【STEPN Close Interview & Interview with Yawn, Co-Founder】The Power of the Leading Web 3.0 Community and the Project's Prospects
WebX, one of the largest Web 3.0 conferences in Japan, was held at the Tokyo International Forum for two days from July 25 to 26.
More than 100 projects exhibited at the event booths set up around the pitch stage in Hall E, where visitors could experience each project and exchange information.
Iolite closely focused on one of the most active projects at the conference, STEPN.
The report includes the official WebX side event on July 25-26, the official STEPN AMA followed by the official community event held on July 29, and an exclusive interview with STEPN co-founder Yawn Rong (hereinafter referred to as "Yawn"), which was made possible through close coverage.
I want people to enjoy playing games while gaining experience and knowledge through STEPN
Exclusive interview with co-founder Yawn
——How did you come to develop STEPN?
Yawn：Everything got started after co-founder Jerry Huang ("Jerry") moved into my neighborhood. The license plate of my car can be read as “CRYPTO” so he thought, "Is there anyone around who is interested in blockchain technology?" So he came over to my place, and we became friends.
——Were you afraid of crypto assets at the time?
Yawn：I myself am not afraid of new things. Of course, I researched bitcoin and other currencies on the Internet and decided to give it a try. I had no preconceived notions that it was suspicious.
——Jerry and you co-founded STEPN, would you mind explaining your roles a little bit more detail?
Yawn：At first, there were no clear roles between two of us, and we brainstormed about games and exchanged various ideas. Later, we split into two teams, currently Jerry is mainly focusing on the game development. I am now in charge of the token economics and marketing elements of the game. I’m also in charge of exposing myself into external media such as taking an interview this time.
At the very beginning, especially right after STEPN was released, Jerry and I both attended several externally-facing meetings, but I have been mainly taking care of this role over last year. As he possesses a deep technical knowledge, hence we thought it is best for him to spend his 100% time to the development.
However, if a problem pops up when we start a new product, I join the development team and come back to marketing after things have settled down. Now that the new product, "Gas Hero," has settled down, I am working on the next product, including marketing.
It is inevitable that we run into several unexpected problems during new product launch. We solve problems as they arise. Since we are a new company, we don’t particularly stick on the assigned roles or responsibilities but cover several matters regardless.
——Likely there was no “move-to-earn” concept and featured product at the time of STEPN’s release, was there any product you referred to? Which element(s) would you consider utmost important to build tokenomics?
Yawn：In 2012, there was a game where you earn points by physically moving around. The concept was invented based on the inspiration of the game, and modeled after it.
As for the token economy, we firmly believe that our games are supported by our loyal users who have been playing it for a long time. They are the reason we can move on to the build of next ecosystem.
Last year, only few of our players had 20 energies, but now more players have that amount of energies. The more people are motivated to do more things in STEPN, and the more people become core users, the stronger the game will become as a whole.
Currently, STEPN offers a badge system for the subscribing users. We continue to focus on building the overall ecosystem via, for example incentive models such as airdrops to the subscribing users, so that the users may wish to reinvest more upon next actions.
Further, this movement positively influences the new users , who will gradually actively participate into the game, and review the ecosystem. As this cycle repeats itself, the overall ecosystem grows. We firmly believe this is important.
——The collaboration with LINE Corporation must have a huge impact to attract new users to STEPN. Would you mind sharing the current situation?
Yawn：We are making a steady progress behind the scenes on the collaboration with LINE. Please look forward to an announcement in the near future.
——How do you differentiate between existing Move to Earn and X to Earn?
Yawn：While it has an aspect of “walk and earn money (then sell it)”, Move to Earn has many other ways to play, such as selling and buying things. That is the game aspect of STEPN.
The simple tagline “walk and earn” is eye-catching, , but it is not only the way to enjoy the game. In fact, I also mint sneakers, buy and sell NFT (GEM), and so on.
It is different from a simple game of buying and selling some goods, and I think that is why users enjoy playing our game. The concept of the game is a "lifestyle app," so that's another thing that makes it different from other games.
——What would you like to say to the STEPN community and to those who are about to start playing STEPN?
Yawn：Since STEPN is an application that enables you to earn GMT, I would be happy if you could then explore other various services by spending GMT.
