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Stepn’s New Solana, Ethereum NFT Marketplace Bucks Anti-Royalties Trend

1 Nov, 20224 min readNFT
Stepn’s New Solana, Ethereum NFT Marketplace Bucks Anti-Royalties Trend

In brief

  • The makers of move-to-earn game Stepn have launched an Ethereum and Solana NFT marketplace called MOOAR.
  • It has a monthly subscription fee, plus it enforces creator-set royalties. A launchpad will be used to mint new NFT projects.
  • Amid a recent spate of NFT marketplaces rejecting creator royalties, either through zero or optional royalty models, a surprising new challenger has emerged: MOOAR, from the creators of move-to-earn game Stepn. It has a unique membership model—and enforces royalties, too.

    Launching today, MOOAR supports NFTs minted on both Ethereum and Solana, and there’s more than just Stepn’s own digital sneakers onboard. The marketplace also supports other NFTs from both blockchains, and will have its own launchpad for debuting new projects from outside creators, as voted on by GMT token holders.

    As mentioned, MOOAR will enforce creator-set royalties on secondary market sales—typically a 5% to 10% fee taken from the sale price. And unlike many marketplaces that also take their own fee, MOOAR will instead charge a $29.90 monthly subscription fee for users to transact.

    Shiti Manghani, COO of Stepn developer Find Satoshi Lab, admitted to Decrypt that it may be challenging to find adoption for a Web3 platform with a monthly subscription cost, instead of taking a small cut of each NFT sale. However, for serious traders, that nearly $30 monthly expenditure could seem like a drop in the bucket compared to typical fees.

    “Like most utility applications in Web2, whether it be Netflix or Amazon Prime, we've gone through a membership model,” she said. “It's not an easy thing to do. It won't be easy to build and grow, and we're fully conscious of it. But we are driven by long-term value.”

    MOOAR’s launch comes following a string of moves by competing marketplaces to either ignore creator royalties or let traders decide whether or not to honor them—a “race to the bottom,” as some have dubbed it, as rivals undercut each other while impacting creators’ revenue streams in the process.

    The trend started in the Solana space earlier this summer but accelerated quickly over the last few weeks as royalties-shunning rivals chipped away at top platform Magic Eden’s market share. Magic Eden ultimately followed suit, making creator royalties optional. It’s happening in the Ethereum space, too, with LooksRare moving against royalties last week.

    MOOAR has been in the works for months and is the latest move by Find Satoshi to expand the ecosystem around Stepn. The studio previously launched its own decentralized exchange (DEX) called DOOAR in June, and it is the most-used DEX on Solana in terms of active wallets.

    In other words, the Stepn developer didn’t simply whip up its own marketplace over the last few weeks, solely to push back against the anti-royalties trend. But when asked about the team’s stance, Manghani gave a passionate defense of why many creators consider ongoing royalties both an essential source of revenue and key to the decentralized Web3 ethos.

    “As a creator, as a builder, and as a founder,” she said, “why would I ever partner, collaborate, or work with somebody who would not reward me or my project?”

    Manghani cited extractive Web2 platforms like social media sites built on the back of creators’ output and streaming media platforms that pay tiny sums to most artists. Watching NFT marketplaces override creator-set royalties feels like a rejection of Web3 values, in her view.

    “We created Web3 to change all of that, right? Now, what is the point if we again start centralizing the whole platform and start exploiting the creators? On an abstract level, it just doesn't sit right,” Manghani said.

    Giving back to STEPN Loyal Users 💚The Find Satoshi Lab (@fslweb3) ecosystem is delighted to welcome @mooarofficial, our dedicated NFT marketplace - providing additional value and utility for loyal #STEPN users and the $GMT Token, the core of the #FSL ecosystem.🧵 [1/5]— STEPN | Public Beta Phase V (@Stepnofficial) October 25, 2022

    Stepn surged in popularity last spring, reportedly topping 3 million monthly active users at its peak as its crypto tokens skyrocketed in value. The mobile app uses a “move-to-earn” model to incentivize users to run and exercise, and rewards them with crypto tokens for doing so. However, they must first purchase and equip NFT-based sneakers to earn rewards.

    The game quickly found an avid audience earlier this year, but the hype was short-lived: its GST reward token has lost more than 99% of its value, per data from CoinGecko, while the number of monthly active wallet users connecting to the game has fallen 88% since May.

    Manghini said that Find Satoshi Lab intends to develop a fleet of additional apps built around Stepn’s GMT governance token. Like DOOAR before it, she believes that MOOAR will be a “powerhouse” to drive further value to GMT and the Stepn-led ecosystem.

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