On February 19, 2023, lifestyle app Stepn unveiled its rarest NFT, the Genesis Sneaker. Stepn is the evolution of two concepts that have been gaining momentum for several years: Augmented Reality (AR) games and play-to-earn games.
AR games usually feature a virtual world superimposed on the real one. The concept was popularized in 2015 with Pokemon Go, which scattered virtual Pokemon across a real-world map and allowed users to track and collect them using GPS.
Stepn takes this element — scoring points based on GPS-based progress — and adds a new play-to-earn model pioneered by crypto games like Axie Infinity, which reward players with crypto tokens. The result: a game that tracks users' IRL performance and awards them points in the form of cryptocurrency.
In this way, "play to earn" turns into "move to earn" tracked by GPS: think of it as Fitbit meets Pokemon Go meets Axie Infinity.
What is Stepn?
Solana's Ethereum-Built Competitor Created by app developer FindSatoshi Lab, Stepn is a smartphone app that allows users to earn money by walking, jogging, or running for a narrowly defined period that updates every 24 hours.
Rewards come in Stepn's native cryptocurrency, Green Satoshi Token or GST, and are credited to a wallet created in-game or imported from outside. Players must start by purchasing NFT sneakers to play the game and can then increase the amount of GST earned per session by upgrading their sneakers. The sneakers, which are non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and are traded on secondary markets, already command high prices ranging from $400 to $100,000.
How does Stepn work?
Two features are crucial to understanding how Stepn works. First, it is a sneaker that greatly affects how much money a player can earn, and explains why some of these NFTs are worth such astronomical amounts.
Like a standard RPG where you can upgrade your armor to resist certain attacks, in Stepn you upgrade your sneakers to maximize one or more of five different characteristics: durability, which slows wear and tear (and reduces recoil); Luck, which increases the probability of random prizes during the session; Comfort, which increases the consumption of another kind of marker called GMT, which is about management; and Efficiency, which increases the amount of GST for "energy" consumed.
This brings us to another key function: energy. On Stepney, Energy is a unit of time allocated to a player for a session of transition to earning; one unit means five minutes. Each player starts with just two energy units, which are replenished every 24 hours, meaning newbies are only given ten minutes a day in which to earn GST (the app also makes sure you're moving at the right speed relative to your running shoes ).
To get more energy, you need to buy more sneakers, which is expensive, and players have to balance the cost of buying new energy slots with the potential benefits of longer earning sessions. (They also have to factor in the volatility—the GST price has ranged from 52 cents to $2.30 in its short life.) But a winning combination is possible: There have been reports of players earning $400 a day; most start around $5.
Who works with Step?
💱 Alchemy Pay is a crypto-fiat payment developer that recently added functionality for GMT.
👟 ASICS – a major sports brand recently added its collection of NFT sneakers to the Stepn catalog.
What is a Stepna token?
To master Stepn, three tokens are required: SOL, the native token of the Solana network, which is used to purchase new sneakers (this can also be done with Binance Coin but NFT sneakers on Solana); GST, a token earned by walking, jogging or running, used to purchase new upgrades; and GMT, Stepn's governance token, which gives holders the right to vote on the future of the platform.
GST has an unlimited supply, while GMT's supply is limited to 6 billion and is only available to users who have upgraded their sneakers above level 30.
Where to buy Stepna tokens
Both Stepn tokens, GMT and GST, are available on cryptocurrency exchanges like BinanceOKX, Bybit, CoinTiger, and FTX.
The future of Stepn
Although Stepn initially achieved huge success, it faced problems in China after the 2022 crypto market.
The industry-wide downturn, as well as China's data laws that prohibit citizens from storing GPS data, have worried the country's regulators, forcing Stepn to block Chinese users. Depending on data protection laws and attitudes towards cryptocurrencies, other countries may follow suit.
The platform was also hit by a series of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. for several months after its launch, prompting Stepn to warn users that "workouts may not be recorded properly" during maintenance periods.
If Stepn can overcome these initial hurdles, “move to earn” could very well become a booming sector of the crypto space. And if his economic stimulus gets a few people off their couches and into a pair of sneakers, that's surely no bad thing.