You can make real money every time you go for a walk, run, or do a gym workout. Instead of how many calories you burned, you will be counting how much money you made. Sounds too good to be true, like one of those Ponzi schemes, right? Well, in the world of crypto, it is possible with tremendous upside.
One of the emerging trends in the crypto space over the last two years has been GameFi, a combination of gaming and finance. It initially took off with a gamification concept called play-to-earn. This new gaming dynamic involves players owning their in-game assets and earning an income from completing daily quests.
And the game that put GameFi on the map of crypto land is Axie Infinity.
With more than 2.7 active monthly players (at its peak) and over $4 billion in NFT sales, Axie played a major role in driving NFT gaming adoption and onboarding millions of non-crypto natives.
At one point, players in countries like the Philippines made more money from playing Axie than from their full-time jobs. So play-to-earn was a big hit and has opened lucrative opportunities for players, investors, and traders.
But the GameFi industry doesn’t end with games only. There are many more casual activities in real life that can be gamified with crypto tokens and NFTs. One of them is blowing up right now and it involves move-to-earn GameFi applications. These are mainly fitness-based reward systems that may or may not require an initial investment.
Given how fast move-to-earn is growing, it can be challenging for you to devise a plan to find the most suitable app and start earning. With this in mind, we’ve created a comprehensive guide to help you understand the inner workings of move-to-earn applications and top five move-to-earn projects, as well as to acquaint you with the future direction of this GameFi vertical. So, let’s get started!
How to Start Earning Money on Move-to-earn Games?
You can make money on move-to-earn games in three main ways. Each way differs regarding risk appetite, technical expertise, and time availability requirements. We go into detail about each below.
Run & Earn
This is probably the easiest way to start earning crypto while exercising, with little to no downside risk. You can sign up on the move-to-earn platform, buy required NFTs, and start walking/running.
If you can’t afford to invest in NFTs or want to save money for other investments, there is another way to capitalize on move-to-earn games. With so many apps releasing a renting feature, you can now borrow NFTs and give the owners a slight cut of the profits. This lowers entry barriers for players and helps owners earn passive income.
The only downside of choosing this method is limited returns. Move-to-earn games set a cap on how much you can earn per day. Further, it requires you to spend more money on NFTs and tokens to increase your earning capacity.
Buyer behavior in the NFT market is rapidly shifting from speculation to utility-first investments. People are looking for NFTs that can generate cash flow, carry some form of utility, and be a part of bigger ecosystems in gaming and the metaverse. Move-to-earn NFTs share this same description, making them more valuable than most NFT collections.
However, you risk losing all your money when you end up on the wrong side of the trade. So, you first need to find move-to-earn games that offer free NFT mints. If there are none, you should invest when there’s enough liquidity in the market. Otherwise, the floor price keeps dropping every few sales, leading to a panic-selling event.
Furthermore, if you missed the public sale mint and chose to pick some NFTs from the secondary market, you should consider a few metrics based on your preference. If you want to flip quickly for a profit, it’s better to buy floor NFTs because they have more liquidity. On the other hand, if you want to use NFTs to earn crypto, you should go for ones that have more rare traits and that increase your earning capacity.
Move-to-earn games have native tokens to reward players and give them voting rights to participate in governance. These tokens rise in value when the game becomes popular and garners a loyal user base. So, if you manage to buy native tokens in the early stages, you can reap astronomical returns.
But how do you find these tokens at discounted prices before they hit the market? The answer lies in crypto launchpads. Projects choose to raise capital through an Initial Game Offering (IGO). To enter these IGOs, you must buy launchpad tokens and secure a guaranteed allocation.
Before making any investment, you need to first choose a launchpad meeting your requirements. You need to consider different factors, including the project vetting process, multi-blockchain support, and exposure to different crypto verticals.
If you want to find move-to-earn projects, it is better to select established launchpads with a major focus on GameFi. Some of the well-known and most-trusted launchpads are BSCPad, DAO Maker, and Seedify.
Top 5 Move-to-earn Fitness Apps
The GameFi market has dozens of move-to-earn applications, so many that it’s hard to tell the difference. While everyone aims to help people get fit and healthy, the reward system and overall game mechanics are not the same.
So, you must be careful when investing in a move-to-earn fitness app. To make it easier for you, we prepared a list of the top five move-to-earn games based on their user base, initial investment, gameplay, and economic upside.
