Hi Marshall, we are glad to have you here today! Could you introduce yourself and Metal?
First a little about me, and my background as an entrepreneur. I started in cryptocurrency in 2009 as a hobbyist discovering Bitcoin on a forum p2pfoundation, I was obsessed with bitorrent at the time and I quickly found a home inside cryptocurrency. I thought to myself if 85% of all web traffic was bittorrent (it was at the time) could Bitcoin not be 85% of all financial traffic? And it got me thinking…
Why is the software so crappy was a question I found myself asking after I downloaded the original bitcoin-qt client in late 2009. It took me about 2 weeks to fully wrap my head around the nature of cryptocurrency and what it meant for the internet.
I couldn’t for the life of me initially figure out how Bitcoin would touch the traditional financial system, and then the light dinged: it doesn’t and that’s the feature. A financial system existing completely outside of normal banks and payment processing networks, and that’s where the obsession started. I began trading visa gift cards for Bitcoin on Bitcointalk, #BTC-OTC on Efnet, and eventually localbitcoins.
I bought alpaca socks, lip balm, and all types of funny things I somewhat regret spending that early bitcoin on but it was all in the name of proving that crypto could be used as money. Around 2012 I made the decision to start a company and that’s how my journey as a crypto entrepreneur officially started. By 2013 I had formed a company called QuickCoin, which was my vision – to make a PayPal for bitcoin. That service quickly exploded as we launched it officially as a layer on top of Facebook where anyone could send or receive over wall post or Facebook messenger.
You must call them Bitcoin socks & Bitcoin lip balm.
That would be a great sock brand!
We got a little under a million users in about three weeks, an incredible experience. From there I left to join the Stellar project where I helped launch the original Stellar wallet, manage community, social media, marketing, support, in general wearing like 20 hats lol
Stellar was an amazing experience where I grew my desire to make a global payments network that would really allow anyone anywhere at any time the ability to transact and completely eliminate these false walls between countries when it came to payments
More so it would enable anyone to have banking services… I was hooked
At the same time, I was working closely with the Dogecoin community organizing events such as Doge at Nascar, Dogecoin, Hackadoge and other media and community events for the Dogecoin community. That’s where I met my co-founder Glenn Marien, we instantly hit it off as Glenn had built the first Dogecoin wallet dogechain.info… Flash forward about a year later and I’ve picked up the mantle of where I left off with QuickCoin, I asked Glenn to join me and Metal was formed
What’s so exciting about the project is it started with two dreamers trying to build a better PayPal, now almost 5 years later companies like PayPal, Facebook, and other tech giants are copying Metal, and we’re moving at light speed faster than ever with a team of over 50 people, venture-funded and PayPal is lagging beyond trying to catch up not understanding the true value.
Which is: YOU.
Community drives cryptocurrency and the decentralized networks that power it, together we are bigger than any tech company, any single entity, we build together, we fight together, and in the end, the crypto community wins together.
Q1. What are the best characteristics of Metal and Lynx that when merged produce an excellent project like Proton Chain?
Over the course of the past couple of years, we have acquired a few companies: Crumbs, Lynx and most recently Bloks. Lynx was a startup we acquired earlier this year, they were essentially the top EOS wallet at the time and they had started to build a network called Lynx Chain which I found really interesting. First and foremost it had the ability to get up to 4,000+ transactions per second. Second, it had the ability to scale unlike Ethereum and many v1 smart contract networks.
At the time I had written a whitepaper for a blockchain I had planned to launch called “XID” this was a blockchain that would embed identity and communicate with traditional banks and payment processing networks. Thinking back to my origin in crypto I thought it so strange if blockchain is a decentralized chain of messages, why not have traditional payment processing messages for card processors and banks?
I called up the CEO of Lynx, Fred Kreuger, and asked “I know I was talking about making a personal investment, but what do you think of this crazy idea – let’s talk about a merger”, Fred instantly said YES! So we rebranded Lynx Chain and XID as Proton and we got to work.
