CleanApping & Plogging in 2021

CleanApping & Plogging in 2021

Here’s a dispatch from June 2021, from a plogger who just found out about CleanApp and wrote a story about trying out CleanApp for the first time. She sent it to us, and we wanted to share it with you.


I just had my first CleanApp experience, and I wanted to share it with everyone before I go back to CleanApping, because this thing is addictive.

So earlier today, I told Siri I wanted to get started CleanApping and she got everything sorted out for me, good girl, and ported my usual privacy and location settings, so there wouldn’t be any surprises.  From the way I heard my friends describe it, there was nothing to it.

To CleanApp, you’re supposed to just go about your day and the basic premise is that whenever you see something that needs to be cleaned up, you just tell your assistant to “CleanApp this dumpsite,” or “CleanApp this graffiti.”

I threw on my glasses, and decided to go plogging (which is jogging while taking care of litter you find along the way).

I had a really strong 1-hour plog, and got home, nice and sweaty.  It was the good kind of dirty, with the salt from your sweat burning your eyes and dripping into your mouth — not the kind of dirty you get from loading a pallet worth of crushed cardboard.

With CleanApp, It’s Not Your Normal Plog

I looked in the mirror and smiled because I noticed that it wasn’t just a nice plog. This time something felt different.

My lungs could feel the effects of the cleaner air that’s been getting noticeably better.  This month was definitely better than last month, and last year. I was also smiling because I knew that even though it was my first time CleanApping, I had tagged a ton of cardboard without even having to stop.

woman standing on stone near body of water

On my normal plogs, I would typically target small pieces of plastic like bottle caps and those disgusting plastic cigarette tips.  But to try out this whole CleanApp litter reporting premise, I decided to target only cardboard, the type of litter I wouldn’t be able to pick up anyway on a jog, because I simply can’t run with it.  I don’t know if running with dozens of crushed cardboard boxes is enjoyable.  And I have no desire to find out.

Before I hopped in the shower, I looked at my @littercoin tally, and sure enough, there was money there.  Not $150, which is what I thought the spot price for a “ton” of cardboard was in July 2021.  But there was $82 bucks worth of @littercoin or #TrashKens, or Ether, TrashHash or whatever.

I think I opted in to get payouts in Littercoin, but I can’t remember because my crypto payout settings all still revert to dollars and cents.

After I saw the balance, I first thought, wait, wasn’t it supposed to be $150?  But on further thought, who knows … maybe the price of cardboard fell flat or something. Maybe I didn’t send as many CleanAppReports as I thought I did.

“It was getting a little dark…” I thought.

But then again, “Who knows? And who cares?”

I was tired, I was $82 dollars richer than I was an hour ago, and it was time for the long-awaited shower.

bath bathroom bathtub indoors
“Alexa, CleanApp the bathroom after I get out of the shower, please.”

As I took the shower, my mind was already racing wondering how I’d reinvest this $82 that I had just earned.  I still couldn’t get over the fact that it was $82 bucks earned over just the course of one hour of socially-productive and … physically-invigorating and … emotionally-enriching “crypto mining.”

I had been hearing all my friends saying how easy it was, how impactful it was, how scalable it was, and so on. But I didn’t realize just how easy, and actually fun, it was.

I must say, it was the easiest $82 bucks I had earned in a long time.

I tasted the water and, like the air that I was drinking earlier, the water also tasted cleaner. I don’t know if it’s just the CleanApp placebo effect playing tricks on me, but I did feel cleaner.

When the steam started working its soothing magic, I really got to thinking.

“Hold on a second!”

If it was that easy for me to earn my $82 bucks, chances are, there were millions of other people plogging and mapping plastic.  And the same with scrap metal, which everyone knows is even more valuable than plastic and paper.

If it’s this easy to CleanApp, there are probably reports going out over every little bolt, every rusty rail, every metal coin that was previously laying in a field, on a beach, or on a sidewalk.

“See a penny, do CleanApp, all day long you’ll have good luck!”

And if that’s the case, with all the plastics and metals and paper (with all that toxic ink, yuck!) being recycled more rationally, no wonder the air and water taste purer.

The More People CleanApp, The More It Pays To CleanApp

My smile got bigger as I realized that this is actually a thing, that billions of people are actually doing this same thing right now, “cleaning up” crypto while cleaning up their cities and their planet.

Do you want to know the weirdest thing of all, dear friends?

You all know how competitive I am by nature. I jog at least one hour every day. I blog at least one hour every day. But even after learning just how much cash it was possible to earn from all that trash and all that scrap, I didn’t feel competitive towards other CleanAppers.

