Blockchain and Crypto Are Coming to the Fitness Industry
Bitcoin’s meteoric rise in December triggered an undeniable “cryptomania,” and tons of cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups have been arriving on the scene ever since. Whether you’ve invested in cryptocurrency or are cautiously waiting for the “bubble” to burst, it’s impossible to deny the popularity, and promise, of the blockchain.
It’s easy to see how crypto and the blockchain, its underlying ledger system, will impact finance. But what about fitness? Here are the latest fitness ventures using crypto and the blockchain to help exercisers revolutionize their relationship with fitness.
Sweatcoin and crypto for working out
Fitness app aficionados might have already heard about Sweatcoin, which amassed more than 5 million users last year—2 million of which are active. Why are users flocking to the Sweatcoin app? Because it gives you crypto in exchange for working out.
Here’s how it works: Download the app, sign up and connect the app to your GPS and fitness tracker. The app tracks how many steps you take each day—only outside, so no cheating on the treadmill—and gives you a “sweat” value based on how much you move. Every 1,000 steps you walk or run gives you 0.95 Sweatcoins, which you can use Sweatcoins to purchase fitness gear, classes and a number of other items through the app.
One caveat: Sweatcoins are actually more like a rewards token than an actual cryptocurrency, so don’t expect to trade them on crypto exchanges and see 2,000% growth in value overnight. But if you’re already investing a lot in workout gear and fitness classes, Sweatcoin could be a pretty sweet deal.
The app is currently available in the U.S. and UK., with plans to expand to Asia soon. The free version lets you earn up to 5 Sweatcoins per day. If you shell out a few Sweatcoins for the upgrade, you can earn even more.
GymCoin, the new preferred gym payment?
Since that now-famous pizza delivery guy accepted a Bitcoin payment in 2010, crypto enthusiasts have seen more and more opportunities for paying with cryptocurrency. Overstock was the first major retailer to accept Bitcoin payments, but it’s far from the only one these days. People are buying homes with Bitcoin, and Expedia even lets you use it to purchase a flight. But can you imagine paying your gym membership with digital currency?
The crypto startup GymCoin thinks that’s the future. The venture is using the Ethereum blockchain to create a decentralized, peer-to-peer platform that lets gym users pay for personal trainers, gyms and other fitness-related items through their phones, all using the GymCoin token. The startup says this will eliminate the hassle of paying for fitness while traveling, and says it already has a network of 20,000 gyms around the world on its platform.
According to online forums, a number of gyms already accept Bitcoin. But between the hefty transfer fees and the price fluctuation, it’s still easier (and more cost-effective) for gym-goers to pay with dollars—even if it’s less exciting.
Will GymCoin prove to be a crypto heavyweight? That’s yet to be seen.
Monetizing all your wearable’s data
Startup Lympo is exploring a different application for the blockchain: monetizing the health and wellness data you provide through your wearables. Lympo’s vision starts off sounding a lot like Sweatcoin. You’re rewarded with tokens when you make healthy lifestyle achievements, and can use those tokens to purchase goods and services in the Lympo marketplace.
Where does this startup differ? In its approach to data. Through the use of the blockchain—which, in theory, provides more transparency than our current financial system—people can choose to share their fitness data with fitness companies and monetize that data every step of the way. Users can also invest their Lympo coins in fitness data ventures through the startup’s crowdfunding platform.
Despite a turbulent few months for Bitcoin, Ethereum and the other major cryptocurrencies, blockchain applications are being explored by a wide variety of industries—fitness included. Will gyms soon let you pay with digital currency? Will gym owners use the blockchain to log transactions? Will Sweatcoin continue enticing exercisers to get moving for digital tokens?
There’s no telling what the future holds for cryptocurrency and the blockchain. But if the current trends are any indication, fitness rewards tokens will continue to be popular with exercisers eager to get rewarded for their commitment to health.