On the contrary, a lot of curious things are happening, and some new concepts and new technologies are constantly appearing. The most interesting new trend in recent months has been the rise of Move-2-Earn (M2E) projects. This is a new idea for the realization of the blockchain: participants record their runs and walks with the help of the tracker, receiving crypto tokens for the distance they have traveled. Projects like STEPN, MetaGym, and Genopets successfully got their hype by combining the blockchain with the logic of tracking and gamification of sports.
In the expert community, the concept of “fitness finance” (FitnessFi) has appeared, which is similar to game finance in GameFi.
The people’s reaction to M2E turned out to be quite predictable. Optimists announced a new era in blockchain development, while skeptics claimed it was another financial pyramid (let's remind ourselves that you need to buy NFT sneakers in order to run in the M2E application). Another thing that attracted my interest: this was not the first attempt to combine tracking and blockchain technologies. Both of them are successfully used in logistics for transparency, as well as for the safety of cargo delivery. And what happens if you use the M2E logic in transportation?
In this situation, instead of a runner, we have a hypothetical truck, or even a courier, and instead of NFT sneakers, we will have some kind of delivery certificate on the blockchain. It may sound quite pretentious, but in theory, it is possible to build an ecosystem around the supply chain, that is financially self-sufficient, and in which there will be no place for bureaucracy, intermediaries, and corruption.
Strictly speaking, the Move-2-Earn model arose as a variety of the “earn by playing” (Play-to-earn, P2E) concept, in which the process of a computer game is being monetized with the help of the blockchain technology. In a typical P2E project, players buy game NFTs with real money and spend their time playing the game, building an economy around the game at the same time. Players’ efforts and investments acquire financial value, which allows them not only to spend but also to earn.
Today’s most popular game in this category, “Axie Infinity”, is dedicated to battles between cartoon monsters called “axes”. The gameplay here is built around NFT collecting, and the economy relies on its own SLP token, which can be converted into real money. In the past two years, the game has been developing rapidly, and in countries with low income, it even spawned a special crypto business, where NFT holders could hire players for full-time work. By the end of last year, the daily online “Axie Infinity” reached the mark of 3 million people – which is an impressive result for an online game. However, this also became a problem for further development – due to the increasing number of players last fall, the value of the SLP token fell dramatically.
Generally speaking, the Play-to-earn concept is often criticized for eliminating the meaning of the word “Play”. It means that a game, in which somebody can earn money, eventually turns into a regular job. And this is what creates an issue because we're still talking about playing a game. But unlike any real job, it brings no additional value to the economy other than leisure.
Thus, the consulting firm called Naavik analyzed the causes of the economic crisis in “Axie Infinity”. According to their observations, what constitutes the problem is that the players started to lose interest in the gameplay. When they received enough resources to cover their needs, they stopped spending game currency and began withdrawing all the real funds that were available to them. And the rapidly increasing number of new players only triggered the inflation in the local NFT-character market even more.
In Move-2-Earn, everything should be different, because we cannot consider running or walking as a real job. At most, this is a commitment we keep to ourselves even though it is really hard. It is not possible to build a labor market around running – hardly anyone would hire marathon runners to farm game currency. In addition, the kilometers you have traveled is a limited "resource", it is limited by the time and physical shape of a person. All this, potentially, makes the M2E model more stable and predictable for building a multiverse economy.
So how can the “move for crypto'' model be attractive for carriers? The thing is that transport operators are quite interested in the digitalization of supply chains on the blockchain. After all, this is not only about cryptocurrency and NFT, today, this technology is actively used by logistics giants like Maersk and Walmart.
For example, in 2018, Maersk, together with IBM, launched the TradeLens blockchain system in order to digitize maritime shipments. The platform enables operators to accurately monitor the status of cargo delivery in real time, and also to exchange customs information and documentation without any delay. Today, TradeLens has already acquired a global status, and almost half of all container traffic in the world passes through this platform. The American retailer Walmart, in turn, built a settlement system with third-party freight carriers on the blockchain and smart contracts. This enabled the management of Walmart to not be limited by complicated and slow bureaucratic routines.
The Move-2-Earn logic, in theory, allows you to go even further – it enables you to eliminate settlements between counterparties from all of the logistics processes. Imagine an example of a supply chain where the carrier receives remuneration not from its direct customers/partners, but from a platform on the blockchain, based on the distance he traveled, meeting deadlines, the condition of the cargo, and all the necessary KPIs. This model would eliminate the human factor and all the prerequisites for corruption, ensure complete transparency of the supply chain, and reduce costs. The basis for the participation of carriers in this kind of system would not be “NFT sneakers”, but some kind of blockchain license, which makes it possible to work in the system.
Obviously, in the reality of today's crypto-running applications, it would be much more difficult to call such a system a financial pyramid. In fact, the investors here will not be impersonated by ordinary people who are interested in joining the hype and getting easy money, but by the participants in the supply chain. The latter usually do not need any hype, but specific tools and specific results.
Among other things, the gamification of connection with drivers and couriers solves the problems of labor discipline. The owner of any transportation company would confirm to you that in practice it is very difficult to accustom many drivers to comply with the standards and regulations for the transportation of goods. This creates some real risks for any business, both financial and reputational. But if the major regulations are realized as elements of a certain “game” in which there is a material component, then the problem is solved without any harsh decisions.
We realized a similar approach in one of our projects in an application for truck drivers. The system has a special constructor, where accountants, lawyers as well as the company’s dispatchers, are able to create some “missions” for drivers. For example, “wash your car in three days”, or “pass the MOT in a week”. There, we also have a system of achievements – like in computer games, or like in Monobank (for example, “load the 10 bill of lading documents into the system”). After completing missions and achievements, drivers are awarded branded tokens that can be exchanged for small bonuses, branded merch, and other corporate accolades. There is also a competitive rating system that is envisaged.
Generally speaking, the trucker's workflow with the new application has become even more like playing in Euro Truck Simulator 2. As practice has shown, gaming mechanics made the rules understandable and accessible to drivers, and there are also clear incentives to comply with them. And if you include tokens on the blockchain and DeFi in this system, you get the same Play-2-Earn or Move-2-Earn model.
All of it may sound too futuristic – today there are neither approaches nor applied tools for the mass implementation of DeFi in cargo transportation. Still, we see an acute global crisis in logistics, a market demand for innovation, the rapid growth of blockchain technologies, and the corresponding hype.
It is not really necessary to talk about some large-scale model of freight transportation based on the M2E logic unless such an idea is being considered today somewhere in Amazon. But the birth of Move-2-Earn logistics startups in the coming years may be almost inevitable – after all, we are only talking about developing some suitable tools on an existing foundation.
It will take time for public opinion to stop perceiving the blockchain as some kind of digital shell game, or a place for speculators. In fact, it is an absolutely serious tool that, if used the right way, does not complicate, but can really simplify business processes. At a minimum, the gaming M2E model may be used in spheres like urban courier delivery, e-commerce, trucking, in order to solve last mile problems. The final model of DeFi transportation will probably be much more complex than today's running monetization apps. But the technology itself provides important benefits, it's all about the idea that will allow these advantages to be unraveled.
Our experience in project development in the logistics industry has shown that this is a very elaborate market, where each company projects its own, unique business processes, and invents its own methods. And even more and more, these inventions require very high expertise in innovative technology trends. I am certain that in the near future, the industry will make a huge migration into digital, and market participants should keep a close eye on techno-hype. After all, any trend can be a new big thing and radically change the rules, just as Uber once changed the old rules in the private transportation market.
Sergey Guzenko, CEO at WEZOM