Disclaimer: This article has been updated to reflect STEPN's official statement, which denied the floating rumors related to staff layoff as "baseless claims that are factually inaccurate."
Solana blockchain-based move-to-earn fitness app STEPN denied rumors that claimed an incoming layoff of over 100 of its contract workers amid the ongoing crypto bear market and as its user numbers dwindle from previous highs.
Crypto reporter Colin Wu initially alleged that moderators and ambassadors would be among the sacked staff, and investment in STEPN would be scaled back. Citing community sources, Wu had also claimed that there would be a shift toward promoting STEPN’s parent company, Find Satoshi Lab (FSL), and its new projects.
The famous blockchain game STEPN began to lay off staff in the bear market. It will mainly lay off more than 100 MODs, ambassadors, etc., and will reduce investment in STEPN, and some development progress has been delayed. According to community sources.— Wu Blockchain (@WuBlockchain) October 12, 2022
However, speaking to Cointelegraph, STEPN representative dismissed the above allegations as rumors, adding that:
We deny the rumor that STEPN has been laying off staff due to the bear market. We pride ourselves in being transparent with our community and we are choosing to address these rumors head on to avoid any further speculation on falsehoods.
Sharing insights into the facts that sparked the rumors, STEPN stated that it "parted ways with volunteer MODs" that had been inactive over the past few weeks and months.
Contrary to the rumors, STEPN further confirmed that it is actively hiring across multiple roles as it continues to build, grow and evolve.
Founded by Australian-based fintech Find Satoshi Lab, STEPN launched in 2021, giving user’s the ability to purchase nonfungible token (NFT) sneakers used to walk or run in the real world to earn Green Satoshi Tokens (GST), which can be used for in-game purchases or cashed out.
STEPN has been off to a promising start after launch; its governance token Green Metaverse Token (GMT), hit an all-time high in April, reaching $4.11, while GST peaked at $8.51, according to data from CoinGecko.
However, GMT has fallen over 85% and is trading at $0.61 at the time of writing, while GST has dropped over 99% to $0.026.
It’s the same story for the app’s users, according to Dune Analytics data, which reveals the app’s daily active user count rose to an all-time high of 105,257 on June 26 before crashing down to under 6,000 in September before recovering slightly to 11,877 users as of Oct. 5.
Crypto researcher Lucia Kim from self-described Web3-native accelerator nonce Classic claims that the decline could be the fault of the limitations of STEPN.
In a lengthy Oct. 4 Twitter post, Kim explained the system was structured to make users sell their tokens in the market to claim rewards, but this saw a supply increase, resulting in “accelerating token price decline due to excessive supply of NFTs.”
“The more rewards users get, the more tokens they sell to the market, which in turn affects its ecosystem,” Kim explained.
The STEPN team has recently teased changes are coming, with co-founder Yawn Rong taking to Twitter on Oct. 10 with an open letter to their community, stating, “changes are happening so that we can continue to add value to GMT and the Find Satoshi Lab ecosystem.”
“We will be devoting all of our resources to progressing to the next stage of FSL,” said Rong.
No specifics were revealed, but Rong says more will be explained over the next few weeks, telling his 34,000 Twitter followers they “won’t want to miss what comes next.”