'Finger on the app' is a bizarre collab with a great design and $25K prize

Rewarding your phone addiction with money — if you're lucky.

A new, app-based competition is promising to award the eventual winner $25,000 for simply keeping their finger on their iPhone screen. YouTubers MSCHF and MrBeast have come together to collaborate on the app-cum-contest, appropriately called "Finger on the App," and the rules are terribly simple.

You download the app — it's only available for iPhone, sorry Android fans — make sure to place your finger on the screen before the countdown timer runs out next week Tuesday, and stay put. Whoever manages to keep their finger on the screen for the longest time will win $25,000 as a cash prize.

Well, sort of. The exact amount of the cash won will be decided by the people the winner defeats. Losers will vote to decide whether the gets the full amount, a cent, or some other figure in between. It's the worst of democracy combined with an inane competition that's only open to those who can afford an iPhone. In other words, it's kind of the perfect game for our time.

Short and sweet — It's pretty obvious that "Finger on the App" is not one of those lengthy, strategy-based ordeals that take weeks — or months — of practice to get good at. It's a simple concept that's as much performance art as it is a comment on the U.S. obsession with personal enrichment. But there's more to it than that. Teasers for the app promise an attractive, fiercely contemporary design that still tips its hat to '80s style graphics, albeit with 21st-century gradient effects and bold color palettes of the sort we, here at Input, tend to adore.

MSCHF strategy head Daniel Greenberg told TechCrunch that the game had been in the works for the past five months. "This is a one-time game, everything MSCHF does is built to be short-lasting," he explained. "If this is done right, this could truly be a moment on the internet."

Is there a way to cheat? — Look, this isn't to put any ideas in anyone's head but there could be ways to game the game itself. Like Twitter user Bruno Wong points out, you could fashion yourself a little contraption that emulates the movement and weight of a finger on a screen.

MrBeast says there'll be an update that will roll out just before the app goes live that'll prevent people from cheating. That's prompted plenty of speculation, including that players will have to move their finger to a different spot on the screen at random intervals based on on-screen cues. We'll have to wait and see precisely what the mechanism used to weed out cheaters is, but until then, if you're the sort of person with the free time, digit dexterity, and inclination to participate, you can familiarize yourselves with the essentials of the game via its FAQ page.

Better luck next time — If you don't win this round, don't worry. MSCHF is known for creating humorous one-hit wonders. At last count, the total roster of one-hitters is more than 20. So if you can't go the distance this time, you'll likely get another chance soon enough, although, naturally, the rules will have changed for that one. Because all things, even games on the internet — or, perhaps, especially games on the internet — are temporary. Maybe that's the real lesson here.