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How Sweatcoin is empowering stroke survivors

SR Times speaks with CEO of Sweatcoin, Anton Derlyatka, on how the app can give motivation to stroke survivors for their rehabilitation.



Sweatcoin is an app that encourages people to move more and was the most downloaded health and fitness app globally in 2022, with the app boasting over 140 million users.

Sweatcoin users can collect in-app currency that can be redeemed for branded products, digital services or donated to a selection of charities.

But how does it link to stroke?

We speak with Sweatcoin CEO, Anton Derlyatka on how the app can be of use to stroke survivors.

SR Times: What was the inspiration behind Sweatcoin?

Anton Derlyatka: “My co-founders and I were becoming increasingly troubled by the growing pandemic of inactivity. The world seems to be conspiring to make us less physically active. We saw more convenience, more delivery services and more home-working, leaving none of us immune.

“As a species, we are turning into the ‘blob’ people that we saw in the futuristic Wall-E kids film (one of my co-founder’s personal triggers!). This not only comes with personal health risks but with societal implications for productivity and the rapidly increasing cost burden on our health services, diabetes alone represents a £10bn annual cost to the NHS.

“We came together to hypothesise on the potential of providing behavioural ‘nudges’ for movement, a form of more immediate reward for movement than long-term health improvement.

“And so the idea of Sweatcoin, effectively ‘Airmiles for steps’, was born. Sweatcoin now has over 140 million users and aims to establish an economy of movement.

“By encouraging millions of people to walk more, the average overweight population declines, mental health improves, and overall well-being skyrockets. Sweatcoin believes in creating positive change across society and getting the world moving.”

Can you tell us about Sweatcoin’s technology and how it works?

AD: “Sweatcoin uses a unique verification algorithm pedometer to convert users’ steps into a digital currency called Sweatcoins, which can be spent on real goods and services from popular brands in the in-app marketplace. The app uses a mobile phone’s step sensor to track movement and eliminate false data.

“The Sweatcoin app has been built to effectively gamify walking for the everyday user by incorporating a number of competitive and fun elements. Features include the opportunity to compete with friends, ‘boosts’ that can be turned on during periods of exercise, competitive virtual ‘walkathons’ and clubs that can be joined to access exclusive offers and rewards.

“In addition, the app includes a ‘Sweatcoin for Good’ zone, which enables users to find out more about the work of a wide range of different charities – from Save the Children to WWF and to ‘donate their steps’ to a cause they care about.

“Premium users can turbo-charge their steps and double the number of Sweatcoins they can generate through an annual subscription (£24.99).”

How does your technology help stroke survivors?

AD: “Sweatcoin’s technology can help stroke survivors by providing motivation and accessible technology for exercise rehabilitation. Studies show that lack of motivation and accessibility are the greatest impediments to physical activity amongst stroke survivors, which is critical for improving health outcomes.

“Empowering stroke survivors to take charge of their health is the first step in potentially preventing further complications. Rewarding and incentivising physical activity through Sweatcoin can provide that motivation and act as a facilitator.

“By attaching a tangible value to their efforts, Sweatcoin can act as a psychological nudge and provide stroke survivors with an additional incentive to take control of their health. Simple exercise, such as walking, is critical in rebuilding confidence and mental health and can provide purpose and structure to a survivor’s daily schedule.”

Do you think there needs to be more awareness around diabetes as a stroke risk factor?

AD: “Yes, there needs to be more awareness of diabetes as a stroke risk factor.

“Adults with diabetes are 1.5 times more likely to have a stroke than people who don’t have diabetes, and they are almost twice as likely to die from heart disease or stroke. Despite the clear link between diabetes and stroke, there is a significant lack of awareness about this connection. This can be attributed to a lack of education and information, as well as a lack of emphasis on stroke prevention in diabetes management.

“Symptoms of a stroke can also be difficult to recognise, especially for people with diabetes, who may already experience similar symptoms. To address this, it is essential to emphasise education and prevention in diabetes management, including educating people with diabetes about the increased risk of stroke and the steps they can take to prevent it.

“Healthcare providers should prioritise stroke prevention in diabetes management by monitoring and managing other risk factors for stroke.”

Could you tell us about your work with the NHS?

AD: “Sweatcoin is currently working on a number of medical trials with the NHS. Recent success includes the ‘Decathlon’ project with the ICS in South West London, designed to target patients at risk of diabetes.

“The first trial yielded particularly impressive outcomes, including 94%+ participant retention (vs previous averages of <50%), an average of 3-kilo weight-loss per patient, with some losing more than 10% of their body weight and with participants moving an average of 45% more.

“These exceptional results have seen the trial expanded still further and extended to patients at risk of cardiovascular disease – with further, larger trials commencing this spring.

What is next for Sweatcoin?

AD: “Much, much more of the same!

“We’re in talks with local and national governments, who share our vision of a more active, healthy society. We’re also partnering with healthcare providers and insurance companies to create an even greater incentive to get moving.

“Ultimately, through this work, it is our hope that we will create a true ‘economy of movement’ that succeeds in redistributing spending away from the NHS-crippling cost of treatment for conditions caused by unhealthy lifestyles.

“Instead, we hope to move towards preventative incentives that help people lead more healthy, active lives.”