COVID-19 led to a lot of restrictions, one of which was being prohibited from public places. Thanks to this, people did a lot of walking, as driving to places was also restricted. That was when Yawn Rong came up with a fantastic idea that made waves during the pandemic.
However, we’ve seen the worst of COVID-19, and now many people and businesses are back to their regular routine. The question is, how would Stepn fare? Would it keep moving forward or fall back thanks to the return to normalcy? Find out in this article.
The Beginning of Stepn
It all started as an idea in the head of Yawn Rong in the summer of 2021. The pandemic had forced people to retract from their regular outings and drive to do a lot of walking. Watching these people every day, Rong thought of turning it into a game.
Rong was a co-founder of a trading fund and a crypto investment company, so launching a new creation was not foreign to him. He extended the idea to Jerry Huang, who at the time ran a computer game company and was a close friend and neighbor. The first white paper they wrote received negative feedback. To improve, they streamlined the concept, which gave birth to the idea of simply walking and earning.
What Exactly is Stepn?
Stepn is the first Web3 NFT game where you have to move from one place to another in order to earn. The tokens you gain are proportional to your movement. Simply put, the more you walk, the more tokens you earn. It’s based on Solana, an alternative to Ethereum.
You get rewards in the form of Stepn’s in-game money, the Green Satoshi Token (GST). This can be stored in a wallet made in-game or sent to a different wallet outside the game. To play the game, you need an NFT sneaker, and players can increase the amount of GST they earn per session by buying sneaker upgrades. The sneakers are NFTs (non-fungible tokens), which you can trade on secondary marketplaces.
Stepn debuted in the Apple App Store in early 2022. Rong claims that he and his team put in 15–20 hours every day, seven days a week, to make this happen. Over the course of the next year, despite different backlashes, Stepn attracted a tremendous audience.
According to the company, it has more than 4 million active users each month. The business also made $122.5 million during the second quarter. Rong and Huang currently manage more than a hundred people, and they’re not done expanding the workforce.
How Does Stepn Work?
There are two characteristics that are essential to grasping how Stepn functions. One is the sneaker, and the second is “Energy.” The sneaker is very important as it impacts a player’s earning potential. For this same reason, some sneakers have exorbitant prices.
In Stepn, you can upgrade your sneaker to enhance one or more of four different attributes. This is similar to how you might upgrade your armor to withstand particular attacks in a conventional role-playing game.
The first is “Resilience,” which delays deterioration, while the second is “Luck” which increases your chances of receiving a random reward during the session. There’s Comfort and the last is Efficiency which improves your point accumulation.
On Stepn, a player’s time for a “move-to-earn” session is measured in Energy, with one unit equaling five minutes. Beginners have only two energy units to start with, and they regenerate every 24 hours. This means that they can only earn GST for 10 minutes per day. You need to purchase more sneakers if you want greater energy.
Positive Reviews of Stepn
Stepn became a great game like many casino games you will find in several online platforms for certain people because of what it helped them achieve. Here are some individuals who put the game to good use:
James, who is one of the ambassadors for the brand, lives in Georgia, and for fun, he goes hiking. To strengthen his stamina, he usually straps a pack that weighs 75 pounds and tries to take it along the trail. However, such stamina takes a while to build, so Werk found it hard to keep up.
Instead, he turned to video games, which he later started streaming on Twitch. However, he understood the importance of hikes but had no zeal to continue till he found Stepn.
Stepn became the motivation for him to leave his comfort zone and go hiking every morning. In fact, he took multiple walks to make the most of the rewards he could get from the application. This consistency eventually paid off, as he now slept better and his heart rate improved.
As of the time of their launch, Stepn’s sneakers cost a lot, with Werk buying his first pair for $1,200. However, the price did not deter him because of what he aimed to achieve. The game even became more appealing to him because of its framework. You can level up and earn random prices, among others.
Werk makes it clear that he doesn’t make a lot of money from Stepn. However, he enjoys “putting a little something aside” every week and watching his Solana stock pile up. He added that after regularly using the game for a few months, he can carry a 75-pound pack and walk further along the Appalachian Trail.
With an age range of 44 to 52, Blair is an e-commerce entrepreneur residing in Florida. Since most of her work is online, Blair lived a sedentary life for years. She had tried different fitness and tracking apps but claimed they didn’t help her much. Then she found Stepn.
She gave the game a try, purchasing sneakers worth $1,000. The price tag didn’t bother her much, as she viewed it as an investment that she would later reap the benefits of. Plus, she believed that the company had the potential to grow.
Blair purchased a second pair of trainers, then a third, and eventually got all thirty pairs. Purchasing all thirty lets her get the maximum rewards. DNFTs are currently far less valuable than what she paid, but she still believes the market will rebound.
However, she noted that the value of Stepn is not in the money she spent on it, but in what it has helped her achieve. According to her, she now walks about 3.5 miles a day. The motivation is that if she doesn’t walk, she loses income, so no matter the weather, she takes a walk. Her consistency has caused her to lose 30 pounds.
Like Blair and Werk, Shan is an ambassador for Stepn. The 35-year-old resides in Australia and described that he was once obese. Taylor had to undergo weight loss surgery, through which he lost 110 pounds. So, we can’t say that the Stepn game made him as trim and fit as he currently is.
After the surgery, he engaged in marathons but suffered injuries. These injuries made him lose his motivation, and he lacked the willpower to remain fit. However, when he found Stepn, he bought his first sneakers for $1,000 and began running again every day.
Pressure and Decay
Stepn did achieve massive success, to the point where they recorded a million active users daily. However, this number has dropped to just over 150,000 daily users. One of the reasons for this crash is the massive drop in the value of Stepn’s coin. It moved from $4 to 33 cents.
Its price drop is probably due in part to the crypto bear market. On the flip side, it reduces the incentives players get. As you already know, these freebies are the main attraction of the product. Another reason for its loss of fan base is the game’s model.
As with other play-to-earn games like Axie Infinity and ICE Poker, you have to move to earn in Stepn. One major flaw of play-to-earn business models is that they are risky and may not last.
At the initial “growth phase,” new players pour money into the game. Still, the tokens’ value will drop, much like in a Ponzi scheme. Basically, you can’t keep handing out free money to users forever. Plus, if you have a larger user base, you have to offer more rewards, which leads to inflation.
Rong and his team were aware of these drawbacks. To make the game work, they adjusted the tokenomics by introducing “deflationary” pressures. This will reduce the total number of tokens in circulation, which should help keep token prices stable. One of these was the introduction of “Decay” to the game’s concept.
This feature brought in “Health Points,” which were assigned to each pair of sneakers. These points ran down as the user walked or ran. Then, the user can replenish by spending tokens or other assets. Users hated it, but it was necessary to keep the game running.
Can Stepn Keep Moving Forward?
Despite the introduction of features to stabilize the value of its tokens, Stepn still has a reasonable user base. The company has introduced other products to generate more revenue and encourage people to keep using the app. Furthermore, Rong and his team are cooking up something that will see the game play a major part in Web3. So, there’s a good chance that Stepn will keep growing.