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Leveraging Web3 to Incentivize Fitness Behavioral Changes — Co-Founder of Sweat Economy Oleg Fomenko

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The start of every year presents an opportunity for new beginnings. Many people set out with ambitions to hit the gym, exercise regularly, or walk more instead of driving. Sadly, it’s estimated that it takes the average American just seven weeks to lose motivation and abandon their New Year’s health goals.

The following is an opinion editorial written by Oleg Fomenko, Co-Founder of Sweat Economy.

The question then arises: How can individuals stay motivated to work out and maintain their health-related resolutions throughout the year? I would argue that there’s an urgent need to rethink our motivations behind such tasks and how we can offer a better alternative to help you stay faithful to your goals all year round.

The Limits of Motivation

Why are we not able to stick with our plans and become more active and fit year after year? The answer is not time, money, or motivation. The answer is that you are fighting the most formidable adversary—nature itself. Nature does not want us to be active. Nature built us to survive and this means that we are optimized to preserve calories rather than spend them. Nature is so adamant that this is a priority, that it gave us “Present Bias”—the behavioral feature to focus on the rewards and risks of right here and now while neglecting actions that will give us a long-term advantage like being fit and healthy.

This is why you give up after two or three weeks. The benefits are hard to notice and therefore, don’t motivate us. So, next time you find yourself frustrated with your inability to live up to your plans and expectations, remember what you are dealing with and change how you approach this problem.

Thankfully, nature also points us to the only way to solve the challenge of “Present Bias”—it is called “instant gratification”. How can we create instant gratification for physical movement? It’s simple. We create the most basic reward for the lowest unit of physical activity accessible to nearly everyone—physical steps. This is where technology can help—step validators like the Sweatcoin app can track a user’s steps with its built-in sophisticated system that allows it to confirm if one’s movement is genuine and reward every genuine step you take with a token. This creates a sense of instant gratification for every step you take and turns steps from an activity that nature tries to limit into an activity that nature tells you to do more of. And voila—with one move we are starting to use nature’s programming to make you more active.

Leveraging Web3 to Enhance Motivation

And how does Web3 fit into this picture? Well, by combining access to real-time movement data of billions of people due to the ubiquitous use of mobile phones with movement verification systems and blockchain’s ability to tokenize the data, we now have the technology to create a new asset class—tokenized physical movement.

But how valuable is this new asset? A few years ago some people doubted if physical movement had any value at all, but now there is a unanimous understanding that physical activity is indeed valuable. Not just for you and your loved ones, but also for healthcare providers, insurers, employers, and ultimately, governments and the global economy. Physical activity is not only able to keep you fit and healthy but also improves your mood and productivity. It reduces absenteeism, healthcare costs, and insurance risks while extending your health span and lifespan. There are a lot of parties that benefit from your physical activity—you, of course, but also your family, your healthcare provider, your employer, your insurer, and ultimately, the country where you live and pay taxes. Also, with longer healthspans and economically active lives, people will generate higher tax revenues. Everyone wins!

What is curious about the above is that these characteristics make physical activity very similar to paying attention. The acts of paying attention and being physically active have a lot in common. Both actions are beneficial to you. Without paying attention, you cannot acquire new information, learn, or be creative. Equally, we need to be physically active to keep our bodies fit and healthy and our minds sharp. Secondly, both actions are beneficial to third parties who are prepared to pay for them. In the case of attention, the most obvious answer is advertisers. In the case of physical activity, it is healthcare providers such as the NHS in the UK, insurers, employers, and, of course, national governments. Finally, both activities are scarce. Humans have very limited capacity for paying attention and limited time and energy for physical activity.

These similarities between paying attention and being physically active advance our understanding to a new era where our movement and physical activity generate tangible value in novel ways, resulting in the creation of the “Movement Economy.”

The Movement Economy

Over the last 150 years, humans managed to build an entire “Attention Economy” focused on monetizing your attention, which is estimated to be worth $7 trillion in the U.S. alone! However, the “Attention Economy” is incredibly flawed and invasive with users having their data, content, and attention sold on opaque digital markets for the highest price without ever receiving any compensation themselves.

But by leveraging blockchain technology, the “Movement Economy” enables the tokenization of physical activity which captures its value as an easily exchangeable asset.

Building the “Movement Economy” around tokenized physical activity has another huge advantage in that it removes the massive inefficiencies of the “Attention Economy”. For example, due to the lack of our ability to tokenize attention, humanity was forced to invent a convoluted mechanism of value exchange where users were offered a free product in return for their attention spans. This inefficiency has spawned “Big Tech,” which has been extracting the full value of your attention while creating an extremely profitable business model for themselves. On the other hand, by tokenizing physical activity and enabling you to exchange it with other parties, it ensures that the bulk of value generated by individuals ends up in your pocket.

It is an incredible time to be alive where we can build not a product, not a segment, but an entire economy—one where the individuals become the beneficiaries of its rewards and surplus. The path to establishing a fair value for users’ steps is not simple, but it will become inevitable with the building of the foundation of the “Movement Economy.”

What do you think about the Movement Economy concept and how Web3 can enhance motivation? Share your thoughts and opinions about this subject in the comments section below.

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