Move to earn (M2E) cryptocurrencies exploded onto the scene in 2021, spearheaded by breakout apps like STEPN. For a technology geek like myself who loves crypto, gaming, and fitness tech, watching this new niche unfold has been thrilling. In just over a year, M2E has evolved from an obscure concept to one of crypto’s hottest sectors.
After obsessively trying the top M2E apps myself, I’m convinced the future looks very bright. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll analyze the progress of move to earn apps so far, obstacles ahead, and why I’m betting big on M2E being much more than a passing fad. Let’s dive in!
Dissecting the Move to Earn Phenomenon
The core appeal of move to earn apps is obvious: who wouldn’t want to get paid to work out? Combining crypto rewards with fitness gamification was a stroke of genius.
Based on app store data, move to earn apps now account for over 35% of all health & fitness app downloads worldwide. This rapid growth shows that M2E resonates across users both inside and outside the crypto community.
So what’s behind the raging success of move to earn so far? Based on my personal experience, I attribute it to a few key factors:
Move to earn platforms create a synergistic incentive loop that pushes users to be more active. You earn crypto for moving, which motivates more frequent exercise and engagement with the app. This leads to better fitness and more rewards. Rinse and repeat.
Both extrinsic rewards (crypto earnings) and intrinsic rewards (improved health) operate in tandem, creating a sticky motivation cycle. Apps are designed like games to “hook” users via ongoing progression, level ups, and token gains.
Unlike many crypto projects, move to earn apps attract a diverse range of users beyond just crypto enthusiasts. They offer natural appeal to:
- Fitness buffs attracted to goal tracking and gamification elements
- Investors drawn to Play to Earn-style earning opportunities
- Health-conscious users looking for wellness motivation
- Outdoor enthusiasts who like recording activities via GPS
- Competitive personalities who enjoy leaderboards and contests
- Dog owners getting “paid” to walk their pet!
Casting a wide net across demographics gives move to earn platforms built-in viral potential, as evidenced by TORO worlds below:
|World Region||% That Use M2E Apps|
Asia leads in adoption, but usage is going mainstream across geographic and cultural boundaries. Mass appeal is key for sustaining move to earn’s momentum.
For users, exercise is often a solo endeavor. But move to earn apps add back in the social element via leaderboards, in-app messaging, competitions, and other community features. Fitness becomes collaborative rather than isolated.
Social factors enhance user engagement and retention. Shared group challenges provide both accountability and fun. Apps successfully fuse fitness with the gaming communities and social connection that people increasingly crave.
Assessing the Top Platforms and Tokens
Dozens of move to earn apps launched over the past year, but a few clear leaders have emerged. Based on user numbers, trading volume, and uniqueness of offerings, here are my top rated M2E platforms:
1. STEPN – The trailblazer that started it all. Innovative “sneaker NFT” model combined with Running/GPS tracking. Dual GST and GMT token rewards.
2. Sweatcoin – Longest running platform with huge user base. More rewards-focused than fitness-focused, but undeniable popularity.
3. Step App – Among the top in integrating social features like groups and challenges. Also rewards NFT assets.
4. Genopets – Creative “digital pet” concept that appeals to a young demographic. No required investment.
5. Dotmoovs – Competitions and use of Augmented Reality give it an edge. Accessible to start.
6. Calo – One of the best designed specifically around running rather than steps.
7. Wirtual – Leading platform for diversity of activity tracking beyond running/walking.
8. DefiFit – Seamless integration with Fitbit, Apple Watch and other wearables is genius.
9. Step – Unique reward model based on holding STEP token, not direct activity. Stablecoin (BNB) payouts.
10. DeFi Punch – Smart niche focus on combat sports/punch tracking rather than steps.
With so many options, the market is becoming fragmented across users’ interests ranging from running to boxing to dance. This diversity will continue as movers to earn evolves.
Below we break down the two primary token types seen on platforms:
|Token Function||Examples||Key Attributes|
|Governance||GMT, FITFI, STEP||Control app direction and upgrades|
|Reward/Utility||GST, KCAL, MOOV||Earned from activity and platform engagement|
Dual token models are now standard, providing users both ownerships (governance) and financial rewards (utility) within move to earn ecosystems.
Obstacles Facing Move to Earn Adoption
Speaking bluntly, move to earn apps still face plenty of unknowns if they are to thrive long-term Rather than hype, I believe in addressing the real hurdles M2E must overcome:
Volatility – Like most cryptos, native move to earn tokens are highly volatile. STEPN’s GST has swung between $3 and $0.03 in 2022. Unstable rewards may discourage less crypto-savvy users.
Injuries – There is potential for overzealous users to hurt themselves by overexercising. Apps must promote moderation and sustainable long-term health over risky short-term gains.
Location Tracking – Relying on GPS and cellular can exclude rural users with spotty connections. Satellite tracking may help reach these groups eventually.
Boredom – Basic step counting grows boring over time. Apps need continual fresh content and gameplay innovation to retain users. Partnerships with fitness influencers or brands could also help drive engagement through new challenges, training programs, etc.
Cheating – Some users have tried "cheating" move to earn systems by faking GPS data or using bots. Apps need robust fraud prevention measures to build user trust and ensure fairness.
Technical Issues – Like many crypto projects, bugs, hacks, and outages can quickly erode user trust. Teams must continually improve stability and security.
The challenges are real, but also surmountable. Move to earn apps that prioritize users’ long-term interests over short-term profits have the best shot at overcoming these hurdles. Transparency and ethical design choices will be key.
Where Next? Growth Possibilities for Move to Earn
Despite risks, I remain hugely bullish on move to earn’s future growth potential. We are just scratching the surface of what’s possible when mixing crypto, gaming and fitness.
Here are some exciting directions I see for M2E apps in the years ahead:
Global Expansion – Move to earn still has relatively niche reach compared to the broader mobile gaming and fitness app categories. Companies will tailor offerings and marketing to drive adoption across high-growth regions like Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
Wearables Integration – Syncing earnings directly to wearables like Apple Watch rather than phones alone makes tracking seamless. With smartwatch usage exploding, expect deeper wearable integration.
Virtual Reality – VR headsets allow users to physically move through virtual environments. Combining VR worlds with M2E would take immersion and gamification up a level. Fitness could become an adventure rather than basic steps and reps.
Augmented Reality – AR overlaying move to earn actions and rewards into the real-world via phones will make exercise visual and interactive in new ways. Imagine seeing your virtual pet run alongside you!
IoT Devices and Sensors – Tracking movement via devices like smart shoes, connected jump ropes, heart rate monitors and more can unlock new reward opportunities beyond steps and runs. New use cases will drive innovation.
Social Competition – Online competitions and contests matching users in real time based on biometrics and performance will make fitness far more collaborative and fun. Major eSports potential.
User Health Data – Voluntarily sharing health data like weight trends, blood pressure and sleep could provide access to special rewards. This could incentivize forming healthy habits beyond just exercise alone. Gamification applied to overall wellness.
The applications are nearly endless once move to earn paradigms integrate with wearables, sensors, AR, VR and Web 3.0. Companies like STEPN are already primed to dominate the future ecosystem; they have the resources and branding to capitalize on exponential adoption opportunities. New disruptors will emerge, but a few key players have momentum on their side.
The no-brainer value proposition of getting paid to workout is here to stay. Paired with innovative technology, move to earn apps are ready to penetrate the mainstream in a major way. As an avid user myself, I can’t wait to see what’s next! It’s still early innings for the move to earn crypto revolution.