If the idea of fitting into your skinny jeans isn’t motivation enough to walk those ten blocks instead of hopping on the subway or in a car, maybe some cold hard cash will serve as a more appropriate incentive. That’s the idea behind Bitwalking, the new app that will actually pay you to work out — or at least, take more steps. No, it’s not a joke and yes, it is that easy to make money in this day and age. With Bitwalking, you literally generate an income (though limited) simply by walking. Steps are converted to Bitwalking dollars (otherwise known as BW$) that can either be spent in an online store or converted into actual dollars. So literally, what are you waiting for? Download the app and start walking.
“We believe that everyone should have the freedom, and ability, to make money,” notes the Bitwalking website. “A step is worth the same value for everyone — no matter who you are, or where you are. What matters is how much you walk.” As such, the app is being heralded as a potential game changer in developing countries where walking remains the chief method for transportation, and money is scarce. Malawi and Kenya are both included in Bitwalking’s initial launch, and Salim Adam, an IT teacher at a local college in northern Malawi, tells the BBC that he can earn up to 26 BW$ a month with the app. Currently, he makes $26 a month.
While there is not yet an official exchange rate for the app, establishing such a conversion is on the roadmap for the Bitwalking team. “Most people are unable to generate and benefit from digital currencies, and large populations in the developing world are still left unbanked,” the startup notes. “We’re inviting everyone to take the next step.”
10,000 steps is the equivalent of 1 BW$, and already, a number of other companies are jumping on the wagon Bitwalking has created. For example, Japanese electronics manufacturer Murata is developing a wristband that will substitute for a smartphone, allowing app users to more easily track their steps and their Bitwalking salary. According to the BBC, “Shoe manufacturers are poised to accept the currency, and a UK high street bank is in talks to partner with the project at one of the UK’s biggest music festivals next year.”
Because users will be able to store their money for as long as they’d like, they can continue to accumulate more and more funds to work towards long term goals in addition to satisfying daily needs with a bit of extra pocket money (which, in some countries could go a long way). “It’s a currency that can be earned by anyone regardless of who they are and where they live,” co-founder Franky Imbesi told the BBC. “For some it will be a free cup of coffee a week perhaps offered by local businesses to encourage people to explore their local shops. For others it could be a game changer, transforming their lives by enabling them to earn and trade in the same way with the rest of the world. And all while encouraging us to protect the planet and stay healthy.”