Exploring Stepn’s Move-to-Earn Game: Apple Pay Integration and NFTs in Mobile App Marketplaces

Intricate digital marketplace, move-to-earn game, vibrant NFT sneakers, radiant beams of light, shimmering sparks currency, warm color palette, sense of achievement, subtle allusion to iOS ecosystem, crypto tokens gently placed in the background, a juxtaposition of traditional e-commerce and innovative blockchain gaming, inviting and accessible atmosphere.

Stepn, an innovative mobile “move-to-earn” game developed by Find Satoshi Lab, has launched an in-app marketplace within its iOS app exclusively designed for Apple’s iPhone. This marketplace facilitates the sale of specialized non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that reward players with crypto tokens as they walk and run. Remarkably, it has also integrated Apple Pay to enable purchases through credit and debit cards.

Mobile apps generally don’t support NFT sales on the secondary market due to complexities arising from Apple and Google’s 30% fee on in-app purchases. Developers often have to charge additional fees to cover these expenses, or else they will have to bear the costs themselves. Stepn has opted for the former strategy, making use of a novel in-app currency called Sparks (not a cryptocurrency) to charge users a fee for transactions.

Users of the Stepn app can buy packages of Sparks using Apple Pay and then utilize Sparks for acquiring NFT sneakers that eventually help them earn token rewards. What’s intriguing is that users can purchase these digital sneakers without actually interacting with any cryptocurrency. However, the costs of the sneakers (in converted U.S. dollars) are considerably higher than the prices paid for when using Stepn’s GMT crypto token on its web marketplace.

Stepn COO Shiti Manghani affirms that the prices displayed in the app include fees that Find Satoshi Lab handles when iOS users make NFT purchases. This pricing strategy aligns with Apple’s policies, which dictate that in-app purchases are subject to taxation. Stepn’s purpose is to ensure adherence to this regulatory requirement while reflecting the added taxation costs.

Apple’s 30% cut on in-app purchases and other potential fees have long been contentious for decentralized app developers. Typically, NFT marketplaces demand a much lesser platform fee for transaction management, such as OpenSea with its 2.5% of the sale prices for trades.

Stepn’s present approach abides by Apple’s regulations by employing a new in-app currency to incorporate the fees for buyers at relatively higher costs. It remains uncertain whether these added fees make the user experience convenient or encourage them to switch to the web marketplace and cryptocurrencies. However, Manghani argues that Apple’s extensive reach makes this effort worth exploring.

In conclusion, Stepn’s groundbreaking integration of Apple Pay constitutes a significant development in the field of blockchain gaming. It enables the onboarding of millions of new users into the Web3 domain and demonstrates innovative ways for businesses to cooperate with prominent Web2 platforms. Time will tell whether this approach results in greater acceptance of NFTs and cryptocurrencies, or if it merely highlights the challenges faced by companies operating in a rapidly evolving industry.

Source: Decrypt

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