What Is STEPN? Move-to-Earn as Healthier Alternative to Play-to-Earn

You may have heard of play-to-earn games, but what is move-to-earn?

In simple terms, it is gamified fitness. This is nothing new, as psychologists have known for decades that reward, achievement, and competition fuel motivation. One only has to look at explosive Esports growth to see that.

But, what if instead of earning to play games, we could earn for our movement instead? That’s where STEPN comes in.

STEPN: Forging Move-to-Earn (M2E)

What is new is binding smart contracts to those rewards. By tokenizing them, fitness achievements cease to be just badges of accomplishment on a smartphone app. Instead, they become a tangible resource—a virtual currency—making it possible to earn money through exercise.

From a revenue perspective, it is easy to see why one would want to monetize physical activity. According to Statista, the global fitness market size reached over $96 billion in 2019. Although the last two years saw a downturn because of lockdowns, people are more aware than ever that exercise benefits both physical and mental health.

This is where STEPN stepped in. Funded by a dozen venture capital firms led by Sequoia Capital and Folius Ventures, the company raised $5 million in seed money after becoming one of the top five projects in the Solana Ignition Hackathon 2021.

How STEPN Works

STEPN’s proof of concept from that coding competition was proof of workout. Hosted on the fast Solana blockchain, the STEPN app uses NFTs to feed data gained from users’ smartphone sensors: accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, and GPS.

Based on this hardware, STEPN software measures a wide range of physical activities. However, it is mainly focused on three types, as the name suggests: walking, jogging, and running. The monetization/gamification comes into play with NFT sneakers, which record all the activity.

These non-fungible tokens are available on Solana’s Magic Eden NFT marketplace. Presently, the STEPN floor price is 4.5 SOL, which means (at the time of writing) that one has to pay $143 even to get started.

If you think this is steep for a fitness app, it is a common practice in the world of blockchain gaming. For example, to start playing Axie Infinity, the most popular NFT-based game, one has to spend about $200 to buy three Axies, notwithstanding the risk of what happens when an NFT game shuts down.

Yet, there is no shortage of players because of the longer-term earning potential. With STEPN, each NFT sneaker has attributes that determine its sell value. Moreover, these attributes can level up with physical activity, just like an RPG character.

While the Efficiency attribute contributes to higher GST earning, the Comfort attribute contributes to higher GMT earnings—but more on those two tokens in the next section.

Although the initial STEPN investment is steep, the company is working to implement a renting system, according to STEPN’s whitepaper. When it is launched, 30% of the proceeds go to renters and 70% to sneaker NFT lenders. Although not yet implemented, renting is a good move to expand the user base to people unfamiliar with the blockchain ecosystem.

Additional STEPN Tokens to Consider Before Stepping In

STEPN doesn’t just rely on NFT sneakers you can level up and sell on the Solana marketplace. Extra income from exercise can also come from two tokens:

  • STEPN (GMT): Capped at six billion supply as the main governance token. GMT token holders can use it to vote on how STEPN funds are used. Additionally, those STEPN holding sneakers at level 30 and above get paid in GMT tokens.
  • Green Satoshi Token (GST): Unlimited supply that is minted daily as a utility token. Likewise, it is paid to users daily based on achieved exercise results.

For the long-term investment, it could be better to hold GMT tokens, given their limited supply. This is apparent from the level 30 requirement. Likewise, this is reflected in their prices year-to-date, with GMT substantially outperforming GST. However, please conduct your own research before investing in any cryptocurrency, and never invest more than you can afford to lose.

Thus far, both tokens have been listed on major cryptocurrency exchanges, such as Binance, Coinbase, FTX, and Kraken, so it is easy to convert them to USD.

Additionally, it bears keeping in mind that STEPN app is also a custodial wallet, just like a Coinbase account is also a custodial wallet. However, if you prefer to hold your M2E funds in a non-custodial wallet, you can transfer them to Solana’s Phantom wallet. From there, it is easy to transfer them to the aforementioned exchanges for crypto-USD conversion.

Making Money With the STEPN App

After downloading the app from (both iOS and Android are supported), the first step is to get the NFT sneaker from the marketplace. Every exercise—walking, jogging, running—is measured by expanded Energy. In turn, a typical sneaker will generate five GST tokens for one Energy spent.

As utility tokens, GST is used to repair the sneaker (its durability just like in an RPG game), which is essential to keep leveling it up. Additionally, one can sacrifice two sneakers to mint a new one. In either case, it is better to reinvest in one sneaker until it reaches level 30.

Only sneakers at that level, with three minimum Energy, can generate GMT governance tokens instead of less valuable GST utility tokens used for repairs.

Altogether, by combining all these assets and mechanics, STEPN achieves a balance between long-term and short-term earnings.

STEPN: Move-to-Earn Makes Exercise Profitable

If exercise is a regular part of your life, it doesn’t take much to recommend STEPN. Although daily earnings depend on tokens’ price at any given day and jogging length, one could reliably earn $4–$20 per day.

Furthermore, STEPN has a substantial social media footprint, with over 600k Twitter followers alone. This indicates high interest, while millions of users create high NFT market liquidity, making it much easier to sell leveled-up sneakers.

Lastly, the upcoming renting upgrade should significantly expand the user base, leading to the appreciation of all tokens.

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