Decoding the success of STEPN

Like the success of most other projects, STEPN’s hit was based on many factors.

STEPN exploits the intersection of two communities that seem to have nothing in common, the GameFi group and self-care enthusiasts; it is rapidly developed by a team that seizes the moment; it uses an investment model that is so simple… ludicrous, it pays to walk; and STEPN are also backed by “big hands” who know how to see profitable investment opportunities, such as the Binance exchange and the venture capital fund SEQUOIA Capital.

The Move-to-Earn model – move to make money in general, and STEPN in particular is still in its infancy. This means that the potential of both the model and the application will increase significantly in the future.

However, both GameFi and Move-to-Earn (M2E) models have their own life cycles, no one knows how long or short. When the fever cools down, players get bored with the old model with them, and then a series of imitation applications emerge, will STEPN still stand? This is a difficult question for investors, and needs to be judged by experts.

The following article is a translation of such reviews, from the editorial team of crypto magazines Wu Blockchain.

Why STEPN Leaves Footprints Around the World

The M2E model no longer fits within the GameFi concept, which combines financing with play. Move-to-Earn, which combines outdoor physical activity and social elements, has attracted a large number of players unfamiliar with the virtual space of cryptocurrencies.

There are two main factors that make STEPN accelerate quickly.

Explain why STEPN is successful.  But can the Move-to-Earn model hold up in the future?  - Photo 1.

First, it was the first major application to “financialize” physical activity in a simple way; Players just need to invest in virtual shoes, and immediately start making profits with their bare feet. Secondly, the price of shoes is very hot, going hand in hand with the global trend in a short time.

A new type of “play for profit” exists that always attracts the attention of investors. In terms of game context and token mining/exchange/use model, STEPN is not too different from Axie Infinity’s successful P2E model (at least, up to this point).

STEPN one step closer to reality through outdoor physical activity, making the “gameplay” of the M2E model more realistic, beyond the framework Web3and created a fever right in the early days of launch with unique gameplay.

The low price of the GMT coin is a clear demonstration of the attraction of STEPN as well as the M2E model. As a governance token, GMT copper price with a starting point of 0.01 USD has climbed to 3 USD and cooled down to more than 2 USD (at the time of writing), and is expected will increase even more. The very nature of GMT, coupled with the financial backing from Binance, drove GMT prices up rapidly.

Explain why STEPN is successful.  But can the Move-to-Earn model hold up in the future?  - Photo 2.

At the moment, few investors will release GMT when the token value, both on the exchange and in the game, is growing. Players who want to upgrade their shoes to earn more will have to buy GMT, and the slow upgrade process makes GMT hold its price in the long run. As calculated by a Chinese player, it takes about 465 hours of walking (nearly 20 days) to level up a pair of NFT shoes from level 0 to level 30, and a player needs a level 30 shoe to earn GMT.

How stable is this equilibrium model?

Two sides of the coin, consumers and investors

The balance model of a game is the factor that ensures the game’s longevity. Just like insurance, if the revenue from people who buy a special plan isn’t enough to cover the number of people receiving insurance, working capital will be lost.

Similarly, if the number of people making money in the game is more than the number of people spending money to play, then this will be a multi-level Ponzi model, when the money one person earns is the money that other players spend. That’s why every GameFi project cannot be weighed down by financial factors – fi, but GameFi must be a game – game, must possess attractive gameplay, enough for players to be willing to invest in playing without. do not expect a return on investment.

STEPN follows Axie Infinity in applying the two-token model, thereby stabilizing the value of the governance token. In fact, when it comes to the long-term stability of the game, the GST (the in-game token) is more important than the GMT (the governance token). If you compare GST with an insurance product, upgrading, repairing, and “mint” new shoes is similar to buying a premium insurance package, while the reward from running is the payment. insurance for each person.

Explain why STEPN is successful.  But can the Move-to-Earn model hold up in the future?  - Photo 3.

In other words, the balance of supply and demand for GST will determine the survival of the game in the long run. There are two ways for STEPN to coordinate supply and demand in this case: the first is to increase revenue, i.e. increase the value of the “premium insurance package”; second, to reduce the amount of money to be paid to each player. .

In terms of reducing payouts, the STEPN development team employs a series of ingenious mechanisms. The first is to reduce the number of running hours per day: the person who owns up to 2 pairs of shoes will only make a profit in 10 minutes of running, the person who owns more than 30 pairs will have a profit time of 100 minutes a day.

Explain why STEPN is successful.  But can the Move-to-Earn model hold up in the future?  - Photo 4.

