How Oleg Fomenko’s loss of fitness kickstarted the Sweat Economy in 2016

Temitope Akintade
Oleg Femenko, CEO of Sweat Economy
Oleg Fomenko, CEO of Fomenko

Оleg Fomenko is a co-founder of Sweatcoin and CEO of Sweat Economy, a Web3 ecosystem committed to making people worldwide physically active by rewarding their activities.

In an exclusive interview with Technext, Oleg Fomenko narrates the motivation behind starting Sweat Economy in 2016 and how the broader Move-to-earn phenomenon is far from dead.

Oleg Fomenko’s journey to starting Sweat Economy 

Oleg was quite early in the blockchain space. He looked at Bitcoin for the first time in 2011 and according to him, it was stupid not to have bought a load of the digital currency while it was still exchanging hands for 20 cents.

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Instead of trading crypto, he focused on reading about blockchain technology. This got him excited and since then, he has been exploring ways to build a solution on the chain.

Oleg Fomenko, CEO of Sweat Economy
Oleg Fomenko, CEO of Sweat Economy

Between 2014 and 2015, Oleg Fomenko had a deep thought about his health and wellbeing. As someone who used to climb some of the highest mountains in the world (he recounts climbing Mount Kilimanjaro four times), he lost that fitness and agility within 3 years. All of a sudden, he went for a run and couldn’t muster the pace to run five kilometres.

So I started thinking, what the hell has happened? How did I lose all of my fitness in such a short period of time? And I started talking to my co-founders and what we realised is that the reason why people are not as active as they want to be is because nature does not want you to be active.

Nature wants you to survive, and that means preserving calories, rather than spending them. It’s very hard to find motivation to be active. A solution to it is instant gratification. So if you get instant gratification for something, then you do more of it.”

Oleg Fomenko and his team figured that instant gratification could be provided for every step people make. They decided to tokenise physical activity, and that was how the Sweat Economy was born.

They couldn’t launch on the blockchain then because Bitcoin was the major network available and it was too slow and cumbersome to build on. 

It took seven years for blockchain technology to become fast and robust enough for us to be able to make the move and in September 2022, we launched on NEAR Protocol.

In those eleven months, we have become the 9th widest-held token in the world. We have become the 13th most actively used token in the world and Sweat Wallet is the top 10 app in terms of active onchain users.”

Oleg Fomenko, CEO of Sweat Economy.
Challenges and sustainability of the move-to-earn concept 

According to Oleg Fomenko, building the Sweat Economy wasn’t really a challenge because there was a clear mission of making the world more physically active from the onset.

“We have more than 140 million users in Web2 and more than 10 million in Web3.”

The first half of 2022 was the period where the move-to-earn concept experienced a boom in interest and adoption. Lots of platforms offering to reward users for jogging sprung up. However, there has been a palpable decline in popularity and traction recently.

Sweat Economy

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According to Oleg Fomenko, Sweat Economy has been standing tall because of the fact that it is not playing the same game as its peers. 

We started in 2015 and if you talk to most of these other projects, we were an inspiration. The thing that we did not build on blockchain for earlier mentioned reasons. Since 2014 we’ve learned the way to do this business and make it sustainable and profitable.”

Unlike other move-to-earn platforms, Sweat Wallet users do not have to pay or buy a ticket to get onboard. 

What happens [with other platforms] is users buya ticket and that frames a user that they need to earn out of the game more than they paid. We are absolutely free. We do not charge you at the door. But what we’re focusing on is that it is engaging for you. And instead of charging you at the door, we have partners that bring in money into the ecosystem in exchange for your physical activity and attention. As more users come in, the economics is sustainable as opposed to unsustainable as we see in some other projects.”

Oleg Fomenko says due to being in the business for nine years, the experience and headstart they possessed in building in Web2 was incorporated into a sustainable business model in Web3.

He promises that there are plans in place to fully extend the frontiers of the Sweat Economy to Nigeria and other African countries subsequently. 

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