Especially if you are a new user, I think STEPN can be used for an introductory application to grasp what Web 3.0 is, such as exposing yourself to crypto, or learning how to trade NFT. Rather than simply walking around and earning money, you will gain a lot of experience and knowledge by using STEPN, and I hope that you will enjoy that aspect through STEPN as well.
A great success as an official side event of WebX
MOOAR x STEPN Lounge"
“MOOAR x STEPN Lounge" was held at XEX Nihombashi The BAR, as a side event of WebX to promote interaction and provide an exciting experience for the MOOAR and STEPN users.
The venue was filled with the enthusiasm of more than 50 MOOAR and STEPN users. Even those who had never met each other before were able to have fun together through MOOAR and STEPN as the common topic.
The event also featured a rock-paper-scissors tournament for a chance to win a Gas Hero badge, STEPN x Ghost in the shell Genesis, and OG sneakers, as well as MOOAR NFT giveaways and an AI-based NFT generation experience, and more.
The event was a testament to Yawn's own willingness to further engage in dialogue with the STEPN community.
The strength of the community stood out
STEPN JAPAN MEETUP July
On July 29, "STEPN JAPAN MEETUP July" was held at Belle Salle Hanzomon as the STEPN's official AMA and official community event.
The Convention & AMA session started at10:00 a.m., and participants recieved the special event T-shirt There was also a raffle to win NFT sneakers. The event followed by a small-grouped MOVE event for a valuable occasion to get to know each other in “Toyosu Gururi Park” area, and concluded with a well-organized barbecue party.
More than 250 users participated in the AMA,MOVE, and the berbeque party in total. Although it was an extensively hot day in Tokyo and the event was held under the scorching sun, no one reported getting sick or injured thanks to the meticulous attention paid by the event staff group, which was formed by volunteers.
Below is a partial report of Yawn's Convention & AMA held at the Belle Salle Hanzomon venue.
Q.It would be more interesting to add move-related gameplay to STEPN. What is the latest development status and release date for the marathon mode?
We have been discussing how to implement the marathon mode for over a year. Finally, we have recently found a way that we think might work.
There were two specific options for implementing the marathon mode.
The first is to do it in the current roadmap. More specifically speaking, it is to provide additional utility to the purple GEM. But at the same time, we also want STEPN to be kept as a simple game. I we give it too many features, new users may get confused, so we want to keep the gameplay as simple as possible.
As a consequence of the first discussion, we also came up with the second option: an introduction of a new STEPN. In fact, today is the first time I am talking about this.
Just as famous games and stories have series 1, 2, and 3, there’s no reason that STEPN can’t release 1 and 2.
The great thing about STEPN is that existing games tend to lose users of the previous title when titles 2 and 3 are released. However, even after STEPN2 (tentatively) comes out, people can continue playing STEPN1 as well. I believe this will solve the problem we faced with the marathon mode. Our team is working on the development of this project, so please wait a little longer for more information to be released.
Q.What is the status of Apple Watch support? If you are working on Apple Watch support, please share the progress of it.
For a long time, we have been trying to find the answer to this question, "Will people cheat when using the AppleWatch?" we have been examining the possibility of it. Unfortunately, we have come to the conclusion that cheating on AppleWatch cannot be prevented.
Yet, the only method that can not be used to cheat is the cellular version of the AppleWatch. We know that only devices with SIM cards in them can not be cheated.
However, looking at the statistics, we found that only less than 10% of AppleWatch users are using the SIM card version of device. Hence, we have placed on hold to explore this further, as it doesn’t sound fair to state we support AppleWatch even though only 10% or less AppleWatch users can genuinely use it for STEPN.
Technically speaking, the SIM card is not something that can actually be inserted, but rather an AppleWatch that is compatible with a digital SIM card called an eSIM, but the price is higher than the normal version of AppleWatch, and additional monthly charge would be incurred. That’s why the total users of SIM-versioned AppleWatch is not large.
Q.Gas Hero’s batch is released based onthe consumption of eGST, but why ape realm (Ethereum realm)?
We were originally planning to release the Gas Hero badge from any realm.However, we ran into two problems.
The first problem is that the gas fee for the Solana chain is only 5 GST, which means that if you want to get the Gas Hero batch for 5 GST, you would have to do it about 2,000 transactions. So we thought it would be impractical for users to count exactly 2,000 times.
