Project Review: Walken - Connecting Healthy Lifestyle, Gaming, And Crypto
Published 17th January 2023 by MSV Team
Recently, the crypto space has seen the emergence of several move-to-earn projects within the health and fitness sector. In 2021, the global market of fitness apps reached $5.1 billion, with a projected CAGR of 17.6% from 2022 to 2028. Growing usage of smartphones, and wearable devices across consumers, coupled with rising healthcare costs and increased obesity rates, are key contributors to driving the market's future growth.
The concept of gamification has made people's heightened interest in taking better care of their health an easier habit to tackle. Often deemed a difficult daily task to complete, with 1 in 4 people globally not meeting the recommended physical activity levels, fitness and move-to-earn apps are starting to play a pivotal role in encouraging people to live healthier lifestyles.
In combination with creating a more enjoyable way of staying fit, move-to-earn games also make it possible for people to earn extra income via in-game NFTs, tokens, and other blockchain-based rewards. Over the past months, play-to-earn, move-to-earn, and other "to-earn" projects have shown a strong presence in the Web3 and gaming industry. The total market cap of GameFi reached $55.38 billion in February 2022, and the whole blockchain gaming industry is projected to grow another $50 billion by 2025, which is 10x the growth rate of traditional gaming. Despite the potential, GameFi has yet to see proper adoption to call the vertical a success and prove its long-term potential. Nevertheless, several highly innovative and engaging projects have received positive feedback from crypto investors and the community.
Therefore, for this month’s project review, we are covering a pioneer in the move-to-earn ecosystem, Walken – the first play-to-earn, move-to-earn mobile app that counts people's steps and allows them to earn $WLKN tokens. With a strong focus on gamification, Walken's mission is not only to encourage a healthy lifestyle but contribute to onboarding the next billion users to Web3 by essentially offering an easy-to-use and understandable product that allows people to earn money while, well, you guessed it, walking.
How Walken Began and The Founding Team
By technical definition, Walken is a free-to-play, walk-to-earn, and win-to-earn mobile app game built on the Solana blockchain. Behind the development of Walken are the GetFit apps team, a Web2 mobile app and gaming studio with a solid track record of over 60 million downloads and expertise in the fitness app sector.
The concept of Walken came to fruition in late 2021. Shortly after the concept was created, the team released its prototype in early 2022. Within five weeks of the launch, Walken grew into one of Solana's Top 6 projects on the entire blockchain. Today, Solscan still ranks Walken in the top 10 Solana projects based on the number of token holders. Building on its success, the app also gained over 1 million users in eight months. It recently reached its 2.5+ million off-chain user milestone, indicating strong global interest despite last year's bearish macroeconomic conditions.
Walken's co-founders, Alexei Porodzinsky, Alexei Kulevets, and Konstantin Kozlovsky, already have ample experience working together from their other two ventures, GetFit Apps and Appyfurious. Together they built a team of 50 in-house professionals working to realize the vision of Walken.
Fundraising, $WLKN Tokenomics & Recent Successes
In June 2022, Walken closed its funding round and raised $4.7 million, co-led by Infinity Ventures Crypto and Shima Captial, joined by other institutional investors Ghaf Capital Partners, Morningstar Ventures, and more. The project also completed successful public sales (IEOs) on exchanges, including ByBit, Huobi, and Gate.
Walken is fueled by its native token, $WLKN. The token is based on the Solana blockchain, with a total supply of 2 billion. $WLKN drives the in-game economy, ensuring stability while allowing players to play-to-earn. User behavior is a strong indicator of the token's price, meaning the more the players walk, earn, trade, and buy for their in-game NFTs, the higher the price of $WLKN.
The app has 218K unique monthly on-chain users, with 553K on-chain users and 2.5+ million off-chain (free-to-play) users. At the time of writing, Walken had 40K users in the last 24 hours. Additionally, the app has been downloaded over 2.5 million times on the App Store and Google Play combined.
📄 More information on the $WLKN token sale and allocation strategy can be found in Walken's Whitepaper ➡️ here.
From June to September 2022, the team maintained a sustainable token economy. The project had a higher token inflow of 107 million than token outflow of 79 million, leading to a positive net token inflow of 28% over four months. This was primarily due to $WLKNs utility, such as the presence of an in-game marketplace, commissions, NFT breeding, and level-up rewards. In the same period, the project's annual revenue was stated at $9.6 million, made up of a combination of both $WLKN and $SOL from various revenue streams such as NFTs, marketplace fees, and IAP.
How Walken Works – Business Model, Gameplay, and CAThlete NFTs
By walking in real life, players can earn in-game soft currency known as "Gems", these are not crypto tokens such as $WLKN or $SOL, which can also be stored in the app. Upon signing up, every player gets a free avatar called a CAThlete, this CAThlete can be converted into an NFT when the player has reached level 6 or above. The aim of the game is for the player to keep walking to earn more gems and upgrade their CAThlete to compete in various levels and win $WLKN tokens.
