STEPN to sack 100 staff as players step away from the move-to-earn app

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Solana blockchain-based move-to-earn fitness app STEPN is reportedly laying off over 100 of its contract workers amid the ongoing crypto bear market and as its user numbers dwindle from previous highs.

Moderators and ambassadors will be among the sacked staff, and investment in STEPN will be scaled back, according to crypto reporter Colin Wu.

There will also be a shift toward promoting STEPN’s parent company, Find Satoshi Lab (FSL), and its new projects, Wu claimed, citing community sources.

Cointelegraph contacted STEPN for comment but did not receive a response before publication. 

Founded by Australian-based fintech Find Satoshi Lab, STEPN launched in 2021, giving user’s the ability to purchase nonfungible token (NFT) sneakers used to walk or run in the real world to earn Green Satoshi Tokens (GST) which can be used for in-game purchases or cashed out.

STEPN was off to a promising start after launch; its governance token Green Metaverse Token (GMT), hit an all-time high in April, reaching $4.11, while GST peaked at $8.51, according to data from CoinGecko.

Now, GMT has fallen over 85% and is trading at $0.61 at the time of writing, while GST has dropped over 99% to $0.026.

It’s the same story for the app’s users, according to Dune Analytics data, which reveals the app’s daily active user count rose to an all-time high of 105,257 on June 26 before crashing down to under 6,000 in September before recovering slightly to 11,877 users as of Oct. 5. 

Recent setbacks include being forced to block mainland China users and a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack in June

STEPN Monthly Active Users (MAU) in 2022. Source: Dune Analytics

Crypto researcher Lucia Kim from self-described Web3-native accelerator nonce Classic claims that the decline could be the fault of the limitations of STEPN.

In a lengthy Oct. 4 Twitter post, Kim explained the system was structured to make users sell their tokens in the market to claim rewards, but this saw a supply increase, resulting in “accelerating token price decline due to excessive supply of NFTs.”

“The more rewards users get, the more tokens they sell to the market, which in turn affects its ecosystem,” Kim explained.

Related: Web3 gaming still a long way from mainstream adoption: Survey

The STEPN team has recently teased changes are coming, with co-founder Yawn Rong taking to Twitter on Oct. 10 with an open letter to their community, stating, “changes are happening so that we can continue to add value to GMT and the Find Satoshi Lab ecosystem.”

“We will be devoting all of our resources to progressing to the next stage of FSL,” said Rong.

No specifics were revealed, but Rong says more will be explained over the next few weeks, telling his 34,000 Twitter followers they “won’t want to miss what comes next.”