Not long ago, I was listening to a podcast episode about drive and rewards. Apparently, humans are biologically designed to want something, just like a desire to scratch an itch. This primal drive usually results in things/experiences that are simple to satisfy, like buying something online or eating something tasty. The unscientific term for these rewards is known as T1 rewards, and the sense of satisfaction is only for a short period.
Then, there are T2 rewards. These rewards have a much longer satisfaction period and generate a higher sense of well-being. This can be putting in the effort to learn something or motivating yourself to exercise.
For a lazy bum like me, who’s forever looking for ways to get out of exercising, there are very few incentives in the world that can truly motivate me to get off the couch. A trip to the gelato store is one of them. However, the guilt I experience after happily gobbling down that gelato is an unfortunate side effect. Then I came across the Move2Earn movement. Just as the name says, I can earn money (crypto, in this case) for moving around.
The health benefits are obvious. More exercise is almost always a prescription for a healthier life. But, it’s the tying-your-shoes-and-getting-up-in-the-freezing-morning-to-move that’s the most challenging part. Wanting to stay healthy or doing it for the future is a tad bit too abstract for most of us. However, getting paid to exercise makes it a lot more concrete.
Page Contents 👉
It all began with games (as the best things do!). Young gamers who spend hours gaming to the point of neglecting their responsibilities have been the great headaches of their parents. The “you’re not being productive and wasting time” is code for “you’re not doing anything that can make you money”. Productivity = making money is the yardstick that 95% of the world live and die by.
When Play2Earn came to the scene in crypto, it was little more than giving gamers a more substantial reason to play games and be able to make some pocket money on the side. Along came Axie Infinity, and suddenly, it’s no longer just chump change but serious money, at least to some people in the world.
Seeing the success garnered by Play2Earn, the whole “XXX2Earn” concept really reared its head up, and started inflicting itself onto all sorts of activities that people usually do for fun but can also get some extra moolah at the same time. Wear2Earn was the next one to emerge (although the “earn” part comes more from flipping NFTs than actually getting paid to wear NFTs), and now it’s followed by Move2Earn, the latest craze to storm the crypto earning scene.
What is Move2Earn (M2E)?
Similar to Play2Earn, Move2Earn incorporates the concepts of Game-Fi, Social Network and NFTs to incentivise participants to exercise. The more you exercise, the rarer the NFTs you get and you can also flex your stats on social media (What people would not do for bragging rights indeed!). What’s interesting about the Move2Earn apps is that it seeks to incorporate real-world items such as digital wearables, the GPS on your mobile or existing health apps to track the user’s movements. It can also work on its own without the wearables.
Turn it on when you are out on a jog or a run and it will start tracking your stats such as distance, pace, number of steps etc. Some might even come with a calorie burn rate too (although I’ve not seen that yet). Once you’ve completed your workout, the rewards will appear, subject to network health (Solana, I’m looking at you!)
An obvious risk is that your data related to the running of the app will be stored in a place where some central figure will have access to it. But hey, you’re already using FitBit, Apple Watch etc, what harm can there be, right?
How to Move2Earn?
A quick survey on the internet shows no shortage of Move2Earn apps to choose from. Most of them are about counting steps, like what FitBit and many digital wearables do. However, some of them try to go beyond that by including posture and body movement so that other forms of activity like push-ups. Playing soccer or cycling can also be included in the Move2Earn movement.
If this is something you’re keen to try out, here are a handful of apps for your consideration.
StepN is currently the hottest Move2Earn game. Built on the Solana ecosystem, it’s taking step-counting into the crypto-verse. Users download the StepN app, sign in and grab an activation code from either an existing user or the Discord channel to gain access to the app. Getting started comes with two options:
- If you want to get fit without earning anything, simply allow the app to access your physical activity, and you can start having the app count your steps.
- If you, like the majority of StepN users, want to earn crypto, then you’ll need to buy an NFT sneaker (floor price is around 12 SOL, approx. $1k right now). You’ll likely get the most basic sneaker, which will get leveled up the more you “wear” it when exercising.
The sneaker comprises the following attributes: Efficiency, Luck, Comfort and Resilience. It’s a combination of these factors that determines the sneaker’s price. The different levels, from basic to advance, are Walker or Trainer, Jogger and Runner.