Players can earn $WLKN within the game or purchase them on various cryptocurrency exchanges. $SOL can also be used within the game to buy in-game assets in the marketplace to upgrade one's CAThlete. Various accessories can be purchased for CAThletes, and players can trade them to build a stronger running crew or earn money.
Through growing one's NFT and reinvesting in the game for higher profit, Walken is about creating long-term yields rather than short-term gains. The team has created multiple ways for players to invest their assets, for example, through the breeding program where one can breed one stronger CAThletes, while still keeping the two original ones as part of their crew.
Below are several screenshots of the game interface and a video created by Walken as to how to sign up and play. ⬇️
We were early investors in Walken and have worked closely with the team since their beta launch last June. It’s been great to see their progress and the app's development so far. Below is our analysis of the project and a deep dive into what we like about it and where we see potential challenges in the future roadmap plans.
What we like about Walken:
- As previously mentioned, Walken was able to uphold a sustainable token economy due to $WLKNs utility gained by various in-app features and incentivization mechanisms. Achieving a positive net inflow of 28% indicates a solid tokenomic model and strong token demand. The positive ratio has allowed the project to get more $WLKN, which can potentially be used for marketing activities, additional rewards for loyal users, liquidity provision, and increased staking rewards, which is a good position for the project to be in. Furthermore, given the recent roadmap announcement, one can see the project is on track to implement its gains in the correct areas, as staking, user loyalty rewards, and more perks will be introduced in 2023. Notable to mention is the project’s new release of staking $WLKN tokens, allowing players and token holders to stake and receive a percentage from the storage of $WLKN that they already own without adding any additional effort. Naturally, this will allow users to gain staking rewards and earn passive income while the blockchain locks up one’s assets. For Walken, introducing staking will offer higher security and efficiency.
- Walken saw no mass sell-offs and a relatively stable price decrease. Coupled with the increase in off-chain users from 1 million to now at approximately 2.5+ million is a good indication of the growing popularity of the game and the positive sentiment of users.
- Walken’s mission solves two important issues, first of all, with the growing rates of health issues, obesity, and lack of movement, the move-to-earn concept is an incentive for people to move daily while also gaining rewards. Furthermore, the game's concept is easy-to-use and understood by crypto and non-crypto natives, furthering the app to contribute to mass crypto adoption.
Potential challenges ahead:
- As Walken grows, the question will be if they will continue to stay on the Solana blockchain or if the project will move to either another ecosystem or decide to go cross-chain. All decisions will have their own benefits and disadvantages. Going cross-chain allows the project to facilitate interoperability between other blockchains, this can improve the user experience as it will allow them to flow more freely across multiple blockchains. Furthermore, it can increase the project's liquidity, allowing assets to flow between chains without affecting price. On the other hand, cross-chain will make it more difficult for communication and increase the risk of keeping security in one central place.
- In comparison, over the past months, the Solana ecosystem was affected by the FTX scandal, which resulted in users and projects leaving the chain. Furthermore, in 2022 the Solana network was down for several hours a couple of times, this may, of course, have repercussions on the Walken protocol maintenance with its big user base and on-chain activity. Nevertheless, Solana is known for its transaction speed, low fixed costs, and growing ecosystem.
- GameFi is, without a doubt, a growing market and looks to grow another $50 billion in market cap over the next 5 years. And even though play-to-earn saw a lot of hype during the pandemic with the rise of games like Axie Infinity, the sector has also received its fair share of backlash, with critics calling it unsustainable in the long run. It will be imperative for Walken to cut through this noise and establish itself as a strong contender and viable use case in the future. The key will be ensuring users are engaged and adopting from the free-to-play function to web3 play-to-earn. That means converting the CAThlete into an NFT, buying $WLKN, and purchasing goods on the marketplace. However, with 218K on-chain daily users, Walken is well-positioned to reach a larger on-chain user base.
What's next for Walken?
The team just announced that they would launch a new feature - Daily Quests - in a few days. The feature gives players a set of objectives to unlock the Daily Quest. Over the course of seven days, five new quests will roll out daily. Some quests can be accomplished in a matter of hours, while others might take players a few days to complete.
Read the complete guide on Daily Quests ➡️ here
Furthermore, according to the newly released roadmap, Walken has a lot of plans to upgrade its gameplay and add more features to the app. In Q1, the team has planned to release new race modes and tournaments. They will also unveil a new in-game currency utility, offline events, and partnerships. Later in the quarter, we can also expect social features such as adding friends and groups in return for rewards.
We are looking forward to the development of Walken and what the project will build in 2023. Till then, try out the app and just keep walking!
Learn more about Walken ⬇️
🌐 Official website: https://walken.io/
📡 Official Global Telegram Community: https://t.me/walken_channel
🗣️ English-speaking chat: https://t.me/walken_io
🐦 Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/walken_io
📜 Medium: https://firstname.lastname@example.org
📚 Gitbook: https://docs.walken.io
🕹️ Discord channel: https://discord.com/invite/W8umJWh2JG