On Friday, YouTuber Jimmy “MrBeast” Donaldson cut off a massive competition that saw more than 1 million players face off for a $US25,000 ($36,018) prize for whoever could keep their finger attached to their phone screen the longest. After more than 70 hours and with the last four contestants showing no signs of giving up, Donaldson ditched the contest’s initial single-winner model and announced that all four would walk away with $US20,000 ($28,814) each.
“Dear the four remaining contestants with your finger still on the app, I’m ending it here. Three days is insane! You ALL win and will ALL receive $US20,000 ($28,814). CONGRATULATIONS!” he tweeted, following it up with a call for players to “GO TO SLEEP” already.
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Designed in partnership with internet collective MSCHF, Donaldson’s Finger on the App game launched on June 30, a deceptively simple challenge — be the last one still touching the app and win cash — that attracted 1.3 million players. Though the prize pool maxed out at $US25,000 ($36,018), its actual amount was originally going to be determined by the losing players, with the final prize being the average of everyone’s votes.
Over the last few days, the competition proved so fierce that Donaldson began offering cash to several of the remaining players in exchange for them forfeiting. According to his tweets, two contestants agreed to bow out on Thursday for $US5,000 ($7,204) a piece, and another two did the same on Friday for $US10,000 ($14,407) each.
After calling an early end to the game, Donaldson tweeted that all four players had been contacted about receiving their cash prize. He added that his team had “confirmed the actual winners thru the backend” after several posts began cropping up on social media from people who claimed to have been among the finalists and said they hadn’t yet heard from Donaldson about their winnings.
Under the moniker MrBeast, Donaldson’s made a name for himself on YouTube over the last few years by pulling off similarly high-profile and often expensive stunts. On his channel, which boasts 37.8 million subscribers, he’s posted videos about gifting his mother $US100,000 ($144,070), filling a backyard with 100 million Orbeez, and buying and practically giving away every car at a dealership.
In an interview with the Verge prior to the competition, Donaldson said his team and MSCHF designed the app to be able to handle “millions of concurrent players” and also built in a few protections to keep automated bots from cheating the system, such as requiring that players periodically move their fingers in specific ways. The extra precautions appeared to have paid off, as Donaldson tweeted on Friday that he was “glad a robot didn’t win.”