Rumours of planned STEPN layoffs are circulating around the Web3 space. It has emerged that STEPN terminated the contracts of at least 100 moderators and other contractors working for the Web3 lifestyle app.
The news was reported by several media outlets yesterday, with crypto journalists pointing to a lack of interest in the app and the downturn of the market as possible causes.
Colin Wu of Wu Blockchain broke the story originally. In his tweet, he suggested that STEPN has started laying off hundreds of contractors due to market conditions. He said: “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.”
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
The news is concerning because it suggests that STEPN is not only laying off staff but also that investment in the app is being reduced and progress delayed. He quoted anonymous community sources.
STEPN Layoffs: Focus to turn to STEPN’s parent company Find Satoshi Lab?
Wu also claimed that STEPN will now take a backseat as the focus turns to STEPN’s parent company Find Satoshi Lab.
He said: “It began to focus on promoting its parent company Find Satoshi Lab, and mainly focused on new projects to be released such as the NFT exchange market.
“In addition, the large amount of GMT’s investor saft will be unlocked in March next year.”
It began to focus on promoting its parent company Find Satoshi Lab, and mainly focused on new projects to be released such as the NFT exchange market. In addition, the large amount of GMT's investor saft will be unlocked in March next year.
— Wu Blockchain (@WuBlockchain) October 12, 2022
Wu’s suggestion that focus might turn to Find Satoshi Lab is somewhat supported by STEPN’s latest open letter to its community.
Within the letter, Find Satoshi Lab is mentioned on several occasions. In a statement released by the STEPN team to explain why the October Town Hall meeting is being cancelled, the team said:
“Our team must concentrate on ongoing projects full-time, so we will not be hosting an October Town Hall. In the meantime, we will be devoting all of our resources to progressing to the next stage of Find Satoshi Lab.”
FSL working on ‘something new’ for their ‘international community’
The implication here appears to be that the team will be devoting all of its resources to developing Find Satoshi Lab’s next project. STEPN was the team’s first project, but is this now being relegated to the past as they focus on brand-new work?
This is further supported by the wording in the open letter further on. The team said:
“Our innovative team of developers, creatives, and leaders at Find Satoshi Lab have been working around the clock to build something new for our international community, and further our dream for a healthier, greener, blockchain-based ecosystem.
“Since the beginning, we have given our all to every phase of our journey. This time isn’t any different.”
The STEPN open letter was rather vague in terms of whether this ‘something new’ is a project that will improve STEPN or whether it’s a brand new app that the team hopes to release.
But the reference to this ‘something new’ was further reiterated by Yawn Rong in his tweet introducing the open letter. He said: “Our team of developers, creatives, and leaders at FSL have been working around the clock to build something new for our community, and further our dream for a healthier, greener, blockchain-based ecosystem.”
4/5 Our team of developers, creatives, and leaders at FSL have been working around the clock to build something new for our community, and further our dream for a healthier, greener, blockchain-based ecosystem.
— Yawn Rong (@yawn_rong) October 11, 2022
The team also stressed that they are ‘giving their all’ to the project. This suggests that, if, indeed, something new is brewing and it isn’t STEPN related, there might be some truth to Wu’s assertion that the focus is shifting away from STEPN and towards FSL and other related projects.
What we do know is that the new project is likely to be focused on sustainability and healthy lifestyles, hence the reference to a “healthier and greener blockchain-based ecosystem”.
STEPN layoffs: Is there any truth to these claims?
The news came on the same day that STEPN released their brand new Rainbow Sneakers. The Rainbow Sneakers were teased during the GMT Earning Mode announcement – another much-anticipated update that was released just a few weeks ago.
STEPN tweeted that the sneakers are live and encouraged players to head to their app for a chance to grab a brand-new sneaker.
This seems like an odd move for a company that’s winding down and preparing for mass layoffs.
Rainbow Sneakers Live 🌈
Head to the #STEPN App for your chance to get a Rainbow Sneaker through enhancements 👀
— STEPN | Public Beta Phase V (@Stepnofficial) October 12, 2022
And, as Decrypt reported just hours later, STEPN has no plans to lay off permanent staff. The company is actually hiring for several different positions, according to a statement released earlier.
While no open positions appear on the website, the careers tab redirects to an open application, indicating that the company is open to applicants.
In fact, STEPN claimed they’ve parted ways with volunteer mods rather than actual paid staff. Also, they called Wu’s claims ‘baseless’ and ‘factually inaccurate.
It would therefore appear that STEPN isn’t necessarily preparing to let go of staff. But, FSL might just be working on a brand-new project anyway.