Get Paid For Walking – Is STEPN The Crypto Ponzi Scheme?

(Last Updated On: January 9, 2023)

STEPN is a Web3 lifestyle app that pays you for walking and running.

On the STEPN app, users get paid in cryptocurrency (GST, or GMT) per mile walked or run depending on their speed. The goal of the company is to get people moving and make a difference in their health and wellness.

All this sounds great, and there are tons of videos on YouTube that will show you how you can make tons of money from this app.

Not only that, according to many YouTubers, you can make $50 per day and more just by walking a few miles.

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However, I see a few warning signals with STEPN and in this article, I want to take a closer look at this crypto-financial model and share with you my opinion.

What is STEPN?

STEPN blockchain app

STEPN is a Web3 lifestyle app with Social-Fi and Game-Fi elements.

In STEPN, players are encouraged to earn tokens by walking, jogging, or running. The profit from this blockchain game is generated by two crypto tokens, GST or GMT.

The amount of the tokens you are earning is depending on the quality of the NFT shoe you are using and it also depends on the speed you move… walk, jog or run mode.

This app is using GPS pinging to monitor your movement speed, so the weak connection can definitely reduce the money you earn.

How to Make Money with STEPN

To start making money with this blockchain app, you need to purchase a pair of virtual sneakers. These are minted NFTs, and you can easily resell them on the market.

STEPN crypto game

After you purchase a pair of NFT sneakers, then you can start running.

I said, running, because this way, it is possible to make the most money.

In other words, your total daily steps can earn you tokens.

In general, walking earns the least, then jogging, and finally running earns the most.

But be aware, that if you bought a walking NFT shoe, you only earn by walking, with a jogger, you are earning only by jogging and so on.


There is also a premium class of sneakers, called Trainer, that lets you earn tokens at all speeds, and of course, these Trainers are the most expensive NFT shoes in the STEPN ecosystem.

The Time-Gating Mechanic of STEPN

One of the most hated mechanics in gaming is called TIME-GATING and in this example, it is a restriction on how much you can run with the STEPN app each day, and still make money.

While you can run more, the app is only paying you for a predetermined quantity of miles (kilometers).

They call this feature Energy and you can get a small amount of it every single day for free, and some Energy is giving you by your sneakers.

And of course, high-quality sneakers are giving you more Energy, but there is still a general limit to how much you can have each day.

STEPN Tokens: GMT vs. GST

Users of the STEPN app can earn both GMT and GST tokens. However, the GST token can be earned with any type of the NFT shoe, the GMT token is available to earn only for users with a Lever 30+ sneakers.

GST – Green Satoshi Token (GST) is the game’s utility coin and is used to level up, mint, and repair sneakers.

GMT – Green Metaverse Token (GMT) is the project’s value token and holding it can participate in STEPN’s program governance.

The Main Problem With STEPN

If you are excited about everything you’ve read so far, now come the disadvantages of the STEPN business model.

You should know, that in the play-to-earn category, many have tried, and many have failed. There are thousands of projects that were exciting at the beginning, but then they collapsed because they don’t have a sustainable business model.

At this moment, STEPN doesn’t have a sustainable business model. The only reason that the app is paying its users is that new users are coming into the ecosystem and buying new NFT shoes.

This is the first sign of the Ponzi scheme.

Definition of Ponzi Scheme

A Ponzi scheme is an investment fraud in which clients are promised a large profit at little to no risk. Companies that engage in a Ponzi scheme focus all of their energy into attracting new clients to make investments. This new income is used to pay original investors their returns, marked as a profit from a legitimate transaction. Ponzi schemes rely on a constant flow of new investments to continue to provide returns to older investors. When this flow runs out, the scheme falls apart. Source: Investopedia.

I’m not saying categorically that the STEPN is a Ponzi scheme, but if they don’t change their business model, in my opinion, they are.

Since they are building a huge community, one way STEPN can become more sustainable is by completing more partnerships with sneaker brands, sports teams, or gym brands, and that alone can generate an interesting income for the project.

If this happens, I may change my mind.

Token Prices are Falling

Another issue I have with STEPN is the value of the token. While play-to-earn crypto gaming is on the rise, almost every single blockchain game is releasing its own token.

There is nothing wrong with that, after all, they’re creating a whole new ecosystem.

But there are so many examples of collapsed tokens that it can be highly risky to invest in such games.

The timeline is always the same for most of the crypto games.

First, comes the hype, people are coming into the game, buying NFTs, accessories, and tokens. They are pumping the money into the ecosystem, everything is on the rise, and then….

And then everything is starting to collapse. This is because there is any new money that is coming into the game, people are leaving more than they are joining, and of course, the price of the tokens is going down.

At this point, it is possible to see that both token prices are already falling.

GST token
GMT token

The reason is simple, the more people join the app, the more people will earn the tokens, and of course, more people will try to sell them.

This is a typical scenario for most play-to-earn games, and STEPN is not an exception, as I see.

Final Thoughts

So, is STEPN app a Ponzi scheme? In my opinion, the model they are using right now has a lot of signs of a Ponzi scheme.

The STEPN pays users when someone new enters the app and buys the required NFT shoes. If the number of people using the app will be bigger than the number of people entering, they will have to find another way to pay them.

Even though this is sounding like a complete scam, there are tons of people who are talking very highly about this project. What’s more, this project is backed by some respected venture capital firms in the world like Binance, or Sequoia Capital.

If you’re interested in entering the STEPN project, I understand that. There are too many temptations, but, and, this is advice from a person who has a lot of experience with crypto projects, do your own research.

Do not listen to the people who are promising you easy money, like earning money by walking. Use your common sense, and do your own research.

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