STEPN CO-AMA with BONFIDA
Introduction about STEPN
STEPN is a Web3 running app with fun social elements and gamification design. Users equipped with NFT Sneakers — walk, jog or run outdoors to earn game token — GST, which can be used to level up and mint new Sneakers.
Player can choose to lease or sell their NFT Sneakers on the in-app Marketplace; users’ GST earnings are stored in the in-app Wallet, which has a built-in Swap function.
Yawn is a serial entrepreneur who has built two successful brands in Australia before venturing into crypto industry in 2017. Yawn built Crypto SA at the same year, and merged the business with his neighbour Jerry’s game development studio in late 2021 to develop STEPN.
Why did you want to build STEPN and participate in the Ignition Hackathon on Solana?
Late last year I was having beers with the other co-founder Jerry and we were talking about Axie Infinity, then we realized we can do a Game-Fi project ourselves, which we did, we merged our business together and funded the project.
Initially, we wanted to design an alien based running game with a story line of finding Satoshi Nakamoto, but then we pivoted away from that idea because we realized Game-Fi has limited lifespan but running app last way longer, so we tuned down the game bit and built more on the social bit, to connect people in the Web3 world, as well as doing good to the society.
I was shocked how much animal the Australian bush fire in 2020 killed (3 billion) as well as 715 million tons carbon was emitted to the atmosphere. So when we pivoted away from doing a Game-Fi project, I wanted to connect this carbon offsetting concept with STEPN, hence we had the prototype of the app — build a Web3 running app with fun social and game elements.
What was the biggest challenge that you ran into when you were building STEPN? What sets STEPN apart from the rest of the game-Fi projects building on Solana?
We faced tremendous amount of challenges:
Anti-cheating: how to prevent user exploit the move2earn mechanics
GPS inaccuracy: Civilian GPS only give 3m outdoor accuracy and 20m indoor accuracy. Bad GPS also interfere how we calculate distance user travelled — GPS degrade, GPS drift and GPS bouncing. Traditional running app doesn’t optimize this bit because they don’t really need to incentivize users. E.g., if a phone sit stational in house and drifted 10km in 6 hours, it is ok because user knows this data is invalid, but this will cause a huge problem if we settle it as move2earn.
Lack of existing tools on mobile platform, such as wallet, swap and marketplace, it is ok to link to external provider if this is a browser game or app, but it is infeasible on mobile platform. We ended up building all these ourselves.
And being able to conquer these hardships and iterate/pivot rapidly to find the right course distance us with other similar projects, TBH, we are late to the party but we are the first to deliver a functional product.
As we know, STEPN also adopts a dual token system (GMT and GST), could you please briefly explain the tokenomic, and how do both GMT and GST work together?
GST has unlimited supply and is used as in-app currency; and GMT has limited supply and is used to decide how STEPN spend its profit (share dividend to GMT staker or donate to carbon offsetting).
As two Sneakers can mint one new Sneaker by burning GST, therefore the price of GST and NFT Sneaker is linked; if GST price is high, people sell it through Swap, brings GST price down; our NFT has a very strong demand atm and lower GST price will create arbitrage opportunity, people will start buy GST to mint NFT Sneakers and sell them on Marketplace, this will then drive the GST price up until Shoe-minting becomes unprofitable, then the cycle starts again.
The takeaway is, as long as we have strong demand for the NFT Sneaker, the GST price is self-regulatory and the reason we are confident that the demand for NFT Sneaker will remain high for very long time is, we design the app in a way that everyone can use — crypto or non-crypto, fit or not-so-fit and gamer or non-gamer. We are targeting to 100 million people and the notion they can earn $50 — $500 a day just by walking will take them onboard instantly.
GMT will be a slowly deflationary token, which people slowly burn it away in governance, high level spending and social related spending.
Understanding that STEPN is a move to earn fitness app, we are curious how does STEPN strike a balance among the tokenomic, gamification and a running app, in order to attract both native crypto users and fitness users who don’t know much about crypto?
We understand that users are usually attracted to the app through the move2earn concept — the financial or tokenomic, but they will get interested by the gamification design, and eventually stay for the app quality, the fitness benefit and social elements of the STEPN app — the running app features.
We design the app with the mindset to enable non-crypto people to use it, therefore we try not to get too much crypto related jargons and design getting into the way of user adaption.
So rather than balancing three elements, we pace it out in different user experience stage.
Any exciting news/ future roadmaps that you want to share with our audience?
Expect a better user interface in the next two weeks; Leaderboard, achievement and rental function will be ready before Q1 this year, then we will work on the carbon offsetting and wearable integration.
We will also start partner with sneaker brands and go IEO/IDO in Q1.