The second was that it was not technically possible to implement a gas hero batch in any realm at the same time. We had noticed some users acting strangely over the last year or so, and it seemed that some users had scripted some bots, which was forever moving 1 GST between Spending and Wallet.
Additionally, when transferring tokens and NFTs from Spending to Wallet, the user is not paying 100% of the gas fee, but the team is partially subsidizing it. So, the number of transactions caused by the bot negatively impacts the team’s treasury balance.
So, releasing a way to earn the Gas Hero badge in all realms may introduce contradictory situation because the users who scripted the bot (which in turn, destroys the ecosystem) will be entitled to earn badge. .
In addition, the bots can easily perform 2,000 transactions in a day or two, whereas it would take the human users a day or two to do so.
With these challenges, if we were to release the Gas Hero batchin three realms, the bot would snatch all the badges. This is not very fair.
All things considered, we have limited it to the Ethereum chain. In the Ethereum realm, you only have to do 34 transactions to get a badge, so this can be counted by human users.
Q.What is the underlying philosophy or fundamental pillar of released products by FSL? If there is a common way of development,and foundational vision in order to build projects, could you please elaborate on that?
When we built STEPN, we had only one vision. At the time, we thought we were going to build something that had both social and gaming elements through this application. But as we were building it, we ran into two problems.
I think the one that played well before us was Axie Infinity, but in reality, we had to get used to use several different products, such as using Magic Eden and Phantom's wallet. That is a very high hurdle for new users.
We wanted to combine the wallet, the DEX, and the marketplace into one, and that's exactly why we created STEPN.
That's why we created the marketplace and DEX when the STEPN framework was completed. In the process of building the marketplace, we recognized that it was a product that could exist on its own.
MOOAR users are NFT users, and the vast majority of them do very little trading of tokens and primarily trade NFTs to earn GMT. So, while learning about GMT, they can take advantage of MOOAR's technology and convert it to future products.
To set up the recently released product line, we first created the STEPN framework and built the infrastructure in it. Now we are using that infrastructure to build the next product.
The most recent product is Gas Hero. Gas Hero will have a very strong social component. STEPN is the app to incentivise users to move,, and then the social element will be handled by Gas Hero.
We believe that the social component will become even stronger, as even Elon Musk has turned Twitter into "X". That's why we created Gas Hero, which incorporates social elements. STEPN is for our physical exercise, and Gas Hero is for our brain exercise.
Q.Is it possible to transfer purple GEMs from the current STEPN to STEPN2 (tentative)? Or is there a possibility that the use cases for purple GEMs will increase in STEPN?
STEPN2" is a tentative name, so everyone please calm down.
One thing to note is that all of the current use cases will stay within the current STEPN.
Q.How much energy do you spend each day?
I spend roughtly 35 energies.
Q.Is it the right understanding that some of the achievement badges that seem to be out of sync will eventually sync up, based on the metrics as of time when the user started playing STEPN, instead of the time when the badge system was released?
The badge system is an idea that was created fairly recently in the process of building the STEPN product, so some of it has not been counted since the first day you all started.
Currently there is one issue, for example we are unable to visualize "8% to earn this badge".
We recognize this as an issue in terms of how much more work we need to do to get each badge. We are considering improving this issue in the next step.
Retrospectively counting metrics accurately from the first day is very difficult, but we are working to go back as far as possible to reflect your achievements properly. I am personally very eager to get the badges myself, and I have asked the team to proritize this issue as soon as possible, so please stay tuned.
The series of STEPN events provided a glimpse into various aspects of the Web 3.0 community. The STEPN JAPAN MEETUP July was also a rare event in the Web 3.0 field that attracted more than 250 participants on a Saturday morning. It is unpredecended to have a Web 3.0 event that attracts more than 250 participants on a Saturday morning.
We were able to see many scenes throughout the event that Yawn actively discussed with participants that highlights the importance of dialogue with users. We are sure that this was well recognized by the participants too.
Even during berbeque party,, Yawn visited every seat and directly answer participants' questions. His eagerness to answer questions showed that he is committed to making STEPN even better.
It is very rare to find a community that is so tightly bondedbased on the concept of "building together" as a community. It is worthwhile to refer to this level of community management, even for those who are planning to start their own community or are already involved in community management.
To conclude, we were able to experiencevery meaningful moments together through our close focus to STEPN, surrounded by the strong community and the enthusiasm of Yawn and the project team.