. 3 min read

Stepn Reportedly to Lay Off 100 Employees Amid Market Downturn, Company Denies It

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Play-to-earn game Stepn, which lets users buy non-fungible tokens non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in the form of running shoes and earn native crypto GMT through jogging, reportedly started a major layoff of its contract workers amid a market downturn – but the team behind the app denies firing staff.

The South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported that Find Satoshi Labs, Stepn’s parent company, has terminated the contracts of more than 100 community moderators of its social media channels, as well as its “ambassadors” who promote the “move-to-earn” fitness app. It cited the crypto news outlet Wu Blockchain and “people familiar with the matter.”

“It began to focus on promoting its parent company, Find Satoshi Lab, and mainly focused on new projects to be released, such as the NFT exchange market,” Wu Blockchain reported. “In addition, the large amount of GMT’s investor SAFT will be unlocked in March next year.”

The SCMP, however, added that a Stepn representative denied that the team was laying off staff. Instead, they claimed that “the company had “parted ways” with “volunteer” moderators who had not been active recently,” as well as that it’s “actively hiring for several roles.”

The representative reportedly declined to say whether those “volunteers” were ever paid, and they did not reply to questions about the company’s current relationship with its ambassadors.

Furthermore, the company told Decrypt that,

These are “baseless claims that are factually inaccurate.”

Per a blog post published on Tuesday, titled “an open letter to the STEPN Community,” the team has been “reflecting on the past year,” claiming that:

“The slower pace of the crypto market leaves room for creativity–we are feeling inspired. The current market conditions make this the perfect time to build. […] STEPN was our first project; DOOAR followed soon after. Now it’s time to expand the Find Satoshi Lab family. That’s why we’re heads down building.”

Stepn co-Founder Yawn Rong wrote on Twitter that same day that, over the next few weeks, the team will be “shifting gears” as it evolves its vision.

A shift in numbers

Stepn was once a very popular app, and its shoes were highly sought-after NFTs. However, things started to shift for the company as it saw fewer users, and the market began its ongoing downturn.

According to Dune Analytics data, the app, which was launched last December, saw the highest number of monthly active users in May this year, recording 705,452 of them, which was a jump from 317,053 a month before. The April number itself was quite a jump from 84,442 users seen in March.

In June this year, the number dropped from over 700,000 to 478,800 and then to 245,000 in July. It continued the drop since, recording some 140,000 users in August and less than 99,000 users in September.

STEPN Monthly Active User (MAU):


Source: dune.com

Existing daily active users dropped from nearly 89,000 in late May to 5,650 in late September. New daily active users fell from 16,400 in May to 266 in late September.

On Thursday morning (UTC time), the app’s native token GMT was trading at $0.5676. It was down 11% in a day, 10% in a week, 24% in a month, and 86% from its all-time high of $4.11 recorded in April this year.

GMT 8-month price chart:

Source: coingecko.com

Meanwhile, as reported, NFT trading volumes fell 97% from their record high, from $17 billion at the very beginning of 2022 to $466 million in September.

Besides the general crypto market downturn, there is also the issue of regulators increasingly looking into every aspect of the industry. Click the links below to read more about it.


Learn more:
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European Regulator Lists What is Needed for ‘Responsible Crypto Sector’

Biden Administration Urges Speed Up of Crypto Regulation as Recession Fears Rise
U.S. CFTC Shakes Crypto Industry After Action Against DAO – Who’s Next?

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