Savings app Long Game is offering a new incentive to get people to sock away money: cryptocurrency.

The new Crypto Rewards feature will give users who meet savings goals ether (ETH), basic attention token (BAT) or 0x (ZRX), along with Long Game’s existing non-blockchain “coins,” which allow users to play games of chance for prizes of up to $1 million.

“Long Game is all about using fun rewards to encourage users to make smart financial decisions, and crypto is just an additional reward within our app,” Lindsay Holden, Long Game’s CEO, tells ThirtyK. It’s a way for our users to get educated about blockchain and cryptocurrency without taking on any risk.

Generally, our users are pretty young,” says CEO Lindsay Holden, “and this gives them an extra incentive to save money.

The San Francisco-based company, which announced the Crypto Rewards program Thursday, said users don’t have to take the crypto, either; they can still choose to be rewarded with cash and the app’s game coins.

Making Saving Fun

Here’s how Long Game’s free app works: Users who download it open a savings account with one of Long Game’s banking partners. Long Game receives revenue from those partners, who are happy to have new customers with growing deposits.

Next, users link their personal checking accounts to the Long Game account so they can make either automatic or manual deposits. They can monitor their progress stashing away savings via a map on the app that charts their milestones.

A Crypto Rewards player who reaches level 2 in her savings may receive a reward of 25 cents worth of ether, while someone who reaches a high level may land a couple dollars of free crypto, Holden tells ThirtyK. Regardless of the level obtained, everyone who reaches that same level will receive the same amount for a reward, she adds.

We Have a Winner!

Those rewards are in addition to the app’s non-blockchain coins, which have always been an integral part of Long Game. Those coins allow users to play various games for cash prizes, including a spin-to-win, a virtual slot machine and a weekly drawing for $1 million.

Long Game recently launched a game called Crypto Spin, which pays out bitcoin (BTC), ether or cash, depending on where the marker lands when the wheel stops spinning.

Long Game will hold the cryptocurrency awards for the benefit of the user. If users wants to cash out any portion of their cryptocurrency rewards, they can export them to an external cryptocurrency wallet, Holden explains.

“We believe this is a fun way to expose our users to crypto without the risk,” Holden says. “We also teach them about cryptocurrency since it is super-interesting stuff. Although they can’t add crypto to their account from their wallet, they can watch the price of their crypto fluctuate.”

In the interest of fostering knowledge about cryptocurrencies, Long Game also announced Thursday it is launching an education portal within the app that explains how crypto works. Early next week, the portal will begin featuring video content.

Since launching in fall 2016, Long Game says its users are making progress.

“People are growing their savings every month,” Holden says. Generally, our users are pretty young, and this gives them an extra incentive to save money.

Best Way to Grow a Nest Egg?

Professional financial planners have mixed reactions to Long Game’s approach.

“Anyone who encourages people to put money into a savings account and not equities is definitely not playing the long game,” David Haraway, a certified financial planner with Substantial Financial in Colorado Springs, Colo., tells ThirtyK.

But Michael Kelley, owner of Kelley Financial Planning in Cleveland, Ohio, and a CFP, says he “loves” the idea behind the app, because it has the potential to create the habit of saving. Kelley says he also appreciates the crypto education feature Long Game is putting into the app.

Dawn Kawamoto
Dawn Kawamoto is an award-winning technology and business journalist, whose work has appeared in CNET's News.com, Dark Reading, TheStreet.com, AOL's DailyFinance, and The Motley Fool. She has also covered the technology jobs and careers market for Dice.com.