Moving around indoors is known as Moonwalking and doesn’t count towards the steps. It’s an anti-cheating strategy implemented by the app designers to make things fair for everyone.
StepN Tokenomics (GST / GMT)
Two kinds of tokens are used in the StepN app: Green Satoshi Token (GST) and Green Metaverse Token (GMT). GST is the utility token that rewards users as they run and jog their way with the NFT sneaker. This token has an unlimited supply. These tokens are then burnt through various activities such as minting and repairing sneakers. GMT is the governance token that allows holders to vote on proposals and has a finite supply of 6 billion tokens. These were also used to raise money early in the project’s lifecycle.
With the recent listings of both tokens in centralised exchanges such as Binance and Kraken, the price of these tokens has had moonboys ecstatic. Priced at $3.31 for $GMT and $6.40 for $GST, it’s one of the better-performing cryptos currently against the dour backdrop of a slumpy market. By better I mean a better than 2,000% increase for GMT over the past 90 days, while GST is up a more mundane 150%+ even as most tokens have lost 20-30% or more over the same period.
Unlike StepN and other step-counting apps, Dotmoov focuses on sports, specifically soccer/football for now, and branching out into dancing. They do this by having developed a “proprietary artificial intelligence system, some advanced computer vision algorithms and an arbitration engine that detects the human body and its various limb positions, followed by a scoring algorithm to measure the player’s skill.”, as explained on their website.
Currently known as the soccer app that lets you earn crypto”, it allows different players worldwide to play against each other in friendly competitions. There are also NFTs of virtual soccer balls you can collect (and sell in the marketplace).
The MOOV token is a utility token that players can use to buy and rent NFTs. It’s also used to place bets to take on Legendary Challenges, where players challenge the top-ranked skilled players. They are earned through challenges and completing milestones within the app. You can also stake the token to earn yield. There is a hard cap of 1 billion tokens, of which 32% of them were used to raise funds from investors, and the team retains 10%. The rest are divvied up to provide liquidity and reserves for a foundation and develop the ecosystem through partnerships and marketing. If you’re interested in picking it up, it’s available in PancakeSwap, Uniswap and Gate.io. The token is supported as an ERC20, BEP20 and also on the Polygon network.
Currently, the token is priced at $0.0433886 from Coingecko at the time of writing.
Move2Earn isn’t just the exclusive domain of start-up crypto projects. Fitness companies are also muscling in to get a chunk of the crypto pie by bringing their expertise in health and fitness to the table, combining that with the crypto-earning aspect. The following two companies showcased below are just some of the available examples in the market.
PUML Better Health
PUML, short for Personal Unit and Movement Levels”, is an Australian-based app designed to reward you for exercising, doing meditation, and getting good sleep! It works as an app on its own, or it can also sync up with a variety of wearables such as Apple Watch, Garmin, FitBit etc., to get the most out of your workout activity. Challenges in the app are open to anyone who wants to participate. Corporates and brands also sponsor these. There is also a premium version of the app that requires an upfront payment to unlock videos and more content.
They also have a corporate wellness program designed for companies to engage their employees to lead a healthier and fitter life. Employees can have inter-company wellness challenges as a team-building exercise and be rewarded for participation. Some of their corporate clients include Deloitte, Western Union and TagHeuer, to name a few.
The PUML token is issued as a reward for users and can be used to exchange for real-world items or cryptocurrency. You can also donate them to charity or use them to buy NFTs of featured up-and-coming Australian athletes. The token is trading at around $0.061306 at the time of writing, according to CoinGecko.
OliveX, a subsidiary of Animoca Brands, is a move by the latter to delve further into the metaverse following their stake in Sandbox. Instead of pure games, they’re gamifying the fitness world with strategies to entice gamers. One excellent example is the Dustland Runner app. Touted as “the world’s first Proof of Workout” game, running with the app unlocks a complicated story of survival together with the ability to collect NFTs and crypto. Every day, there is a mission consisting of 5 audio files and some items to collect. The audio segments are revealed when you’ve exercised a certain amount (not as much as you’d think it necessary!).
There’s also Dustland Rider, an app that utilises Bluetooth sensors on exercise cycles with similar game mechanics as the Runner app. This is still a work-in-progress.
