In the latest episode of his Blockchain Gaming World podcast, editor-in-chief Jon Jordan talks to Shiti Maghani, the COO of Find Satoshi Lab, about its growing ecosystem of games and products including move-to-earn game STEPN, NFT marketplace and launchpad MOOAR, DEX DOOAR and forthcoming social mobile game Gas Hero.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
BlockchainGamer.biz: Can you tell us how you got into blockchain gaming?
Shiti Manghani: I’ve always worked at the intersection of technology, business and people. Whether it’s been 3D printing food or iris scanning for marketing or building my own AI start-up, I’ve always been involved at the cutting edge. I’m an engineer and MBA by background, and then I dived head first into the world of marketing, started in India, moved to the US, worked with PepsiCo. Then moved to Europe, worked across Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Germany and about 10 years ago came to the UK.
I started my own start-up using AI for posture correction in fitness, and got interested in home fitness which is when I came across STEPN. I talked to the founders, just loved what they were doing, just loved the vision, their innovation and I am so glad I jumped in. The rest, they say, is history.
You joined before the launch of the STEPN mobile app, so how was that experience in early 2022?
It was very emotional. We were working around the clock. And the thing is it’s not a day or two days or a week. It’s week-on-week for months. By the end of it, on a human level, you’re almost going crazy. Weeks of no sleep, all of us and we were a very small team.
But you have to listen to what the community says, not week-on-week for a monthly presentation, but hour-by-hour. Filter out what’s good and feed it back into the product and then the community feeds back on it so that’s sort of a growth flywheel. But it was an emotional journey. Sometimes we would think ‘Are the numbers wrong?’ Market forces can be crazy.
I’d give credit to our founders – Yawn and Jerry – who kept a balanced head. Even then, their vision was to build an ecosystem of products. Even when we were at the top of our game, they did not want to stop there. They knew the market can pull you right up but also bring you back down. Ultimately it comes back to your product and community so they were already thinking about ‘What are we going to do next?’
So we now have STEPN, MOOAR, DOOAR and Gas Hero, each with their own community, some bigger, some smaller. Everything we get right is super right. Every small thing we get wrong is super wrong. Because when your community is that passionate, it holds you and your team super accountable, and you know you’ve got a winner in your hand.
How are things at STEPN these days?
STEPN is very much the mothership. It still has a very active community, more than half a million monthlies, and they are not just passionate about earning. They’re more passionate about fitness and the community side of it. As we speak, our community is spread over 60, 70 countries and there are IRL events happening from Chicago, Miami, LA, to Europe, in London, France, Germany, to Asia, Taipei, Taiwan, Philippines, Japan, Australia, every continent of the world.
When you go to these events, it’s not just crypto bros. It’s people pushing their babies with their spouses, moms, dads, mom-in-laws, people creating their first wallets, people buying their first NFTs. This is really what STEPN is all about. And it’s a very healthy environment because it’s not just speculation. It’s not just the financial aspect. It’s people you could find in any app, not just a web3 app, It’s a great product and the community is like-minded people.
What’s the vision for having all these apps, games and utilities?
The way we look at FSL is by imagining our governance token GMT at the heart of it. We have some consumer facing products, including STEPN in lifestyle and fitness and in gaming, we have Gas Hero. We’ll announce something in social next year. We also build our own infrastructure to support them, so from an infrastructure standpoint, we’ve got our own DEX – DOOAR – which supports the liquidity swaps. We’ve got our NFT marketplace MOOAR, and that’s been the vision – to build an ecosystem of products around GMT.
And all this value accrual comes back to GMT, so it’s not just about DMT earning and burning in STEPN, and it’s not just DMT earning and burning in Gas Hero. It is also the liquidity fees on DOOAR. It’s also the voting and minting on MOOAR that captures and accrues value back to GMT so that it’s no longer a defunct token or a speculative token, devoid of utility. To build utility off the token and to keep adding value back to it, you’ve got to have a robust ecosystem of products with active users.
Gas Hero is launching on Polygon whereas STEPN was associated with the rise of Solana. Why?
Because we’re building an ecosystem of products to support our community. We would not want to be unidimensional in our choice of chain or our community growth. So even with STEPN, we started out with Solana, but we are now on BNB and Ethereum. Similarly MOOAR is also on Ethereum as well as on Solana.
With Gas Hero, we wanted to try out new things so we’re trying Polygon, which is not to say that our next app may not be on another chain. But we don’t want to restrict our imagination, our building capabilities, our development or our community growth to one specific chain.
Can you explain how STEPN has influenced Gas Hero?
Something we learned from STEPN is that we weren’t able to implement the IRL social components very effectively. It happened outside of the community. The second was the asset surplus. How do you maintain or sustain the economy? How do we make people invest beyond their money with their time, energy and effort?
Combining some of these learnings we came up with core principles: we want to build a social game, a game where people can collect NFTs and fight for core human needs like fame and wealth. And that’s what Gas Hero is all about – you battle, you collect NFTs, and you earn GMT. There’s a lot of strategizing involved in order for you to get this wealth and power.
What’s the schedule?
We’re hopeful of launching the game in December. The team is completely heads down building. We’ve had a successful UGC phase where people have sent in their designs for Gas Hero NFTs and we’ve selected them. The creators stand to win royalties. We’ve given away Gas Hero badges to the STEPN community. OG STEPN holders have received airdrops.
I think the team has done really well on prepping for this launch. We are very happy with our development on the product side. It’s a very well thought through game. I would really encourage people to check out our Twitter or check out the website.
In terms of audience, we’re appealing to anybody who wants to play a serious game in web3, who is not just here for the speculation. Our complete focus and intent is to build a sustainable game that gives people joy, to build a game that people want to play for the sake of playing with great UX, with great strategies, with great community.
Has the bear market impacted your plans?
It takes months and months, years to build a serious product and similarly for Gas Hero. It’s great the market is warming up now, but obviously this work has gone in when the market was not looking up, when there were crashes all around, whether from FTX or Celsius. I’ve learned to focus on things that we can influence and control.
Macro is definitely one thing that we as a company or even crypto as an industry has zero control over. These are things you can’t worry about because the more you worry, the less productive it is for your own community and your own products.
So we like to focus on what we can influence, which is just keeping our heads down and building, building.
Find out more about Find Satoshi Lab via its website.