STEPN is the biggest move-to-earn or Web3 lifestyle application in the market right now. It has risen to popularity fairly quickly compared to Axie Infinity. In less than a few months after launching on major exchanges, the market cap of STEPN’s native token GMT crossed the $2.5 billion mark. Along with the token price, the number of active players increased from a few thousand to nearly a million active players.
Before we lay out how to get started, you need to understand the three main gaming elements of STEPN: game modes, energy system, and earning capacity. Game modes are three types of play inside the STEPN app. You have a solo, marathon, and background mode.
When you are playing solo, each energy bar gives you a five-minute earning window. If your sneaker NFT has three energy bars, you can earn GST/GMT tokens for 15 minutes.
With a marathon, you can travel longer distances and stand a chance to earn better rewards. But it will only be conducted either weekly or monthly. Finally, the background mode is a hands-off approach to counting the number of steps directly from the fitness app.
At the moment, marathon and background modes are still under development.
After game modes, we have the energy system and earning capacity. STEPN designed the energy system in a way that rewards players who complete fitness challenges, increasing their NFT sneaker level with more earning capacity.
For example, if you have a level 30 sneaker, you can earn tokens continuously for about 100 minutes. If you don’t have rare sneakers, you can concentrate on maintaining an optimum pace based on the type of sneaker you own.
Now that you understand how STEPN works, we can dive into the steps involved for you to start earning:
- Install the STEPN application on your Android or iOS device.
- Sign up and create a STEPN wallet on Solana or Binance platform.
- Fund your wallet with sufficient SOL to buy sneaker NFTs.
- Buy NFTs from the in-game marketplace.
- Start exercising to begin your healthy lifestyle with STEPN.
In the early days, you should try to be consistent and burn reward tokens to increase your sneaker level. Once you gain more energy caps, you can easily make your investment in no time. In the process, it is recommended not to try and rig the system, as STEPN has many anti-cheating methods to punish bad players.
Looking at the market size of STEPN, we naturally think it must be the first move-to-earn application in Web3. But, we couldn’t be more wrong.
Launched in 2016, Sweatcoin was the first to introduce the walk-to-earn gamified concept through a fitness app. Since its launch, the app has garnered more than 110 million users, ranked in the top 10 fitness apps on App Store, and paid out nearly $70 million to users.
The compelling aspect of Sweatcoin that other games on this list don’t feature is a free-to-play option. You don’t have to invest to access the app and start earning. You can simply sign up, allow the app to track your movements, and collect your daily rewards.
According to tokenomics, you get one SWEAT token for every thousand steps taken. This number gradually goes down because new token production costs increase each passing year. By 2031, the reward for the same amount of steps will only be 0.02 SWEAT tokens.
Although the rewards are not eye-popping, Sweatcoin is still a fine application to earn tokens with more utility. The team plans to add more value for users by introducing a referral bonus, a crypto exchange, and an NFT marketplace. Ultimately, Sweatcoin is one of the leading apps to drive mass adoption without focusing too much on incentive-driven growth.
3. Step App (FITFI)
Step App is the first protocol to launch in the fitness-based Step metaverse. It aims to create a metaverse for accompanying different move-to-earn apps and growing a thriving community in the fitness industry. The app plans to onboard users with various incentive programs and social experiences.
The Step app is trying to bridge the gap between physical and virtual worlds by combining augmented reality and gamification. Step App enhances the user experience of exercising to earn crypto tokens by having player-vs-player matches. This introduces more competition and social networks for people to take inspiration and translate that into an active lifestyle.
Before earning, you first need to stake FITFI tokens and “sneak” NFTs. The app rewards players for completing fitness tasks in multiple ways, including staking rewards, token buy-backs, liquidity incentives, and token burns. While this helps to increase token value, you can also make money by selling rare sneaker NFTs.
Step App is growing its user base at a record pace by onboarding many influencers in the sports and fitness industry as brand ambassadors. One of them is Usain Bolt. The team is also drawing community interest by providing equal opportunity for everyone to join the token generation event (TGE).
Until now, we saw Web3 fitness apps with NFT integration and token reward systems. But we never came across actual gameplay. This changes with Genopets.
Genopets is creating the first-ever move-to-earn mobile game where you will be given a pet to take care of while engaging in different physical activities. So, you can earn while you play with your pet. You can even take on battles with other players and win handsome rewards.
Besides Genopets, there is another important game element called Habitat. A Habitat is like a home to your Genopet. It is a place where you can craft in-game items for battles and earn tokens for completing daily tasks.
Genopets employs a dual-token system with GENE and KI tokens. While the former is a governance token used for voting and staking, the latter is a utility token used for minting new Habitats and game items.
