Will “Wear-to-Earn” be the Next Big Thing in Crypto?

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  • Each crypto cycle has had its own fads that become popular and then often fade away
  • Since 2017, we have seen trends like ‘everything on the blockchain’, DeFi, NFTs, and farming
  • “Wear-to-earn” may gain exposure in the next cycle, helped by a couple of pioneers

Anyone who has been in crypto for a few years will know that each cycle has ‘fads’, sub-sectors of the space that explode in popularity and then often die away. Since 2017 we’ve seen ‘everything on the blockchain’, DeFi, NFTs, farming, and more come and (usually) go. A sector that could be ripe for exposure in the next cycle (or this cycle, if you believe the horse still has room to run) is “wear-to-earn”, something that poked its head out at the end of 2022 just before the market crashed.

STEPN Leading the Way

“Wear-to-earn” crypto platforms represent a novel fusion of fitness technology and cryptocurrency incentives. These platforms reward users with cryptocurrency or tokens for engaging in physical activities while using wearable devices. The basic concept hinges on integrating blockchain technology with fitness tracking to create a new form of economic incentive for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

One of the prominent examples in this space is STEPN. STEPN is a Web3 lifestyle app that encourages users to engage in physical activities such as walking, jogging, or running by rewarding them with Green Satoshi Tokens (GST). Users need to purchase NFT sneakers, which are necessary to start earning rewards.

The app tracks the user’s movement via GPS and converts the distance covered into GST tokens which can then be used within the app for various purposes, including upgrading sneakers or converting into other cryptocurrencies/fiat. STEPN uses a dual-token system to manage its economy: GST for in-app activities and GMT (Green Metaverse Token) for governance and staking.

STEPN is probably the market leader in the wear-to-earn stakes, as exemplified by the company’s signing a deal with Adidas in April for a range of branded NFT sneakers. However, there is a new challenger on the scene…

Can Genesis Ring the Changes?

Another innovative product announced earlier this year is the Genesis Smart Ring by Cudis. This wearable accessory tracks various health metrics such as steps, heart rate, and sleep patterns similar to a smartwatch but more discreetly. Users are rewarded with cryptocurrency based on their activity levels and adherence to health goals, with the ring connected to a blockchain platform that securely records data and manages the distribution of rewards.

By using a ring instead of a traditional wrist-worn device, Genesis aims to provide a more comfortable and discreet option for continuous health monitoring. The company revealed recently that its first batch of 1,500 rings sold out, prompting it to make another 8,500. The platform, which will operate on the Solana blockchain, will launch later this year, representing the first real test of the project’s potential.

Everybody Benefits

STEPN and the Genesis Smart Ring are two examples of the first wave of wear-to-earn platforms, illustrating how blockchain technology can be leveraged to promote healthier lifestyles. These platforms not only encourage physical activity but also provide a financial incentive, thereby creating a win-win situation for users aiming to improve their health and financial well-being.

Should these canaries in the coal mine prove successful, we could see a raft of other devices come to market in the next few years as blockchain technology and crypto rewards finally find a mainstream application.