Innovation never seems to be an ending trend when it comes to blockchain technology and the crypto space. Meanwhile, incentivizing human behavior and rewarding user participation has been a groundbreaking concept in the growth of the space.
Starting with play-to-earn (P2E) games that reward users for having fun, blockchain-based rewards continue to take different dimensions every day. Move-to-earn is another new trend gaining significant adoption in crypto. As you might have guessed, move-to-earn simply means you earn while participating in basic activities.
Move-to-earn is a new application of blockchain-based rewards that promote the incentivization of personal data from physical activities. Although new, it is gaining momentum as an income revenue stream in the crypto space. However, is this new blockchain use case the future of promoting sound body and mind, or will it be short-lived hype? Let’s take a closer look at its landscape.
What Are Move to Earn Games?
As the name implies, move-to-earn games reward users for keeping fit with simple physical activities. These platforms help participants unlock additional income revenue through exercises like walking, running, or swimming.
They feature a blend of GameFi (Gaming and DeFi) with elements of fitness apps to bring forth new FitnessFi mechanics that reward users for exercising.
The concept of move-to-earn is probably not new. The employer-sponsored wellness program has earned people extra bucks from completing daily health activities outside of crypto. Nevertheless, integrating move-to-earn with blockchain technology is certainly an important step in further promoting health.
Apart from the incentives, move-to-earn games are especially useful to reduce the menace of chronic diseases due to inactivity. These apps can further reduce conditions like obesity, affecting more than 650 million globally. Meanwhile, it can also improve the cardiorespiratory system and quality of life while giving users a strong motivation to engage in physical activities.
How Do They Work?
Move-to-earn games aim to diversify blockchain-based rewards from gaming to health and lifestyle. The main selling point is rewarding players with utility tokens for participating in physical activities.
Data of daily physical activities of users in move-to-earn games is collected by digital devices like GPS-enabled fitness trackers, wearables, or mobile phones. The data is synced with move-to-earn apps for assessment before allocating corresponding rewards. Although digital devices have their own caveat, the move-to-earn concept layers another motivation.
Still, earning with move-to-earn games depends on many factors. An important determinant of in-game reward in move-to-earn games is the level of daily activity a participant can achieve. All things being equal, the higher your activity tolerance and achievement, the higher your earnings.
Another influential factor is the initial investment. Like play-to-earn games, the initial investment is important with move-to-earn games too. Generally, most move-to-earn games require purchasing and holding in-game NFTs or token assets.
Players can exchange their earned tokens for other in-game assets, including NFTs. They can also exchange the token for fiat currencies on crypto exchanges.
The Growth of Move To Earn Games
Move-to-earn games have enjoyed enormous growth, especially since the launch of STEPN in 2021. In fact, the last few months have seen a huge growth in the adoption of live and upcoming move-to-earn apps.
Meanwhile, the influx of users into these projects has attracted support from investors and VC firms. STEPN recorded a whopping $5 million seed raise while Genopets boasts of $8.3 million raised in 2021. Therefore, it’s more likely to see huge growth with more projects coming out with their own innovative way of monetizing personal data from physical activities.
Honored to announce $8.3M in seed round funding led by @konvoyventures and @PanteraCapital to introduce #Genopets to the world 🚀
Together, we will bridge physical and digital with the first #MoveToEarn NFT mobile game 🧬 https://t.co/1eFWRI0oae
— Genopets | Phase II Whitelist Beta (@genopets) October 18, 2021
Again, the recent influx of users into the move-to-earn space is spectacular. STEPN has amassed more than 1 million fans on social media, for instance. Its growth over time is a perfect showcase of the growing success of move-to-earn.
STEPN records hundreds of thousands of active users monthly. In May, it clinched its highest monthly users with more than 640,000 Monthly Active Users, about 50% growth from April’s MAU stat. Also, more than 260,000 shoes and sneakers were minted on STEPN from May 1st to May 25th. On average, STEPN footwear is worth 11 SOL on the secondary market, while high-level rarity shoes go as high as 150 SOL.
Another move-to-earn title, Genopets, is also making waves with more than 200,000 social community members. Said to be the first move-to-earn title, Genopets is a free-to-play move-to-earn game based on Solana. It has amassed more than 85,000 SOL in NFT sales on the secondary marketplace. It also features a sustainable in-game economy powered by the $GENE, a $44-million market cap token.
Move-to-earn is a brilliant concept, especially in a world where the well-being of several billion people is at stake. According to WHO, more than 1.9 billion people are overweight worldwide. 34% of these people are obese already. Meanwhile, obesity can lead to tons of cardiovascular, respiratory, and other systemic disorders. (Source: World Health Organisation)
With the move-to-earn apps, there can be enough motivation for several people around the world to adopt a healthy lifestyle. It can also significantly improve the increasing illness-related employee absenteeism rate globally (about 7.8 million reported in Feb. 2022 in the US alone).
Meanwhile, the increased adoption of move-to-earn games can signal the increased use of digital devices and trackers. It is speculated that the growth of the fitness tracker market globally can rise from a $36.34 billion valuation in 2020 to $114 billion by 2028.
Move-to-earn innovations are gradually transforming into new earning opportunities for many people. Understandably, this is normal since it creates an opportunity to turn your normal daily activities into a revenue stream. However, are we looking at the future of revolutionized ways to monetize an essential part of our being? Is this another way to improve and encourage a healthy mind and body? Is this innovation flawless? Let’s take a critical look at its viability.
Viability and the Future of Move to Earn Games
Getting started with move-to-earn programs is simple. However, one thing to note is the aim of the program, incentivizing daily activities rather than genuinely partaking in daily activities. Fortunately, this is motivation enough. Meaning, that once the incentive part is out of the game, that’s the end.
Saturation seems to be the greatest threat to move-to-earn. No doubt, move-to-earn apps are useful for a wider range of audiences. Billions of people worldwide need the motivation to improve their lifestyle via physical activities. However, it is almost impossible for these programs to succeed with this oversaturation. For one, in-game token supply is limited; therefore, it may not sustain a healthy price point for potentially several million people.
Meanwhile, the more people that take part in move-to-earn games, the lesser the reward each user will get since the total reward is capped. With a fixed reward pool or fixed reward cap per person, it can become more difficult to earn with more participants joining move-to-earn platforms.
On another note, it can result in a substantial increase in initial investment. So, you can start speculating about having to pay for real-life fitness kits and devices with huge entry barriers into these games in the future.
Furthermore, price action plays a significant role in determining the amount of in-game reward; it also directly influences the viability of move-to-earn games. This is because a sustainable in-game economy is the focal point of these games. Therefore, the more bearish the reward token, the less profitable the game.
Another threat to the growth and future of move-to-earn programs is manipulation. Using third-party digital devices creates a loophole to generate false data with bots or exploits. Although these games are working towards eliminating the issue, manipulation will eat away at some of the token supply.
All in all, it’s a positive movement. Many people use fitness trackers and wearables already, and so it will be simply to layer this on top of their daily goal of 10,000 steps, for instance. Nevertheless, for a functioning economy, there need to be uses for the token generated that are genuinely desirable, which currently is a little lacking. It is certainly a trend to keep your eye on.