Get Fit with web3

I’ve written before about how web3 technology around tokens can be used to jumpstart a new marketplace business or talent network. There is interesting work being done on companies using this same tech to get people moving and fit. The thinking goes that if you incentivize someone with something of value, they will be more active. I like this concept and am looking for people building in this space.

A quick detour to a company called SweatCoin will be helpful here. This company was launched a few years ago by a team from London. It first achieved popularity and mainstream press coverage in 2018. The app tracks how many steps you take, even when you are not using it. They reward you with credits for your steps. They claim to be the “the fastest growing health app ever”. They are currently the #9 app in the healthy category in the Apple App Store, and over 60 million people have registered accounts with SweatCoin.

Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, the rewards are a bit dubious. They give out things like first month off a sock subscription from Stance or a discount on a T shirt. Generally, you aren’t getting something totally free with your rewards. It’s basically a promo that the brand might offer you anyways. SweatCoin charges the brands a marketing fee to get their product in front of the huge SweatCoin audience. This is how SweatCoin makes its money. Still, they have a really cool concept that can be easily applied in a web3 manner.

One early player in web3 fitness is STEPN. This company has users buy a NFT, which costs around $1K, and then connect to an app that tracks your steps. Every day you have a 100-minute window to earn points for walking or running. You get tokens for this, and this is how you get back the value spent for the NFT and earn a profit. Cool idea, and the company has some big time VC backers. They also announced a partnership earlier this week with sneaker maker ASICS. A few others are playing with a similar concept.

Another way to go after this opportunity might be with a head-to-head challenge mechanism. Say you put up an amount of Crypto against someone else, and the one with the most steps in a day wins. Or maybe it’s built on calories burned. Or your score on a Peloton ride or something like that. This could potentially be done in the U.S. under the skills-based gaming category, with wins and losses recorded on the blockchain. I would be curious to see if someone could spin this idea up and find ways to stop the cheaters.

Another idea that I think could have legs in this space would be something where everyone stakes Crypto, completes a daily fitness challenge, and then the platform lotteries off the pot to the qualifiers. I’m not sure whether this would run afoul of gambling laws in the U.S., but it would certainly be cool. Or maybe a platform could get a fitness focused brand to put up the pot as an advertising expense. I’m not sure this brand idea would really need to be on chain, but maybe someone can come up with an interesting way to use verifiable activity on a blockchain to make sense of this.

DEFY Labs closed a $3.5MM capital raise this week for what they call move-to-earn gaming. Leading Metaverse investor Animoca Brands was an investor in this round. DEFY is working on a game with “missions for players, requiring them to explore their physical surroundings.” It sounds like it has elements of the wildly popular Pokemon Go game, where you earn tokens for completing challenges in the real world. This is a great idea with lots of upside, but the company will need to get the tokenomics correct for this to takeoff. Either way, it is great to see people trying different routes to incentivize fitness and activity.

Lots to explore in this space. I’m guessing we will see numerous experiments with web3 and fitness. There is a ton of room for creativity in using tokens and web3 to incentivize better health outcomes. If you are working on something in this area, please hit me up and we can discuss.

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Writing about Crypto and web3 for business executives

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Brian Zwerner

Brian Zwerner

Writing about Crypto and web3 for business executives

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