Sweatcoin app promises money for exercise, but critics warn it'll drain your battery

Sweatcoin, an app that promises to reward you for simply exercising, has shot to the top of the app downloads chart despite criticism about the rewards on offer and the amount of battery it uses.

Sweatcoin monitors your physical activity through your smartphone or Apple Watch, then assigns reward points that can be spent at retailers including Graze and Fitbit.

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The company, which is based in London and launched in 2015, has just secured $5.7m (£4.1m) in funding from a number of venture capital firms.

But the app has received mixed reviews and users are critical about the offers available. The firm says 1,000 verified steps earns 0.95 sweatcoin.

Offers begin at 10 coins. Under the free membership model a maximum of five sweatcoins can be earned a day, which is equal to 5,000 steps.

Upgrading to the next level of membership, where you can earn 10 sweatcoins a day, costs five coins a month. A total of 10,000 steps is the equivalent of almost five miles.

One of the deals on offer at sweatcoin

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The downside is that only outside steps are counted. The app will not count any steps taken indoors, which includes running on a treadmill at the gym. Sweatcoin says it is working on an algorithm to fix this, but that at the moment there are too many ways to cheat the system.

Users may also be wary about downloading an app that tracks your movements and location. Aside from potential privacy concerns, the app is likely to drain the battery on your phone if running in the background all the time.

One reviewer said: “The app markets itself as a way to earn money or free rewards for your steps but the offers are so bad that it’s not worth using the app and draining your battery. I’ve had the app for four months now and haven’t redeemed a single reward.”

The offers are updated daily. One of the offers today is a Fitbit Flex in exchange for 375 sweatcoins, which is likely to take at least a year-and-a-half to accrue. The majority of the rewards range from 15 to 400 sweatcoins.

This article originally appeared in our sister publication, iNews.

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