About a year ago, my buddy Dan asked me about this crypto game where you could earn money for walking/running.
I looked into it briefly and shrugged it off as just another NFT game, but looking further into it I started to see it was quite a cool concept for using NFTs.
When it comes to learning about new things like this, I find the best way to learn is just get involved as deeply as possible. As you start building (or in this case, playing), you will learn things very quickly!
At the time, the game was running solely on the Solana chain, and luckily I had a big bag of Solana sitting around from a couple of years back.
Since then I've purchased a bunch of sneakers, and although I'm definitely not getting rich off the game, it's been a great insight for me into NFTs, GameFi, and how this technology could have a big influence on gaming in the future.
In this article I'll break down the game, how it works, and some results from my journey thus far.
If you are new to NFTs, I highly recommend you first read my blog post What Is An NFT?
What Is STEPN?
The game is pretty simple:
You purchase a virtual sneaker (as an NFT).
Then whenever you go out walking/running (in real life), you activate the sneaker and the app will track you via GPS and give you coins based on how long you walk/run.
You can then keep those coins to spend them in the game, or you can sell them and convert them into real money!
How much you earn will depend on your sneaker.
Each sneaker has attributes (like a video game character), and a rarity (like a trading card).
As with most video games, there are various layers to it, such as how to upgrade your sneakers, how to sell/trade them, and how to earn different coins and find different bonuses.
Let's look closer at how the game works.
First, you need to purchase a sneaker on the marketplace.
The obvious question is - how do I know which sneakers are good?
It's actually not a simple question to answer, it depends on how you want to play the game and what your objective is.
Each sneaker has four distinct scores:
Influences how much GST you can earn
Influences the level of "mystery box" you can find on your walks, which contains items like gemstones and scrolls.
Influences how much GMT you can earn
Influences how much "damage" your shoes takes on each walk (which you have to repair later).
You can see these attributes under each sneaker:
Every time you level your sneaker up, you will get additional points to spend on your attributes.
Note that once attributes have been spent, they cannot be reallocated without cost, so be careful you spend them wisely!
If you're buying a sneaker where the previous owner has already spent all the attribute points, you want to be sure they're spent in a way you're happy with, otherwise you will need to pay to reallocate them.
RUNNING VS WALKING
There are four types of sneakers. Depending on your sneaker type, you need to stay within a certain speed to earn, unless you have a TRAINER sneaker, in which case you can train at any speed:
Move time (minutes)
4 to 6.25 GST/energy
The sneakers come in different levels of rarity (similar to trading cards).
If you have a COMMON sneaker (cheapest), the maximum each attribute can have is 10, and each level up you get an additional 4 attribute points to spend.
If you have an UNCOMMON sneaker (more expensive), the maximum of each attribute is 18, and each level up you get an additional 6 attribute points to spend.
If you have a RARE sneaker (very expensive), the maximum of each attribute is 35, and each level up you get an additional 8 attribute points to spend.
If you have an EPIC sneaker (very, very expensive), the maximum of each attribute is 63, and each level up you get an additional 10 attribute points to spend.
If you have a LEGENDARY sneaker (most expensive), the maximum of each attribute is 112, and each level up you get an additional 12 attribute points to spend.
Obviously this means the higher the rarity, the better base scores you are going to get, and the more your shoe improves with each level.
Each sneaker also has four gem sockets.
These allow you to attach gems to your sneakers to increase your attributes even more.
Gem sockets are specific to each attribute, meaning Resistance sockets are only for Resistance gems, and will only improve your Resistance score, Efficiency sockets are only for Efficiency gems and so on.
Each gem slot also has a level.
Level 1 socket: Normal boost
Level 2 socket: +10% boost
Level 3 socket: +20% boost
Level 4 socket: +30% boost
Level 5 socket: +50% boost
There are two coins available to be earned in STEPN.
GST is the in-game token that has an unlimited supply.
How much GST you earn is determined by your Efficiency score.
GST is needed for in-game functions, such as opening mystery boxes, repairing shoes, minting shoes, upgrading gems, and unlocking gem sockets.
GMT is the governance token for the developer of STEPN (FSL Labs) and has a limited supply of 600,000 tokens.
As the supply is limited, it's scarcer than GST and more valuable.
While the value of GST can be inflated away, GMT is likely to be more stable.
Both tokens are required to fully utilise all the game's features.
While you're out running/walking, you have the chance to find mystery boxes.
Mystery boxes come in 9 levels.
The quality of the mystery box you find will depend on your Luck attribute.
Each mystery box contains gems.
You can attach these gems to the gem sockets on your sneakers to improve your attributes.
You can also sell (and buy) them on the marketplace for GMT.
The higher the level the mystery box, the higher the level gems will be inside.
Gems improve your attribute scores when attached to your sneakers.
A Level 1 gem will give you more than a Level 2 gem, and so on:
You can also upgrade 3 gems of one level for a chance at receiving 1 gem of the next level.
For example, you can burn 3 Level 1 Efficiency gems, for a chance at receiving a Level 2 Efficiency gem.
However, if your upgrade fails, you will lose all 3 gems!
Whenever you go for a walk/run, you will use Energy:
Once you run out of Energy, you can no longer earn coins or find mystery boxes.
Your Energy capacity depends on the number of sneakers you own:
Move time (minutes)
You also get additional energy by owning rarer sneakers.
Owning an Uncommon Sneaker: +1 Energy
Owning a Rare Sneaker: +2 Energy
Owning an Epic Sneaker: +3 Energy
Owning a Legendary Sneaker: +4 Energy
Your Energy replenishes 25% every 6 hours, meaning it will fully replenish every 24 hours.
This doesn't actually cover all the game mechanics! But to keep it as simple as possible I've just covered the essentials here. For full game rules, you can check out the STEPN Whitepaper.
Earning With My First Sneaker
Here's the first sneaker I bought:
Back then the sneaker prices were in SOL rather than GMT.
From memory it was around 4 SOL (at the time, this was around $120 USD).
Here's the first run I went on with it:
Unfortunately I only had 2 Energy, so I could only earn for ten minutes.
You can see I earned 10.76 GST for that ten minutes.
At the time, GST was trading for around 25 cents, so that was around $2.50 USD.
So the obvious question - how do you make more money?
Over the next few months (years?) I'll be playing STEPN each day to immerse myself in NFT land and figure out exactly that: What's the best way to get the most out of your sneakers?
Will I make thousands of dollars, or will the whole project collapse and I'll lose all my crypto?