Earlier this month, I wrote about the STEPN app (GMT-USD) and its governance token GMT. The app’s core function is advertised as a play-to-earn lifestyle game that pays people for getting outside and exercising either by walking, jogging, or running. On the surface, it’s a cool idea. Despite liking the theory behind the app and by extension the potential utility of the token, I was unable to get into the app to try it out myself in time for my Seeking Alpha analysis. This, coupled with other factors that were noted in the article, steered me against calling the asset a “buy.” In hindsight, I’m happy to have been cautious.
The reason why I wasn’t able to use the app earlier this month was because STEPN was slowly onboarding users to the platform with activation codes. The codes are distributed through the company’s Discord server. At the time of writing, that server had roughly a half a million members; it currently has about 650k just a few weeks later. With the promise of “free money” for walking or jogging, the interest in the platform has been massive lately.
The chart above is the interest index for “stepn” as a search term. That index is currently at 100. Needless to say, there’s hype. With the activation codes being released one at a time every twelve minutes, there’s been a substantial amount of competition to get app access. Luckily, I was somehow fast enough to activate my profile with one of the Discord codes after numerous failed attempts over a span of a few days. Giddy-up.
Look, I’m not a gamer so maybe this sort of gamified app experience is typical, but the process of being able to actually get a sneaker NFT so that I could try the app was problematic for two reasons.