Apps are important. Sleeping, eating, using the bathroom, and updating your status are all improved with an app. That’s why we here at Millennial Problems are launching a sometime-series dedicated to these vital ingredients of our constant quests for instant gratification.
First up is something from the UK, which already makes it suspect.
The App: Burn Money
Cost: Free to download, in-app purchases
Availability: Android and iOS
Here’s how Burn Money works, per the app: “Burn a dollar bill / Feel the adrenaline rush / share the official certificate.”
By share the certificate, they mean post a photo or video with an inset video showing a bill burning up in about 30 seconds. Oh, and you have to pay to the app the real dollar amount that you’re “virtually” burning — a fact , according to the app’s creators, that’s lost on many young millennials in the U.S. whose parents are finding out they’ve literally paid to let their kids burn money.
You know that idiom about money burning a hole in your pocket? Somehow this became an actual fad among people with too much time — and money — on their hands thanks to one of the most useless things ever created by humankind. We're dating ourselves, but even the vacuum hair shears — the Suck-Cut — from Wayne’s World sucked less than this app.
That irony, though: Last year, folks in the gambling industry decided to invest some $3 million in the UK company behind the app, which has achieved somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 downloads on Android devices alone.
It’s also available for Apple products, which is something of an achievement considering how easy it is to get rejected. Burn Money apparently made it past the “Misleading Users” and “Not Enough Lasting Value” criteria of the App Store.
If the rarely used hashtag #burnmoney or the app's moribund Twitter account are any indication, Burn Money is not very popular. And the people using it are weird, sad, confusing, or all of the above.
It did, however, once gain the attention of a guy who writes a behavioral economics column for the Wall Street Journal. He said people might be using the app to “signal” that money is no object for them because they have so much and can burn it at will. We’d like to think it’s more that people are desperate for attention and social media provides an outlet.
Ratings in the Google Play store mostly pan the app, with an average of 2.4 out of 4 stars among 1,600-plus reviews. Highlights include:
“Hell no im not gone pay” (1 star)
“If I would burn my real life money why wouldn't I do in my backyard??? And not on a screen!” (1 star)
“Go kill yourself in a dark hole by yourself” (1 star)
Others actually found value in burning money, although it’s unclear whether these reviews were paid for with real money, fake money, money ash, or are in fact genuine:
“Great stress relief game!! Good job!!” (5 stars)
“Great! I loved it! I burned $253 in a few minutes! Either I'm really stupid or I have freedom apk installed. You decide. ;)” (5 stars)
“No worse than all your freemium money grabbing games.” (5 stars)
Our verdict: Avoid it, and use your money to pay off your student loan debt.