Cover Photo by Camilo Jimenez on Unsplash

There are times when we daydream of getting paid for spending so much time on social media. That is why when the Lyka app made rounds online, everyone was eager to hop on the bandwagon.

Little by little, the world seems to be shifting into a Black Mirror-esque reality. Over the past few months, challenger app “Lyka” has been getting a lot of buzz online and in the real world. The news is that this gem-enabled social media platform could get you bucks and all you have to do is scroll through your phone.

The Lyka app has undeniably taken the quote “Do what you'll love, and you'll never work another day in your life” to another level. But how exactly does this platform work? What are these so-called gems? Is this app the future of digital currency? We’ve got all the answers.

What does Lyka do?  

Launched in Southeast Asia in March 2019, Lyka is a digital community owned by Hong Kong-based Things I Like Company Ltd. It was conceived by Ryan Baird in July 2018 in his hopes to “unlock the potential of human creativity by giving billions of entrepreneurs the opportunity to live off their passions”.

What are Lyka Gems for? 

According to its Crunchbase profile, the app lets users connect, discover, and share their interests in one platform. Every interaction (like, share, post) within the app could get you gems or “Gift Card in Electronic Mode.”

These gems double as electronic currency which can be used to buy food, clothing, appliances, vehicles, and services in partner shops. If you’re a little lucky, you may stumble upon merchants who do giveaways.

According to Philippine-based technology website Yugatech, one Lyka gem is equivalent to PHP1. If you set up an account, you are immediately given five gems. 

Joining Lyka is as easy as installing an app on Android and iOs. Like any other social media platform, you need to provide your user or profile name, mobile number, and e-mail address. 

Concerns on security?

So what’s the catch? Apparently, Lyka battles with privacy issues raised by several internet experts. In February 2021, non-government organisation Computer Professionals Union (CPU) warned against the potential dangers of using the app. 

In a Facebook post, the group said that users of the app may end up being the unwitting subjects for a large-scale market research.

“Getting monetary rewards just from participating in a social media platform may seem like a dream come true for many people, but you may just end up as unwitting subjects for a large-scale market research,” the group said. 

The CPU also stressed that Lyka did not set its grounds on data transparency. “Users will not have visibility over how data will be handled, enabling Lyka and its partners to do whatever they please with the data they amassed. One example of companies selling personal data for profit is Facebook’s numerous data-sharing deals done in order to gain an advantage and profit share.

In a statement, Lyka assured that it values its users’ privacy and keeps their information safe. "The previous glitch affecting IOS 14 has already been fixed and resolved on the last update four months ago. Our users' privacy is our utmost priority. User's data and information are kept strictly confidential. LYKA will never put our users' security at risk. Any bugs or glitches are continuously being monitored and addressed. We have hired more developers from Europe and India with the sole purpose of upgrading the security of our platform as well as to improve the speed and reliability of our app".

Also read: Opinion: How Online Privacy Becomes A Commodity (And A Few Tips To Protect Your Identity)

The future of digital currency 

In the modern age, electronic cash is used more often than you imagine. In a twitch of a finger, you can get things as small as paper clips and items as big as cars. Gone are the days when we have to stack and count cash in our wallets or wait in long cashier queues.

With promising apps like Lyka, we get a clue of what is really waiting for us in the future: uninterrupted digital transaction.

Nothing is entirely safe on social media and the digital world. At the end of the day, it is our role to filter what we share, like, and install online.

Also read: Megaworld Leverages On Digital Technologies And Innovation, Keeping Retail Partners' Businesses Afloat