While the above four apps focus on walking or running, MetaGym emphasizes on rewarding users who are passionate about performing strength and functional workouts in the gym. It is one of the first Web3 exercise apps to focus on gym-based training. It aims to create a global community that leads to a healthy body, mind, and spirit.
MetaGym has adopted the exercise-to-earn gamification concept to reward active users with NFTs and tokens. Along with gym workouts, you also earn rewards for following a balanced diet, maintaining a good sleep score, and practicing meditation.
You can get started on MetaGym for free. But the returns will be limited. To increase earning capacity, you can buy a MetaGym Buddy avatar. Further, you can purchase different character boosts, like clothing, to enhance your avatar’s performance.
The way MetaGym works is also simple and doesn’t involve much crypto complexity.
You first download the MetaGym app and create an account. After you sign-up, you need to connect your wallet and ensure that you have an avatar. Or else, you can buy one from the marketplace.
Once the wallet is connected, you must switch Bluetooth on and connect your heart rate monitor device. Then, select the type of exercise you want to do and maintain your heart rate in a given range to get maximum earnings.
You earn MetaGym coins (MGCN) after completing the gym sessions. MGCN is the native token with a capped supply of 2 billion and is used for participating in DAO. On the other hand, the utility token fueling the MetaGym platform is Heart Rate Token (HRT). You can use HRT tokens to make in-game purchases and work on avatar upgrades.
Future Direction of Web3 Fitness Apps
The idea of incentivizing an active lifestyle is revolutionary. But when implemented at scale, it has proven to be unsustainable. Similar to play-to-earn games like Axie Infinity, move-to-earn projects also show signs of high network inflation with decreasing player interest.
Those players who invested in the early stages got great returns. But others are left holding tokens and NFTs that cannot be sold without high price slippage. So, it’s critical for move-to-earn projects to develop a sustainable economy that balances the supply and demand of native tokens.
While robust tokenomics is a must moving forward, it is also essential to lower entry barriers. With NFTs costing thousands of dollars, it is unrealistic to assume that we can tap into mass adoption through GameFi. And if someone simply pays for more NFTs to get the majority of the rewards pool, it defeats the purpose of democratizing access to asset ownership and move-to-earn.
So, it’s paramount for these apps to create a sustainable token economy with multiple demand generation channels, while providing a level playing field for all players involved in the ecosystem to maintain relevance and drive mainstream adoption.
What is the best move-to-earn game?
The quality of a move-to-earn game depends on its monetary upside and overall user experience. Considering these two factors, STEPN stands on top of the list of best move-to-earn games. It has unique gameplay with multiple modes and a liquid NFT marketplace for easy exchange. Moreover, the rewards can range from $20 to $200 per day based on your earning capacity.
Can you earn crypto by playing games?
The GameFi industry introduced a game-changing concept called play-to-earn. When integrated with games, play-to-earn empowers players to have true asset ownership, giving them a chance to transfer value off the platform or game. Further, P2E games incentivize players to complete quests and reach certain in-game milestones.
Now, this dynamic is shifting gears to more casual activities, like walking, running, and gyming. This has created a new GameFi narrative called move-to-earn. It is similar to play-to-earn, but you don’t have to spend hours daily to make some passive income.
So, yes, you can earn crypto via playing games.
How much can you make using STEPN?
The earning capacity keeps fluctuating because of the price swings in the crypto market. At its peak, STEPN users were making anywhere between $20-30 in Green Satoshi Token (GST), every 10 minutes of the earning window.
So, if you have a maxed-out NFT sneaker, you can easily make more than $300 daily. However, considering the current market conditions, the prices of GMT and GST have taken a huge hit. As a result, earnings won’t be the same as they were before.
What NFTs pay you to run?
Move-to-earn NFTs enable you to claim rewards for running activities. You have to connect your wallet containing the NFT to the desired platform and start running.
Based on your pace and consistency, you will be rewarded with crypto tokens. You can later exchange these tokens for fiat using a crypto exchange.
Can you get paid to work out in a gym?
Innovative projects like MetaGym made it possible to earn money while working out inside a gym. You can choose the type of workout and maintain a high heart rate in the given range to earn MetaGym coins. You can also buy a MetaGym avatar to increase your rewards.
Can I earn money just by walking?
Yes, there are many Web3 lifestyle apps offering rewards for people who love walking daily. Sweatcoin, Step App, and STEPN are popular move-to-earn platforms offering users to earn in-app tokens for walking. Even if you don’t want to walk daily, you can still make passive income by renting out your NFTs.
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