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Wellness & Health
26 Mar 2019

Staking on Your Health

The easiest way to understand the Juri Protocol is with an example, so in this post I’m going to talk specifically about how the Juri protocol can be used to get groups of people to exercise more.

Angus Blair

By Angus Blair, CEO

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My co-founder and I have always been fascinated by the use of mobile and wearable technologies to get people exercising more and better. In our previous jobs we worked together building an AI engine for Intel and Oakley so they could make this.

We think AI coaching for sports performance is pretty cool, but in terms of creating mass behavioural change, it’s more of a scalpel – and we need a hammer. Enter financial incentives and loss aversion, our hammer of choice. One thing that the literature [1,2,3,4,5] tells us is that payments, or more specifically loss aversion (losing money you have), is an effective motivator for behavioural change – particularly for sedentary populations looking to exercise more. In other words, nothing gets someone off the couch like the prospect of losing money.

The Juri protocol seeks to combine a vision of payments for healthy behaviour with a distributed network. This network would trustlessly verify these behaviours and transfer value between a group of participants that are collectively committed to reaching their goals.

Using an application on the network might look something like this:

Joining a community

People exercise in all sorts of groups. These can be virtual or physical communities, maybe assembling at a gym, place of work, through an insurance programme or even your favourite sub-reddit. This community helps people commit to healthy behaviours, like exercising three times or more per week.

Getting on a community app with opt in financial incentives

Members in the community need a shared application they use to track their exercise. This could be built for or by the group itself, or be based on the hardware that the group use for tracking. Once on board, there’s the option to join a financial incentives scheme to help them with that extra motivation.

Staking money you would hate to lose

To get a true loss aversion effect, there has to be money on the line. This could money you add to a wallet or it could be co-paid/paid in full as part of your subscription to a product or membership to the group – like a gym or insurance product for example. The main thing is, it has to be money you could walk away with, but instead want to commit to helping you hit your goals. This money is locked up in a staking agreement which says what you will do to keep the funds.

Do your weekly workouts

Since there’s money on the line, most people find it easier to exercise now. For this group, cardiovascular exercise is the key metric. They track their heart rate on a device like the Apple Watch and try to get 75 minutes moderate exercise per week across three or more workouts. According to the World Heath Organisation this is a really good idea. The data collected here is signed [6] and sent to the Juri network for validation.

Exercise data is validated on the network

Nodes **on **the Juri network then validate the heart rate data to ensure that it is the right intensity and was signed by the right person. The results are then compared to the staking agreement to determine who achieved the goals they committed to. Once a committee of nodes are in consensus, the staking agreement can execute in one of two ways:

Scenario 1: User gets rewarded

Users who fulfil the obligations of their staking agreement, not only get the benefits of healthy exercise and their original stake back, but additional return on top. This can be compounded into the next period should they so choose, which means they can earn even more next week.

Scenario 2: User loses part of stake

Users who fail to fulfil their obligations in the staking agreement lose some of their stake to the pool, and their losses go on to pay the reward to users who succeed. This financial sting is often what is needed for the user to buckle down for the next week and make the behaviour change happen.

On going challenges and development

An approach like the above shows one application that the Juri protocol could address. Fundamentally, the Juri Network is designed to act as a trustless oracle for healthy behaviours so that smart contracts (like the staking agreement we describe above) can execute on a distributed secure network like Ethereum. We envision applications being built for any healthy activity that can be computationally verified – today that includes exercise, sleep and meditation.

A detailed read of the above has likely raised a number of questions and challenges that we want to talk to talk about in the coming months. Feel free to reach out before then with any burning questions or to find out how to get involved.

Footnotes

  1. Barte JCM, Wendel-Vos GCW. A Systematic Review of Financial Incentives for Physical Activity: The Effects on Physical Activity and Related Outcomes. Behavioral Medicine. 2017 Apr 3;43(2):79–90.
  2. Molema CCM, Wendel-Vos GCW, Puijk L, Jensen JD, Schuit AJ, de Wit GA. A systematic review of financial incentives given in the healthcare setting; do they effectively improve physical activity levels? BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation [Internet]. 2016 Dec [cited 2019 Jan 9];8(1). Available from: http://bmcsportsscimedrehabil.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13102-016-0041-1
  3. Mitchell MS, Goodman JM, Alter DA, John LK, Oh PI, Pakosh MT, et al. Financial Incentives for Exercise Adherence in Adults. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2013 Nov;45(5):658–67.
  4. Patel MS, Asch DA, Rosin R, Small DS, Bellamy SL, Heuer J, et al. Framing Financial Incentives to Increase Physical Activity Among Overweight and Obese Adults: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2016 Mar 15;164(6):385.
  5. Strohacker K, Galarraga O, Williams DM. The Impact of Incentives on Exercise Behavior: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials. Ann Behav Med. 2014 Aug;48(1):92–9.
  6. Signing the data means that you use a private key that only you have (in your app) that is associated with your identity – for the networks usage this includes your age and sex which lets the network nodes know what intensity the HR data should be.

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