The STEPN Web3 fitness app has exhibited massive growth in a short period of time, including continued growth during crypto's 2022 bear market. Today, let's take a look at the Solana-based STEPN project and the GMT/GST tokenomics that drive it.
What is STEPN?
The STEPN fitness and lifestyle app uses a dual-token system to enable users to purchase NFT sneakers and then earn tokens for walking and running when using the app. Based in Australia and launched on the Solana and BSC blockchains, the Move-to-Earn app has grown quickly in popularity since its public beta launch in December 2021.
GMT is STEPN’s governance token while GST is a utility token (see the tokenomics section for further details). Earnings on the app can be used to upgrade or repair a sneaker, buy more, or mint new sneakers. The more sneakers you own and the higher the rarity, the more you can earn.
- NFT Sneakers are tradeable through STEPN’s in-app marketplace, where users can also lease their NFTs.
- An in-app wallet with a swap function is available for token storage and user transactions.
- STEPN’s revenue model consists of a 6% fee across marketplace transactions.
The STEPN vision includes a commitment to reducing carbon emissions by gearing a portion of profits to buying carbon removal credits that incentivize sustainable farming.
Private beta launch: November 3, 2021
Public beta launch: December 12, 2021
- Co-founder Jerry Hwang has a BS in Computer Science and was the founder of Falafel Games from 2010-2015. Other than Falafel and STEPN, there are no other work experiences listed on LinkedIn. His Twitter profile says he’s been in game development since 2008.
- Yawn Rong is the other Co-founder and has a Masters in Marketing and Public Relations. His experience includes Business Ambassador for Algorand for 3+ years and Blockchain Australia.
- One of STEPN’s strategic advisors is Scott Dunlap, who is also VP Mobile at Adidas and CEO of Runtastic.
- STEPN won 4th place at Solana’s Ignition Hackathon (Game Track) in October 2021.
- GMT and GST prices plummeted after STEPN blocked Chinese users.
- Can STEPN avoid the pitfalls of Axie Infinity?
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Does it have staying power?
After the last few months of crypto crashing and the spreading of DeFi contagion, STEPN still appears to be growing moderately. It appears the team is aware that once player growth levels off, problems with decreased earnings and a subsequent death spiral could affect its long-term viability, as has happened with other Play-to-Earn games. STEPN’s tokenomics (see below) vary a bit from Axie Infinity and others in an apparent effort to create a stronger long-term outlook.
Is play to earn gaming a Ponzi scheme?— Peter Yang (@petergyang) June 29, 2022
Let's dive into:
1. What is play to earn
2. The rise and fall of Axie Infinity
3. Is STEPN's move to earn sustainable?
4. Is play to earn a Ponzi or here to stay?
Here are my thoughts as a lifelong gamer: pic.twitter.com/YfFBpfO6Bk
In 2021, there were approximately 350,000 Web2 health and fitness apps. Web3 fitness apps, on the other hand, are a new phenomenon and STEPN is well positioned time-wise and already has a lot of traction. In under a year, STEPN has carved out a brand, quickly grown an avid community, and retained multiple big backers.
STEPN has several positions listed here.
The numbers for new active users may have leveled off after months of rapid growth, possibly due to the dawn of crypto winter. But existing players are using the STEPN app more (warmer weather may also be a factor).
- On the STEPN homepage, they feature a unique live ticker displaying miles run/walked, calories burned, and carbon offset. All numbers appear to be moving up rapidly.
- By May 1st, 2022, STEPN had 703k monthly active users, according to Dune Analytics. But in June, during the height of crypto’s 2022 crash, active users fell to 466k.
- Downloads on Google Play total over 1 million.
STEPN’s initial launch strategy had ambassadors giving away sneakers to early, engaged community members to start earning, with weekly calls on Discord and Twitter to grow hype. At the time of writing, STEPN has 838k followers in Discord and 628k on Twitter.
The STEPN website features Sequoia Capital, Binance and Folius Ventures as its major backers, with additional backers listed below, including Solana, Alameda Research, DeFi Alliance, and MorningstarVentures.
Ever been hacked?
- STEPN encountered multiple DDoS attacks on June 5, 2022, and the team completed recovery later that day.
- The privacy page states: "Where you consent to our collection of your sensitive information, you also consent to us using that sensitive information for the purpose/s for which it was collected, including its disclosure to third parties."
1/2— STEPN | Public Beta Phase IV (@STEPNofficial) June 5, 2022
We have been under multiple DDOS attacks in the past hours. Securing the servers and recovery may take anywhere from 1 to 12 hours. We recommend you take some rest during the maintenance or otherwise the work-outs may not be recorded properly.