STEPN also found a way to increase his income, through a mechanism that allows players to spend GST on many purposes such as repairing shoes, upgrading shoes and making new shoes. For players, the ultimate goal is still to earn more GST, and if the amount of GST earned does not offset the amount of GST spent on shoe repair, no one will want to play/invest further.

From there, it is clear that STEPN makes money from players’ willingness to deposit. Just like people buy insurance, no one expects to need insurance when spending money on packages.

In short, a balanced model would require a larger number of participants for the general purpose than the number of investors who approach STEPN for the purpose of making investments.

Number of general purpose players who find STEPN through social factors

A GameFi project attracts players if and only if its entertainment factor is large. Let’s take an example with a big game like GTA5. If you apply the GameFi factor here, and even if GTA’s token price drops to 0, players passionate about this open world game will still be loyal to the game. The gameplay of GTA5 is so attractive that it is still Rockstar’s golden egg, many years after its release.

STEPN is weak in this regard, as STEPN’s “gameplay” revolves around walking. No matter how many other interesting elements are added, moving is still an activity that soon gets boring.

Explain why STEPN is successful.  But can the Move-to-Earn model hold up in the future?  - Photo 5.

Many people think that even if the price of STEPN shoes, the price of tokens declines, they can at least increase their health with each run.

In fact, running is not for everyone, and without the element of profit, most players will no longer be interested in STEPN. Besides those who are really passionate about running, most seek spiritual benefits from beautifying their self-image, or showing off their running kilometers on social networking platforms. Both of these factors are social factors.

From here, it can be concluded that STEPN’s main customer base in the future will come from social factors, the financialization of social activities – SocialFi, not the financialization of playing activities – GameFi.

What is the current number of non-investing STEPN players?

Sadly, although the STEPN development team claims their product combines both GameFi and SocialFi, we still haven’t seen the “social” factor in play. However, this may change in the future when STEPN’s charm is attracting the attention of big brands, including sportswear.

So how many players to invest in the community participating in STEPN? To answer this question, we can look at a graph extracted from the blockchain that shows how the GST line moves.

Explain why STEPN is successful.  But can the Move-to-Earn model hold up in the future?  - Photo 6.

If the figures accurately reflect the supply and demand of GST, it means that the number of players investing is more than the number of regular players.

The above data is taken from GST spending accounts. Users will have to transfer GST from their personal wallet to their consumer account to repair or upgrade their shoes, and they will also have to transfer GST from their consumer account to sell.

On March 1, Binance announced the Launchpad STEPN project. That same day, GST changed dramatically, with GST capital inflows (used for repairing, upgrading and making new shoes) overwhelming GST outflows (earned from running), and token prices at the same time. GST increased from 2.6 USD to 4 USD. Shortly after the announcement of Launchpad, capital outflow continued to dominate, the price stabilized at $3.4.

The GST price directly determines the shoe price, so the floor price remained stable at $800-900 in the first half of the month since the announcement of the project. This shows that the GST supply-demand balance will depend on the number of new players entering the market. When the shoe rental market opens, the number of participants will increase with lower input requirements than before; All you need is strong feet, and it takes a lot less capital than buying shoes.

Regulating GST is extremely important: the token price increases sharply, the price of shoes is bare, new players will be afraid to invest money; The token price plummeted, the M2E community would give up the game, thereby reducing STEPN’s revenue.


In order for the game to exist for a long time, the number of mass players will have to be larger than the number of players to invest and make a profit. Even if STEPN wants to harmoniously combine the two elements of GameFi and SocialFi, the running itself is still boring, so they will have to step up the attraction of players from the “social” platform.

With the amount of data extracted from the blockchain, we see that players are steadily earning GST from running activities. So there is reason to worry if GST can withstand the selling pressure, once the number of players looking to STEPN to invest skyrocketed, after the time when the shoe rental market started to take shape.

Excerpted from the STEPN Developer Q&A:

The number of players and the area with the most players?

STEPN is seeing about 100,000 daily participants, 500,000 people turning on the app every month. However, registration has not been extended and most players must be invited to participate. The Chinese market has not been directly involved in STEPN. The biggest source of players comes from Japan, USA, France, Russia and UK; Japan has been a welcoming market for Move-to-Earn models from the past, so STEPN quickly gained a foothold.

The developer does not want to destroy the existing ecosystem, so he has not opened the rental market as well as removed the invitation mechanism and opened registration for free.

About cross-chain to other blockchains and future development direction:

The developer will soon crosschain with Binance Smart Chain (BSC), and there are plans to link with Ethereum. They plan to expand the NFT exchange model in the future. Users will not only buy shoes, but also other NFT products.

STEPN’s AI team is also developing virtual assistants to help users make decisions.

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