It’s was an unusual feeling for me, but I think I actually saw the bigger point here.

With CleanApp, everyone seems to be financially incentivized to benefit from everyone else’s success in CleanApp-ing.

I’m sure I’m wrong somehow or I’m missing a crucial part of the puzzle, because it seems too good to be true.  What’s the catch?

CleanApp’s Net Effects Are Easy to See

The more I thought about it, my friends, the clearer the mechanism of action became.

There is no catch.

I realized that most everyone in the CleanApp ecosystem is operating on financial incentives, but there’s also a ton of network reinforcement and participatory buy-in for totally rational, totally tangible, but totally non-financial reasons.

With CleanApp, you realize that this technology will actually make you and your loved ones live longer healthier lives.

That’s when my smile got even bigger.

person in blue long sleeve shirt using smart watch
“Just checking to see how much @littercoin I mined on my plog.”

I threw my watch back on before heading out for the night, and I remembered a thought I had in the shower:

I wonder how many people are actually doing CleanApp reporting or responding or verification at this very moment.

So I opened my wallet-browser-thingy and before I could even notice the answer (“1.3B CleanApping Now”) I saw something that made me stop in my tracks.

Your Impact Keeps Growing Still Higher …

That @littercoin balance of $82 was now $91.74!

And the jump wasn’t because of speculation.

Here’s what had happened.  In the time that I was in the shower, a bunch of other CleanAppers had apparently confirmed or corroborated or verified my original CleanApp reports with reports of their own. Some of them left some tags or something, I’m not quite sure.

But the balance was definitely larger.

Because it turned out that my CleanApp Reports were right, I also got rewarded for that.

I clicked on the balance to see just what was going on, and instead of $91.74, it was now $95.31.

The balance was higher still because apparently one of the batches of cardboard that I had CleanApped was actually scooped up by an autonomous Trashformer that was in the neighborhood and got my report shortly after I sent it!


The box was now on its way to a recycling facility, probably to become another cardboard box.

I had no idea this would all be happening so quickly, or that the gains could be captured so quickly.

With CleanApp, it turns out your balance is dynamic and it goes higher by ticks.

Mistakes Are Costly But Inaction is Costlier

At one point I noticed my balance also dropping lower, down to $92.58.  I decided to investigate.

blue and yellow graph on stock market monitor

I clicked on that downward turn and it pulled up a report that I generated halfway into the plog.

I thought it was litter, but it turns out that was someone’s unopened Amazon package on the very edge of their lawn.

When I was running, I thought it was litter on the sidewalk, which is why I did the report.  But after that, a few other CleanAppers confirmed it wasn’t, so I lost a few pennies. I made a note to be more careful next time.

One other thing I noticed when my balance went down, was that my perfect 5* CleanAppScore had also dropped a little bit, down to 4.9*.

At first, the process is all new and kind of strange to take in, but overall, it seems totally intuitive, and really familiar. Peer-reviewed scores for accuracy, reward-tokens for accurate reporting, token debits for inaccurate reports. It’s like Uber-for-Trash, or maybe Uber+Yelp+Reddit-for-trash.

In any event, the whole thing is really easy to use with obvious utility going in lots of different directions.

For me personally, usability seemed like the key innovation.  Because it was so easy to CleanApp, it didn’t take long for me to conclude, hey “I can really get behind this.”

CleanApp Data Security

So, now, some more general reflections, especially about data security.

Here’s the big picture about CleanApp as I understand it.

You know that it’s all run on a platform that’s as secure as they come because it’s open source and it has ten thousand contributors who are continuously adding new code kernels, improving the UI, adding functionality.

In my mind, the greatest security comes from the fact that one would have to be a real psychopath in order to even think about compromising a system that offers so much broadly distributed utility. It’d be like someone trying to take down Wikipedia.

Yes, we know that attacks on Wikipedia happen with some regularity, but the gains from Wikipedia are so vast that even if a crazy person found a new way to compromise Wikipedia, there would be an immediate restoration of order, on much stronger footing than even before.

I don’t know if this CleanApp blockchain thingy is “fully trustless” or “fully decentralized” — I just know that I trust it because it seems to work, and it’s not connected to any government or to BigTech.  It also seems like a sound business model that actually makes everyone better off.  This is true at the end of individual transactions and it’s true overall. Everyone is better off than they were before tapping into this model.

person s playing chessI tried to remember something from college game theory class that will explain the theory behind CleanApp’s apparent success.

