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Swarm introduces a digital currency for your check-in pleasure

Need a little retail therapy? Consider a shopping spree on Foursquare’s Swarm app. Don’t get too excited, though — it’s not like you can check into your favorite store and spend your digital currency there (though wouldn’t that be sweet). Rather, the coins you earn for checking in on the app can now be used to — wait for it — sticker upgrades. Score.

In a strangely cyclical process, these upgraded stickers will let you earn more points whenever you check in, so really, you’re spending your digital money on a product that will earn you … more digital money. If only real purchases worked that way, right? It’s the first time that Swarm has allowed you to actually make use of the coins you earn, which is definitely an improvement from their previous role of just collecting dust in the app. Still, it seems unlikely that allowing coins to be spent in this way will garner much excitement in the Swarm community (but we’ve all been wrong before).

Ostensibly, the coins will eventually have more exciting uses — discounts, products, services … you know, things people actually want to buy. But for now, Swarm is staying tight-lipped on the future of its digital currency. “We have a ton of ideas, and eventually there will be other ways to spend coins,” a spokesperson for the company told VentureBeat, “but nothing that we’re ready to talk about just yet.”

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If you’re looking to add to your stockpile of coins before they’re the Internet’s next big commodity, there are a number of ways in which you can earn Swarm’s version of money. Check-in streaks, mayorships, or “out-of-the-ordinary check-ins” will all get you digitally rich, as will adding specific stickers to check-ins (and remember, now you can buy special stickers to help your coint count). So start saving now — you never know when those coins could come in handy.