From growing move-to-earn gaming to carbon offsetting on the blockchain, STEPN is working on a lot of different goals. In fact, as the first move-to-earn, mobile NFT game on Solana, STEPN, and its CEO Yawn Rong, is looking to shift the growing space at the intersection of gaming and DeFi, known as GameFi.
“My business partner and I were talking about how awesome Axie Infinity is for what they did. But then we realized there’s still room to improve, and we can take it into an alternative form, or a new genre of play-to-earn. Which is basically when we proposed move-to-earn.”
STEPN Capped 2021 With A Successful Beta Launch
As has been noted, STEPN is a move-to-earn app on the Solana blockchain. That is to say, players earn simply through running, walking, or jogging.
Given the needs of move-to-earn, STEPN is an app that players download to their smartphones. Notably, this is different from most blockchain games which are desktop-based. And to be sure, there are lots of challenges that come with making a mobile-first blockchain game.
Despite that, STEPN committed to building all the elements they need for the app to be as accessible as possible. That means building an in-app token swap, an on/off ramp for fiat currency, a marketplace, and even their own Solana wallet. All in all, this is for the benefit of the everyday users that Rong and the STEPN want to attract.
“It’ll be an enclosed ecosystem and have all the apps you need vertically so that you don’t need to use any third-party apps. Everything will be done in-app, which is the foundation for us. Once we have that we can go out and get non-crypto players because they will have everything in the app.”
To that end, STEPN put out their beta version of the app in the last couple weeks of 2021. So far it’s been a big hit with players. Though that doesn’t mean that the STEPN team took a break to celebrate. Quite the opposite.
“We started fixing bugs immediately after releasing the beta. And yeah, we actually did three updates so far.”
STEPN Move-To-Earn Model Features Two Tokens
One of the most interesting parts of STEPN’s earning model is its dual token system. To explain, they have the main in-game token, the GST, and the governance token, or GMT.
While players can earn both, the GMT has a limited supply, higher value, and is harder to earn. In contrast, GST is what players will “burn” frequently to do many different things in the game.
“If you play free-to-play mobile games, you understand there’s a gold and diamonds system right? So, in the game gold is not worth a lot, and diamonds are very scarce and you have to work really hard to get them, or you can buy diamonds with fiat currencies.
So, their use will be almost the same. The GST will be something you earn and burn along the way. And the GMT will be scarce, and you only get a little bit by completing high-end or competitive activities in the game.”
STEPN’s Game Aspects Come Mostly Through NFT Sneakers
One important thing that players will need to earn GST tokens is one of STEPN’s NFT sneakers. To clarify, the different sneaker NFTs have different stats that will affect how player movement earns tokens.
Due to their goal of making the move-to-earn gameplay simple and accessible, STEPN had to strip back many of its more gamified aspects.
“We have to get a really good balance between the gamification, the tokenomics, and then a normal running app. So sometimes, we had to sacrifice a lot of gamification elements, because that can become very difficult to understand or rather convoluted to use.”
As a result, STEPN added a system of levels and upgrades to their NFT sneakers. They even took a cue from one of Rong’s favorite games, World of Warcraft. In short, they included in-app items called gems which players can use to alter the attributes of their NFT sneakers.
Another key point about the NFT sneakers is how players get them. Firstly, all of STEPN’s sneaker mints are free at present. Indeed, STEPN gives them out in various ways, to community members who are active in their Discord. Of course, players can also purchase the NFTs on the secondary market on Magic Eden.
What’s more, players just starting out have the option to “rent” sneakers from other STEPN users for free. In this case, they split the revenue they earn with the owners of the NFT.
Rong Says Carbon Offsetting Is Most Important Goal
In light of all the aspects STEPN has carefully added to the app, one might think that the move-to-earn features of the game are its number one priority. Yet, when asked about the part of STEPN that he cares about the most, Rong said it was actually STEPN using portions of game profits to buy carbon offset credits on the blockchain.
“One of the things that inspired us to do the game was the Australian bushfire. That killed about a billion animals and emitted a lot of carbon. So if we were to retain one thing from the STEPN app, it would be carbon offsetting on the blockchain. And to provide a way for people to contribute to curbing global warming.”
Not to mention that it’s the players who get to decide how much of the profits go to the carbon offset credits. STEPN will do this by having GMT governance token holders vote on how game profits are distributed.
In summary, STEPN hopes that its app will open up the field of play-to-earn gaming to more people both in and outside of the crypto space. So far, they seem to be doing everything right to meet that goal.