What is STEPN and why does GMT become parabolic?

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Key points to remember

  • STEPN’s GMT governance token has surged in value over the past week, soaring 138%.
  • The app allows users to earn tokens by walking, jogging, or running outdoors, similar to Axie Infinity’s play-to-earn model.
  • Widespread speculation of a partnership with a major sportswear brand fueled the recent rally in GMT tokens.

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STEPN presents itself as a Web3 lifestyle app with built-in Game-Fi and Social-Fi elements. The app allows users to earn tokens by walking, jogging or running outdoors and hopes to inspire players to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Enter STEPN

The move-to-win mania is hitting the crypto space.

STEPN, a “Web3 lifestyle app” that allows users to earn tokens by walking, jogging or running outdoors, saw its GMT governance token value skyrocket over the course of the last week, climbing 138%.

GMT/USD Chart (Source: CoinGecko)

Although STEPN is still in public beta, it has already racked up over 100,000 downloads on the Google Play Store and over 139,000 Twitter followers. The game currently runs on Solana but says it plans to expand its decentralized wallet to offer multi-chain asset deposits and withdrawals in the future.

To start earning tokens, players must purchase or rent a pair of sneakers from the in-app marketplace using Solana’s native asset, SOL. At first, players can only earn the Unlimited Supply GST Token. However, as players upgrade their sneakers by moving around, they can start earning the limited-supply GMT Governance Token, provided they own their sneakers and don’t rent them.

STEPN’s tokenomics model is similar to that of the play-to-earn game Axie Infinity. In STEPN, GMT plays a role similar to AXS; it has a limited supply and is needed to level up and craft new pairs of sneakers. GST is more like Axie’s SLP; it has an unlimited supply, it can be used to repair sneakers after use, and it is also consumed when sneakers are upgraded or hit.

However, STEPN deviates from Axie’s model by providing more use cases for the earnable GST token. In Axie Infinity, the SLP token was initially only consumed by the creation of new Axies. As more and more people started playing the game to take advantage of SLP rewards, supply exceeded demand and the price of the token crashed. STEPN tries to remedy this problem by making its sneakers degradable. That’s why players need GST to fix them and keep playing.

As STEPN’s public beta only opened in December, its pioneering token model is still relatively untested. However, that hasn’t stopped several major venture capital firms from making significant investments in STEPN. The app raised $5 million by selling over 16% of its token supply in January. Sequoia Capital India and Folius Ventures co-led the raise, and companies like Solana Ventures and Alameda Research also participated.

Why has STEPN’s token skyrocketed?

While STEPN has steadily gained traction since its beta launch, several additional factors are likely fueling the recent surge. In a recent interview with Solar Eco Fund, a STEPN spokesperson hinted at a possible partnership with a major sports brand. When asked if STEPN sees companies like Nike and Adidas as future competitors, the spokesperson dropped a not-so-subtle hint about the plans for the project. “You will see that we will have an announcement on this very soon,” they said.

Speculation about STEPN’s upcoming partnership has been widespread on social media, with many users looking for clues in recent Twitter posts. In a March 29 Tweeter Commenting on the recent Ronin Network hack, STEPN shared an artwork containing several hidden brand logos.

Can you see the brand logos? (Source: @Stepnofficial)

The trademarks of sportswear companies like Head, Nike, Adidas, and Asics are visible in the illustration alongside what appears to be a Binance logo. Since STEPN used Binance’s token launchpad to sell 7% of its GMT token supply in early March, some believe a more substantial partnership with Binance is also on the horizon.

The excitement over STEPN’s partnership announcement is palpable, but it’s not yet clear if its recent price surge is sustainable. While some onlookers are already calling STEPN the “next Axie Infinity,” others are skeptical due to the large number of GMT tokens sold to institutional investors during its seed round. Future token unlocks for first-time buyers could also cause problems for those buying GMT tokens at current prices.

Disclosure: At the time of writing this article, the author owned SOL and several other cryptocurrencies.

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