The company aims to leverage its connection to the Sandbox metaverse by becoming the premier company for fitness brands that want to bring fitness to the metaverse.
DOSE has the most complete white paper of all the fitness apps covered. Issued by OliveX, it is an ERC20 utility token issued to users for participating in the challenges and unlocking game modes within the apps it supports. The total supply of DOSE sits at 5 billion, and it’s on the Polygon network, making transactions much cheaper than being on the main Ethereum network.
The token carries a value of $0.112339 at the time of writing, according to CoinGecko.
The fitness app most reminiscent of Pokemon Go is GenoPets. Instead of capturing Pokemons in the wild and taming them to fight battles, you get a baby GenoPet for free, or you can buy one on the secondary market that comes with some solid stats. As you exercise, you gain XP, which is then used to grow your pet to acquire skills useful in battles later. I’d consider it mainly to be a Play2Earn game with a Move2Earn element to it.
What makes GenoPets interesting compared to other Play2Earn games is its game mechanics, which feature both a paid and unpaid version. As a free user, you can level up your pet through exercise and XP, and, at some point, when you’re ready, you can sell it on the secondary market and might be able to make some serious cash, especially if it has some rare attributes.
Highly-skilled pets engage in battle with each other, which is why some players might want to focus on this aspect of the game and are willing to plop down some serious cash in exchange for a grinder’s hard work for raising their pet.
If you want to get more out of the game, purchasing a Habitat for the pet is the key to unlocking the Play2Earn aspect of the game. With the Habitat, your pets can live in it to upgrade their skills, or you can lease it out to other players. One pet per Habitat, though. Once you have a Habitat, you can also craft Gene Crystals used to “turbocharge” the pet itself. All of these, including the pet, can be sold on the secondary market to other players to earn cash or crypto.
Tokenomics (KI / GENE)
There are two types of tokens in GenoPets: $KI and $GENE. The former is earned together with the XP for leveling up the pets. $GENE is the governance token involved in the initial token distribution for fund-raising. While $KI looks like an inflationary reward token that is burnt when used to upgrade habitats and level up pets, $GENE has a fixed supply of 100 million, of which 41% is with the community and as rewards, 32.5% is used in a private sale, and the team has 25%. Only 1.5% is open for public sale.
The price of $GENE is currently at $14.45, according to CoinGecko.
Other Move2Earn dApps
The apps listed above are by no means representative of the trend. I highlighted them to show the variety of apps there are out there. Even with an app like StepN, there are other variations out in the market. These variations can be widely-categorised into two types:
Game Mechanics – Apps like JumpN and CycGo fall into this category. They have similar game mechanics to StepN with the two-token reward system and buying a virtual item to match the activity. In the case of JumpN, there’s a choice of regular jump-rope kind of jumping versus Club mode for users, together with the requirements of buying either a virtual jump rope or a wrist tag like the kind worn by clubgoers. With CycGo, it’s buying a virtual bicycle while cycling to earn rewards.
Exercise Format – These apps have a similar exercise format of step-counting. Apps like SweatCoin, SprintN, and Step, to name a few, focus on earning with your own two feet and no other extra implements. You run, you sweat, you earn.
The Move2Earn movement is just getting started. As the various apps duke it out to get the maximum number of users, what I see is a bigger trend of taking experiences and stuffing them into measurable exchange value experiences. “Since you’re doing it anyway, why not make some money on the side?” is the benign reason given to those who are already motivated to begin with. “Why not make some money while starting a new habit?” is the line given to hook people into using them.
What happens to a society, in which almost every activity is tied to monetary compensation? Will we see a proliferation of other “xxx2Earn” trends like Read2Earn, Share2Earn, EatHealthy2Earn, Vote2Earn etc? Rather than pursuing something for the joy of exploring and the sake of satisfying curiosity, I’m afraid that we are being guided to do activities where the primary focus is on the level of monetary compensation we can get for doing it.
As mentioned by Yanis Varoufakis in his book Talking To My Daughter About The Economy, volunteering to help someone in need and paying someone to do the same action shapes us in different ways.
When being kind for the sake of kindness itself is secondary to getting paid for being kind, we could end up as a slightly more selfish society than we already are.