person who joins.
So even if 2000 people join, you’re only halfway towards that earning that iPhone.
For most of us, it’s not too realistic.
It’s really just a pretty, dangling carrot that most of us probably won’t bother to chase.
The good news is there are plenty of other cool (and more realistic) rewards you can purchase, like a protective iPhone case or 2-month subscription to Audible.
My Experience with Sweatcoin
I have always been into counting steps since I got my first FitBit a few years back. I was eager to put this to the test, although a bit put out by the fact that I couldn’t simply putter around my house to rack up steps.
Step count seems pretty accurate and consistent when I’m out walking around. Riding my bike around the neighborhood did register some steps but far fewer, which I suppose makes sense since cycling isn’t really “walking” and takes a lot less energy to go a greater distance in less time.
I find runs are the most satisfying way to rack up Sweatcoins quickly as I could get about 4000-5000 steps in a session and fill up my daily meter.
Alas, I do the majority of my workouts indoors so after a week of having the app I have only accumulated 54 SWC so far and a fair few of those came from the daily streak feature. On average, I’m probably earning less than 2 SWC per day through steps alone.
But you know what? It’s motivating me to get my butt out the door more often. So really what more can I say in this Sweatcoin review other than it is accomplishing what it set out to do?
Sweatcoin Review Summary
So, is Sweatcoin worth it? The app is far from perfect but the creators are definitely onto something here. And considering that it costs you nothing but the time it takes to download and set up an account, I would give this app an 8/10.
Hopefully, as the algorithm becomes more sophisticated, we’ll be able to reap the benefits from indoor exercise as well, and then it would truly be the ultimate fitness motivation tool!
(Speaking of fitness motivation, even the Sweatcoin app might not be enough to get a-steppin’ if you’re not in the right headspace. Check out my ultimate guide to fitness motivation for an effective mindset cleanse!)
- You can literally get an iPhone from taking walks every day. If that isn’t a pro I don’t know what is.
- You literally have nothing to lose and a lot to gain from downloading the app
- App offers real rewards that you might actually want to spend you Sweatcoins on
- Potential for actual $$ if and when Sweatcoin gets going on the exchange!
- Only works outside, which is a major bummer if you live somewhere like Canada where it’s basically Mars outside for six months a year.
- Doesn’t work well with any activity other than walking or running. Cycling, HIIT, etc. will not register steps well.
- Best rewards are next to impossible to get in a reasonable time frame. By the time you have enough Sweatcoin for an iPhone XS, Apple will have made the iPhone XXVIIIS.
What did you think of this Sweatcoin review? Anything I missed? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Not exactly. Sweatcoins are a digital currency that can be traded for goods on the app, or traded with other users. There are platforms for buying and selling Sweatcoins for real money outside of the app, but be careful because there have been many stories of people getting scammed.
The app is totally free and you literally have nothing to lose by downloading it. At the very least, it’s a new motivational tool for getting outside and exercising. But who knows, Sweatcoins could become a viable currency one day!
The app itself is quite safe since you just need to give your name to use it. You don’t need to enter any personal or credit card information.
Each Sweatcoin is worth approximately 5 cents USD, so 20 SWC for a US dollar.
Battery life is shorter when running the app, but not drastically so.
A lot. Basically, you’d need to walk 20,000 verifiable steps every single day for two and a half years.