Move-to-Earn App STEPN Hit Hard by China Ban

Chinese Players Restricted by STEPN

STEPN is cutting its services for players in mainland China, and the move has had a major impact on the app’s tokens. 

The move-to earn lifestyle app announced Thursday it would restrict users from mainland China from accessing its services to comply with local regulations. A post translated from Mandarin, the official STEPN Twitter account reads:

“In order to actively respond to relevant regulatory policies, STEPN will conduct an inventory of software users. If users in mainland China are found, STEPN will stop providing GPS to their accounts at 24:00 on July 15, 2022 (UTC+8) according to the terms of use.”

Follow-up posts encouraged users in mainland China to “make decisions about the handling of in-app assets,” in anticipation of the coming ban. The posts stated that STEPN had not been involved in any business or provided download channels to Chinese users since its launch. In the Twitter posts, STEPN maintained that compliance obligations were a top priority and adhered to all regulations. More than 10 hours after the original Mandarin post, an English translation informing users of the upcoming change was also posted in STEPN’s Discord server.

It is unclear why STEPN decided not to allow users to access the STEPN website from China. Since September 2021 when authorities cracked down on crypto-related activity in the region, several crypto exchanges have stopped offering their services to Chinese customers. Jason, a representative of STEPN, suggested a possible reason Friday morning in a Twitter Space conversation. Because part of the company’s technical team is based in China, they are “implicated” by Chinese crypto regulations by working for the app, he explained. 

STEPN’s Tokens Tumble

STEPN’s GMT and GST tokens have been hard hit by the news of a mainland China ban. Since the announcement, GMT, the game’s governance token, has fallen more than 20%, while GST, the main token players earn through playing the game, has dropped 15% on Solana and 24% on BNB chain. Both GMT and GST have fallen more than 75% from their April highs. 28. 

The price of STEPN’s NFT sneakers, which are required to play the game, has also sunk 21.8% from a floor price of around 13.9 SOL to 10.9 SOL at press time. 

STEPN allows you to run, walk, or jog outside and earn valuable tokens. The game gained popularity in March and April, and ASICS recently partnered with the company to create a line of NFT sneakers. 

While many early STEPN adopters have made profits through the app, skeptics have begun to question whether the game’s move-to-earn model is sustainable. STEPN’s token economy is often compared to that of play-to-earn progenitor Axie Infinity, which famously experienced a boom-and-bust cycle after the profits from playing the game fell late last year. 

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