Six years after Pokémon Go popularized augmented reality by using smartphone GPS, we are on the brink of a new trend. Move-to-Earn (M2E) games combine that mobile augmented concept with the classic play-to-earn model. However, there is another layer added that makes it unique—cryptocurrencies and NFTs.
Popular blockchain game Axie Infinity popularized the concept of passive income while playing tactical battles. This was a big step ahead of Fortnite or Roblox, as Axie’s NFTs and tokens are not isolated assets. Instead, they are tradeable on cryptocurrency exchanges and NFT marketplaces.
What Is Move-to-Earn?
Psychologists have long figured out that gamification of activity is a great way to provide incentives and motivate people to complete tasks. One only has to look at the fitness app Fitbit, which has amassed over 31 million users since launching in 2009. And that’s just accounting for people who use it once per week.
This is as solid proof-of-concept as one would need. Fast-forward to Axie Infinity as another proof-of-concept.
Classic online games may have their own internal economies, such as Fortnite with V-Bucks or Roblox with Robux, but these are not real tokens. They are tied to one’s account, so all the virtual assets are locked-in and isolated.
Axie Infinity proved what happens when in-game virtual assets can be tokenized, so they are tradeable. Blockchain technology makes this possible, combined with smart contracts.
When players are able to trade in-game assets on an open marketplace, from NFTs as Axies and land plots to the in-game AXS token, it became possible to make a living out of playing. Previously, this was reserved for rare individuals who were good enough to get into eSports competitions or accrue enough following on video streaming platforms.
With Axie Infinity laying the groundwork for a viable play-to-earn model, many metaverse (P2E) tokens have been launched since. Some have yet to release their much-anticipated games, such as Yuga Labs’ (of Bored Ape Yacht Club fame) Otherside or Illuvium. However, both projects already have their respective tokens, ApeCoin (APE) and Illuvium (ILV) in circulation. Building on this momentum, move-to-earn (M2E) is a natural fit, as a merger between gamified fitness apps and tokenized blockchain gaming.
Some have already started calling the new brand of M2E games as FitnessFi, in which the “Fi” stands for finance. After all, tokens make it possible for the game’s internal economy to spread outwards. Likewise, GameFi represents blockchain games, while DeFi is the umbrella term for decentralized finance, built upon smart contracts.
What Does M2E Look Like? 3 M2E Examples
Just like P2E games reward users for playing them, M2E games reward users for engaging in physical activity. This is accomplished by harnessing a smartphone’s GPS, accelerometer, magnetometer, proximity sensor, and gyroscope.
Altogether, they make a solid foundation for smart fitness tracking devices. The software, in the form of M2E games, then taps into that hardware for a complete move-to-earn package. This first such project is Genopets, hosted on the Solana blockchain, which is a competing smart contract platform to Ethereum.
Last October, Genopets raised $8.3 million in a seed funding round, mainly from venture capital (VC) firms. Genopets CEO, Albert Chen, made it very clear as to what benefits can users expect:
“Passive income to individuals as an incentive to stay physically active”
The Genopets M2E journey starts with acquiring playable NFTs, playable Genopets just as Axie Infinity has its Axies as NFTs. However, unlike Axie, which requires the user to purchase three NFTs to start playing, Genopets offers free NFT minting.
There are 3333 Genesis Genopets available with the current floor price at 47.5 SOL (~$2500) (Solana’s native cryptocurrency). By the same native token, Genopets has GENE for its cryptocurrency, just like Axie has AXS.
But wait, where does the fitness “move” aspect come into play?
Genopet serves as your digital fitness avatar. As your daily activity grows, so does the virtual creature. This manifests in its appearance and attributes. Then, you can lead your evolving Genopet through Genoverse adventures. In a sense, Genopets cross the bridge between the user’s physical attributes and the virtual landscape.
Another step in the M2E direction is STEPN. This project is also hosted on Solana, but it uses NFT sneakers instead of fantastical creatures to track player movement. For instance, the sneaker set in the tweet below sold for 2,100 SOL (~$11,000), with proceeds going to charity.
Unlike Genopets one native token, STEPN has two:
- Green Satoshi Token (GST): The in-game utility token for minting NFTs and other expenditures.
- Green Metaverse Token (GMT): A governance token that gives players voting power in the project’s development.
Although STEPN is still in beta, its Twitter footprint is impressive at over half a million followers. In the late stage of the STEPN development, it will release a multi-chain wallet. This means that earned tokens, or cryptocurrencies (SOL, ETH) earned through NFT sales, could be directly deposited or withdrawn. Such a thing wouldn’t be possible with traditional in-game tokens locked to an account, thus rendered valueless.
Lastly, there is WIRTUAL with the motto “transform your healthy habits into cryptocurrency.” The WIRTUAL app can tap into not only smartphones but smartwatches as well, such as Fitbit, Garmin, or Strava. The gamification aspect revolves around an NFT character which can be customized when physical activity unlocks rewards.
Interestingly, WIRTUAL covers the whole gamut of physical exercise, from walking and cycling to swimming and dancing. With rewards unlocked, M2E players get a unique NFT, which can be put on sale. Additionally, WIRTUAL has WIRTUAL tokens that players earn based on their activity level.
Is It Worth Getting Into M2E Games?
If you’re already into jogging or other sports, you might as well try out these upcoming M2E games. After all, there is no extra effort involved outside of installing the apps and then occasionally tracking progress. As such, it has a potential for passive income vs. zero potential.
If you struggle to get motivated on a regular basis, M2E games might just be the right ticket.
What Happens When an NFT Game Shuts Down?