The ability to transport ourselves by our own means has allowed human beings to populate the most remote corners of the planet we inhabit. So, when asked what is STEPN? We can simply answer, the decentralized application that takes advantage of an ancient faculty of homo sapiens.
STEPN is a protocol that, combining different trends of the crypto ecosystem, has generated an important media impact. Beyond the technologies used to bring it to life, a headline like “STEPN, the app that pays you to move”, is capable of attracting a great deal of attention.
GameFi, Augmented Reality and NFTs come together in STEPN to create a revolutionary concept. But, it is time to leave the introductions behind and get into the analysis of this platform with a unique proposal.
STEPN is an application in which you must “move to win”. It has been designed exclusively for smartphones and built on Solana’s blockchain. Its objective is to provide its users with the possibility of generating rewards for the simple act of walking, jogging or running during a delimited period of time, which is automatically renewed every 24 hours.
The returns generated by the movement are received in the form of one of STEPN’s own cryptocurrencies, identified with the ticker GST, which summarizes the name Green Satoshi Token.
The first step, to start generating returns in STEPN, consists of acquiring some sneakers that, as it could not be otherwise, we find them represented by means of NFTs. The negative point is that the popularity that this “Play-to-Earn” game has acquired, has led to a reality in which the NFTs to start participating in the game reach exorbitant prices.
As I pointed out in the introduction, STEPN brings together three important concepts that have gained popularity in recent years and whose prospects are very encouraging. Let’s see what they are all about.
Let’s analyze these different technologies in parts. First, GameFi or “Play-to-Earn” games are those in which players, while having fun, can generate returns. Blockchain technology has joined forces with the online gaming industry to provide economic incentives and true ownership of the items used in the game.
The materialization of this last sentence comes in the form of NFTs, which condense the phrase “non-fungible tokens”. These tokens, which represent the ownership of a single piece, have within them the germ capable of revolutionizing the world of games. The GameFi industry represents all the elements of the different games by means of NFTs. In this way, the users are the only and real owners of everything that participates in the game and, in addition, owners of the returns they generate.
Finally, we come to the last component of this trilogy determined to take over the entertainment industry. AR sums up the phrase “Augmented Reality”. Games based on this concept offer a virtual world that has the ability to superimpose itself on the real one. To make it easier to understand with an example, in 2015 Augmented Reality occupied a central place with the arrival of Pokemon Go to the market. In that game, different virtual pokemon were scattered on a map of the real world. Pokemon Go players chased these characters via GPS and with their cameras could capture and collect them. The novelty was that these characters were captured by mobile cameras, moving on our streets. Impressive.
How do these three powerful concepts merge into a single application? This is precisely the topic to be covered in the next section.
One of the points that generates more doubts when we begin to know what this new application is about is, how is it possible that STEPN has an exact knowledge of our movements and can translate them into a measurable distance? The answer is simple, but perhaps not what happens behind it.
STEPN, by means of GPS tracking, is able to give a specific score to the number of kilometers that users travel. It is clear that this score is then attributed a certain amount of cryptocurrencies or, precisely, GST tokens. In this way, STEPN is able to take the concept of “Play-to-Earn” to a new level, in which the boundaries between the real and the virtual world are strongly blurred.
The game has two fundamental elements that we must understand in order to efficiently answer the question of how STEPN works. Let’s analyze them.
These NFTs, necessary to participate in the game, are intrinsically related to the capacity that users will have to generate GST tokens. It is this feature that leads us to find NFTs that have managed to reach the, by no means modest, sum of $100,000.
To understand the role that sneakers play in STEPN, we can draw a parallel with certain role-playing games that have become popular in previous years. Let’s imagine a game in which our character has a suit of armor. Probably, we have the possibility of improving this armor to allow him to resist certain attacks in a superior way or even to recover from the blows with greater speed and to counterattack without brakes.
When it comes to understanding the value of the NFTs that represent our shoes in STEPN, upgrading them will allow us to maximize some of their four different characteristics:
It is this last concept, that of energy, that will propel us to close the cycle and understand the integral functioning of STEPN.
This is the unit of time that is assigned to each STEPN player for a given movement session. Within the platform, each unit of energy represents about five minutes. Players start with just two energy units to use during each period, which lasts for 24 hours.
Thus, those who are doing their first sessions in STEPN will only have 10 minutes a day to obtain GST tokens. And another point to keep in mind is that each type of footwear, also differentiated by levels acquired in each of the aforementioned characteristics, finds a specific speed to which it must adapt its movement session to earn cryptocurrencies or “GST”.
You may find yourself reading and wondering, how can I get more energy? The answer is simple, but expensive. Buying more shoes, would be the solution to quickly get hold of extra energy. The cost-benefit ratio is a calculation that every user must perform before making hasty decisions in the game.
The number of tokens involved in the STEPN platform often confuses users. Let’s review each of them, to understand what role they play within the application that pays us to move.
First, we come across SOL, the native currency of the Solana blockchain. What will we use SOL for? It is the medium of exchange to buy NFTs (purchase new sneakers).
Then, we can name the token in charge of delivering the coveted rewards for the physical activity we deploy. This is the aforementioned GST, Green Satoshi Token. We can use it to make improvements on our digital footwear, which will allow us to increase the rate of earnings we get.
Last but not least, we have left the STEPN governance token. Referred to as Green Movement Token and identified with the ticker GMT, the token entitles its holders with the important task of participating in the votes that decide the future of STEPN.
While the total supply of GST is unlimited, GMT is capped at 6 billion units. Moreover, this token is only granted to those users whose upgrade of their shoes has exceeded level 30. It is not in vain to clarify that it is possible to acquire it like any other cryptocurrency.
The appearance of STEPN immediately caught the attention of crypto-Twitter, the place where everything related to the world of cryptocurrencies happens. The platform’s popularity grew immeasurably in a relatively short period of time. As we have witnessed on so many occasions, that which quickly rises, faces ample chances of a fall with similar magnitude and speed.
The high value of the NFTs that allow to start participating in the game have acted as an entry barrier for new users to STEPN.
However, it is important to understand that we are dealing with the first arms of such a platform. While there are examples of applications that, as pioneers in a specific area, have been mounted on thrones that seem destined for eternity, this is not the most common situation.
STEPN has opened the game to new concepts that mix activities developed in the real world with rewards generated in cryptocurrencies. Evidently, the exploration of possibilities is still far from being concluded and finding its final form.