$GMT Tokenomics (and $GST)
STEPN has a dual token system with some very dynamic tokenomics going on, which are designed with longevity in mind. Let’s start with the GST utility token:
GST (Green Satoshi Token) is STEPN’s Solana-based utility token. As an in-game token, GST is used for crypto rewards to incentivize STEPN players to move when in GameFi mode.
GST is somewhat similar to Axie Infinity’s SLP token, but GST has a few other utilities, including the ability to repair and upgrade sneakers to continue earning, to level up sneakers, or upgrade sneaker gems. The hope is that with GSTs extra utility, demand for GST will remain high, although this may not be enough to prevent problems if growth levels off.
GST is integrated into STEPN game events via:
- Shoe minting
- Sneaker repair
- Leveling up
- Unlocking sockets
- Upgrading gems.
STEPN users earn GST according to their speed and distance:
Walker (1 - 6 km/hr): 4 GST / Per 1 Energy
Jogger (4 - 10 km/hr) 5 GST / Per 1 Energy
Runner (8 - 20 km/hr) 6 GST / Per 1 Energy
Trainer (1 - 20 km/hr) 4 - 6.25 GST / Per 1 Energy
Even though GST has an unlimited supply, inflation is managed by burning GST tokens used in all of the above game events.
GMT (Green Metaverse Token) is the governance token for the STEPN ecosystem and can also be earned by players who have achieved higher levels. Having GMT tokens gives users access to premium game content and/or gated activities.
- STEPN players who hold GMT tokens receive the following benefits:
- GMT holders at Level 30 can then swap GMT with USDC.
- Holding the token permanently improves chances of getting extra sneakers during shoe minting.
- After level 4, GMT holders enjoy permanently improved gem upgrades.
- Permanently improves chances of winning higher quality NFT sneakers from a shoebox opening.
- Increases chances of minting rare, legendary, and epic sneakers.
- GMT can also be used for sneaker customization fees.
STEPN is able to limit its new players by using an invitation-based sign-up system, which gives some control over how fast it grows. Game designers can slow down sneaker production by increasing the cost of minting or slow down new user growth by tightening the invite system. They can also reduce token supply by giving users ways to reinvest their tokens in-game, such as with a shoe upgrade.
Some of the key GMT token metrics include:
- Level requirement - GMT earning is only available to Sneakers that reach Level 30.
- Rule of 3 - Players must have 3 or more Energy in order to start earning GMT.
- Halvings - Halvings follow an exponential decay pattern so that on the 1st day of the 3rd year, GMT is halved.
- Einstein mechanics - Randomness is added to users’ GMT earnings, making the earnings unpredictable.
- Bitcoin mechanic - GMT earned per person is similar to the difficulty bomb in Bitcoin and Ethereum design, only it settles instantly. The more users earning GMT at a given time, the less GMT earning will be available per person and vice versa.
6,000,000,000 GMT (released on BSC launchpad)
- 16.3% Private Sale
- 7% Binance Launchpad
- 14.2% Team
- 2.5% Advisors
- 30% Ecosystem/Treasury
- 30% Move and Earn
- $5 million: Seed round: 10 investors totalling $5 million. Lead investors were Sequoia Capital and Folius Ventures
- $9.2 million: Token sale on Binance Launchpad from March 2nd to March 9th, 2022. 7% of total GMT (6 billion) were available for the public sale
Team tokens are locked for one year and then gradually released through 2027.
GMT is a governance token that is also used for accessing premium game content. GMT is required (along with GST) for leveling up sneakers, minting shoes, and upgrading gems. Users must reach higher game levels in order to earn GMT. Users that want to customize their sneakers must use GMT to do so.
According to the STEPN website, they’ve built a decentralized exchange called Dooar and will charge a 1% trading fee. 10% of these fees will go toward future development and the rest goes into the ecosystem, including liquidity pools. They also have built a decentralized in-game wallet, supporting both SOL and BNB assets.
Multiple burn mechanisms are in place for both GMT and GST, including a system to help with price stabilization during rapid growth in order to make sure the barrier to entry isn’t too high. Token burns take place during sneaker repairs, socket unlocking, leveling up sneakers, minting shoes, and upgrading gems. Additional burn mechanisms are detailed here.
Code Audit? Yes.
Bug bounty? No.
Next up for STEPN (GMT)
Q2 2022: Multi-chain Marketplace Upgrade
Q3 2022: Achievement System, Quest System, Rental System
Q4 2022: Online Marathon, Social-Fi Element, Community Event
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Disclaimer: The content of this article is for general market education and commentary and is not intended to serve as financial, investment, or any other type of advice.