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Tech Talk: Bitwalking Dollar, a digital currency earned by walking

Most people have already heard about Bitcoin, the most wide-spread digital currency. It can be used akin to regular currencies on many websites to buy goods or services directly, or it can also be traded on stock exchanges with euros and dollars to make it usable anywhere in the real world. However, it does have many specifities, the most important one being that each Bitcoin “wallet” is completely anonymous, which explains why Bitcoin has been the go-to money transferring system used for illegal activities such as the selling of drugs or weapons on the Tor network.

Shortly after the creation of Bitcoin, many other digital currencies (also called crypto-currencies) have been appearing across the web, either serving as a simple replacement to Bitcoin or bringing a special concept with them. Recently, one of the latters, the Bitwalking Dollar (BW$), has received much support from mainly Japanese companies, gathering a total of $10m dollars which should help fund the central bank for the currency.

The particularity of the BW dollar lies in the novel concept of people having to walk to obtain it (the current value is set to approximately 10,000 steps for 1 BW$). The number of steps travelled is measured by an app that users will have to install on their phone. In order to try and prevent scamming, the app is set to use many different metrics such as the accelerometer, the gyroscope, the GPS and the network connections of the device, though it remains unclear whether this will suffice to kill any attempt at cheating the system. To prevent abuses while the system is being tried, the daily revenue will be limited to 3 BW$ for the early stages of the project.

Initally, users will be able to choose amongst different products to spend their coins on in an online shop managed by the creators of the project. They should also be able to trade their Bitwalking dollars for real-world currency, with the beginning exchange rate being set at 1 BW$ = 1 US$. Many have voiced concerns over the potential fall of the value of the currency with respect to the US dollar as more currency is being created and put into circulation via the app. Other crypto-coins are known to have tackled this problem by proportionally increasing the difficulty in obtaining/generating new coins, which we imagine could be done for Bitwalking Dollars as well by increasing the number of steps required to acquire 1 BW$

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