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Leisure Management - Nissan Bahar & Franky Imbesi

People profiles

Nissan Bahar & Franky Imbesi


Co-founders, Bitwalking

Bahar and Imbesi are co-founders of the app that enables users to make money by walking
In Malawi, the average rural wage is US$1.5 a day. Bitwalking could help transform lives

What is Bitwalking?
Put simply, Bitwalking enables users to generate money by walking.

How does it work?
The free app validates and converts steps to Bitwalking dollars (BW$) that you can manage and use as you wish. People earn about BW$1 for every 10,000 steps walked; the money you generate accumulates each day and remains in your account until transferred or spent.

We’ve created a central bank that verifies steps and oversees transfers. It uses the block chain method used to transfer other crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin. Bitwalking users have access to their own wallet that stores the dollars they’ve earned. They can then transfer these BW$ to other people via the app.

What can people buy with their BW$?
Users can spend their dollars at our in-app marketplace, which is filled with products – both tech and non-tech – with a wide price range. Users can complete a wish list to help us create a more personalised market.

Bitwalkers are also able to connect and use BW$ with our third party partners: online retailers, brands, charities and local governments that share our belief in an economy for all.

At launch, BW$1 is worth US$1. The global Bitwalking economy – including the physical human limit of how many BW$ a user can generate – will guide our valuation of the currency.

When did Bitwalking launch?
It launched in November 2015 to over 200,000 users at launch. People from all countries can request an invitation at bitwalking.com; our system prioritises countries with the most requests.

How will it pay for itself?
At this stage we’re focused on user experience and user growth, not monetisation of the scheme.

What most excites you about it?
The impact Bitwalking could have in developing countries is one of our main reasons for creating the currency. In Malawi, one of the African nations to join at the launch of the project, the average rural wage is just US$1.5 (£1) a day.

In developed nations, the average person would earn around BW$15 a month – roughly equating to a cup of coffee each week – but in poorer countries where people have to walk miles to work, school or simply to collect water, we believe Bitwalking could help transform people’s lives.

What’s next for Bitwalking?
We’ll continue to expand our global partnerships – online retailers, brands, charities and governments – but an equal priority will be bringing on board small local businesses to accept BW$ in-store.

Can you see a way for gyms to get involved?
We’ve been approached by many health clubs/gyms with different, exciting ways to collaborate and accept BW$. For example, accepting BW$ as partial payment for monthly dues, or accepting BW$ for a full day access.


Originally published in Health Club Management 2016 issue 2
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