But then I realized, I don’t need to do game theory. The secret behind CleanApp’s sustainably profitable business model is Econ101: it’s a smart use of an existing technology to help us make even smarter allocations of finite resources.

CleanApp is Econ101

I patted myself on the back for remembering this one lesson from Econ101, and then got ready to step out for the night. I checked my wallet again, and this time, my balance was $138.53!

What is going on?

I clicked on a sudden upward spike that seems like it almost doubled my balance.

Pulling up the accompanying report, I remembered, “Oh yeah, that was that sketchy cardboard dumpsite by the river that I jogged by.”

I could see my photo with the cardboard boxes that I remembered seeing and waving at. I could also see other CleanAppers’ annotations next to the original report (in my case all done within the past half hour!) and some CleanAppBot notes from some Trashformers that arrived on the scene.

And then the reason for the huge jump in value hits you like a 2×4″ across the head.

I thought they were only cardboxes, but it turns out, there was a lot more to that CleanApp Report than meets the eye.

Apparently, when the first CleanAppConfirmations started coming in, analytics showed something off about the terrain where the boxes were piled.

Once Trashformers got on the scene and looked around, CleanAppAnalytics confirmed that underneath the cardboard was an even bigger older dumpsite, from way back when in 2018, and there was a LOT of recyclable metal and plastic in that big pile.

scrap metal trash litter scrapyard

And because I was the first person to spot that dumpsite, I started earning a plump 10% finders’ bounty on the value of all the recyclables that were recovered from that site, and that would be recovered from that site.

And the 10% finders’ fee was in addition to certain other finders’ rights that it turns you get, and that it turns out you can also sell on this CleanAppWallet or CleanAppExchange.  I don’t remember which exactly, but it was all there.

It’s like a waste lottery.  Every CleanAppReport is like a ticket that pays you just for buying it, and every now and then, your ticket will uncover a pile of treasure. You’re rewarded for that because the treasure wouldn’t have been found without your effort!

As I understand it, a “DumpsiteBounty” is like a “block reward” in crypto mining, but with a completely opposite environmental footprint.  Traditional crypto mining is really bad for the environment. By today’s standards, CleanApp waste/crypto/hazard mining is the best thing imaginable for the environment.

I got lucky with a DumpsiteBounty my first time. But whether or not your individual reports are “striking gold” every time, CleanApping is still a win-win-win proposition: (1) You earn some serious crypto with this CleanApp thing; (2) You make your immediate surroundings cleaner and safer; and, (3) big picture, our planet gets some serious junk out of its veins.

I had heard that some people were now doing CleanApping as a full-time job, just like at the dawn of SharingEcon there were people who were moving to Uber & AirBnB as full time jobs.

I just didn’t realize it was this easy. Or this profitable.

The Easier it is to CleanApp, the More People CleanApp

In just the time it took me to realize the enormous value that my modest 1-hour plog potentially unleashed, I looked down at my wallet, and you won’t believe it … the balance was now $162.77!

What more, there were also two competing offers to buy my “CleanApp remainder interest” in the bounty.  What a whirlwind — !

I know we were all taught that there’s a lot of cash in trash, and that “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.”  I just didn’t realize it was that easy to make a business model around the waste and hazards we walk past every day.

I headed off into the night wondering whether to go back to that dumpsite to see the autonomous Trashformers scavenging and picking and sorting and cleaning.

I must admit. Although I gag at just the smell of trash, I was very curious to see how the dumpsite would be picked apart, how long it would take to actually CleanApp, how many Trashformers it would take.  I wanted to know how deep the rabbit hole really goes.

danboard on top of toy train
“#AmazonVesta seems primed to serve as an ideal CleanAppBot.”

I imagined them loading the metal into little carts that would then be chained together like a little choo-choo from the amusement parks I used to visit as a child back in the mid-2000s when I was just a little kid.

When I got to the sidewalk, I was still thinking over the whole chain of transactions, marveling at the hard work necessary to pull all these data streams together and to make actual markets out of all this junk we thought was worthless.

But the trash wasn’t worthless after all, it just had a horrible name and an awful past.  When I looked past the superficial layers, I could see that the “litter,” “waste,” and “rubbage” were nothing more and nothing less than valuable material resources.

Staring at me from my watch were two actual offers from two actual CleanAppers trying to buy my remainder interest in the bounty for a dumpsite I had uncovered, with actual Bitcoin–precisely because rights related to valuable tangible material resources.

“What a world!?”

Lost in thought, I probably would have wandered a while.

But then I looked down on the ground and saw a cigarette butt.

“Oh, snap, here we go again.”


As we said so many different times before … Welcome to CleanApp!