A Solana-based Move-To-Earn app called STEPN has gained significant traction since its inception in December 2021. The app that allows users to walk and run to earn coins has seen the market cap of its original token GMT reach nearly $860 million as of May 22.
According to co-founder Jerry Huang, the app currently attracts about two to three million users worldwide every month.
Initially, the project was self-funded before the founders decided to meet with 100 investors and secure a $5 million seed round from Sequoia Capital and others in November.
“We didn’t have a product back then and a lot of investors didn’t understand what we were doing. Sequoia did it. The process of responding to investor inquiries also helped us refine the product to where it was later,” said Huang.
According to a TechCrunch report, it makes $3-5 million in net profit from trading fees per day and earns up to $100 million each month. In April, it closed another round of strategic investments from Binance.
How does it want to compete with other GameFi apps?
Some gaming veterans believe that the gameplay of most existing GameFi apps is “easy and brainless”. For example, Axie Infinity has cute blob-like creatures that fight in simple battles. As the GameFi sector expands, new players promise to bring quality back to the industry.
Huang disagrees. “A lot of the triple-A games put too much emphasis on aesthetics and big budgets, but they’re not really innovative when it comes to gameplay, while some simple looking games like Plants vs. Zombies have brilliant gameplay that makes them last. “
Huang also argued that 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 apps and have even made comparisons between play-to-earn apps and pyramid schemes.
STEPN said it is working on a two-pronged solution to sustainability: one is a price stabilization mechanism and the other is price manipulation.
“I think people pay too much attention to the [sustainability] problem,” the founder continued. “ROI can decrease over time, but all games have life cycles. You also have to look at what value an app creates.”