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Swarm is now giving people virtual coins they can’t spend

Gotta buy something eventually...

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Foursquare's check-in app Swarm has brought back the leaderboard — but it's making a key change to it. Swarm now rewards its users with virtual coins for being active, and those coins are what rank you on the leader board against your friends. "For now, [coins] just help you beat your friends and conquer your leaderboard, but stay tuned for more fun to come," Foursquare writes in a blog post.

Presumably, Swarm didn't decide arbitrarily on "coins." We're guessing that eventually they'll be used to buy things, virtual or otherwise — you can easily imagine coins being used to cash in on discounts at locations you've been frequenting. At the very least, coins bring back even more of the gamification elements that old Foursquare users are used to. And don't worry: Foursquare tells us coins aren't going to turn into something you buy with real money; this isn't meant to be the start of in-app purchases. The update is launching today for iOS and Android, with a Windows Phone update coming "soon."