MAY 23, 2022 BY HENNESSY AJANG
A Solana-based Move-To-Earn app dubbed STEPN has gained significant traction since its inception back in December 2021. The app which allows users to walk and run to earn coins has seen its native token GMT’s market cap reach nearly $860 million, as of May 22.
According to the co-founder Jerry Huang, the app currently attracts around two to three million users worldwide every month.
Initially, the project was self-funded before the founders decided to meet 100 investors and secured a $5 million seed round from Sequoia Capital and others in November.
“We didn’t have a product at the time, and many investors couldn’t understand what we were doing. Sequoia did. The process of addressing investor questions also helped us refine the product to where it was later,” said Huang.
According to a TechCrunch report, it’s raking $3-5 million in net profit from trading fees per day, and earning up to $100 million every month. In April, it closed another round of strategic investment from Binance.
How does it aim to compete with other GameFi apps?
Some gaming veterans feel that the gameplay of most existing GameFi apps is “easy and mindless.” Axie Infinity, for instance, features cute blob-like creatures that fight in simple battles. As the GameFi sector expands, new players pledge to bring quality back to the industry.
Huang disagrees. “A lot of the triple-A games overemphasize aesthetics and big budgets, but they aren’t really that innovative when it comes to gameplay, whereas some simple-looking games like Plants vs. Zombies come with brilliant gameplay that makes them last.”
Huang also argued STEPN’s fitness component makes it fundamentally different from Axie Infinity.
Is the app sustainable in the long term?
Critics question the financial sustainability of play-to-earn and have even drawn comparisons of play-to-earn apps to pyramid schemes.
STEPN said it is working on a two-fold solution to sustainability-one is a price stabilization mechanism and the other is price manipulation.
“I think people are paying too much attention to the [sustainability] issue,” the founder continued. “ROI might slow over time, but all games have life cycles. You also need to look at what value an app creates.”