Today I’m happy to say we have really cracked the code on the future of money. As I anticipated we can’t exactly have all the cool elements of traditional money (if we are to be viewed by the governments as such) we need to comply with existing laws and rules around currency aka anti-money laundering, anti-fraud and so forth to protect consumers and businesses.
The first part was to add identity as you can see here on the Proton blockchain: https://proton.bloks.io/account/fred
Q2. What new features will come to Metal Pay in 2021?
In 2021 we’re really excited to launch a world version of Metal Pay that will be live not only in the US but also in India, so we are coming! Among some amazing features, you can expect is the Metal Pay debit card with integration for Apple Pay and GPay. This will be a hybrid custodial and non-custodial version that can host Proton and Proton assets like XMT (MTL on Proton) as well as XBTC (wrapped Bitcoin moving faster than lightning).
We’ll also be unveiling banking support for Europe, Canada and potentially one or two more countries (India ?). Additionally, you will begin to see the Proton authentication features as well as more enhanced capability of XMT (MTL) inside the Metal Pay app. Currently, holders of 10k+ MTL inside Metal Pay get zero fee trading across all pairs!
Forget Authy, Google Authenticator and separate apps for MFA, we’re making it crypto based with PSR (proton signing request) inside Metal Pay 3. That means higher security and one-tap authentication with biometrics.
I’d say more but I don’t want to spill all the secrets, but expect lending/borrowing in Metal Pay 3 in 2021 as well!
Q3. MTL is on ERC20 now and Metal is planning to convert it on Proton chain, the question is what are the benefits of Proton chain?
Proton chain (XPR) is really incredible, MTL’s sister blockchain and functions like a bridge between existing blockchain technology and banking/card processors… so think of all the dapps we know and love today. Where can you enter your credit card or bank account information to interact? the reality is that you can’t, there is no interface for such things.
That access is permissioned and walled off from the blockchain world, we frequently refer to crypto as a “walled garden” that’s one of the reasons it’s difficult for newcomers because they may not know about WazirX or Metal Pay yet, or maybe we are not live in their respective countries. What is very cool about Proton is now your dapp can talk to your credit card, debit card, or bank.
Your dapp wants to add 5000 INR to your account from your bank? It couldn’t be done before.
But now imagine this… using Proton network WazirX, Metal Pay, Coinbase (really any processor) can utilize Proton network to receive that payment request and top up fiat funds directly into the blockchain. Proton is the bridge between the old financial world and the new, it replicates visa/mastercard and traditional bank payment messaging on the blockchain and allows anyone to interact.
Q4. What benefits does Metal Pay bring to merchants and service businesses?
Metal Pay really opens up the potential for traditional merchant services, with the ability for anyone to send or receive crypto it introduces the concept of seamless digital cash. In a post coronavirus world, we are now realizing the real potential for this as cash is really seeming outdated. In India alone, we have seen the government confiscate large bill notes causing all sorts of undue stress on the public.
With Metal Pay it is a true crypto PayPal that is about to become global. Want to set up your merchant account with no merchant approval? Want to accept payments globally? Want to take an irreversible bearer bond (digital cash) over the web? No problem with Metal Pay!
We aim to become a global financial services company with access worldwide 24/7 unlike your traditional bank, we never shut off and we provide even better service. And as Bitcoin, MTL, XPR, WRX, ETH, etc become more and more popular would it not make sense that your bank treated all money equally instead of discriminating against you for being a crypto believer?
We believe that you deserve to be rewarded, that’s why we reward payments inside the Metal Pay app with MTL via something known as PoPP or “Proof of Processed Payment”.
Q5. Does Proof of Processed Payments have any relation to Proof of Stake or Proof of Work?
Proof of Processed Payments is a concept that was first tested inside Metal Pay and will be expanded with Proton network using the concept of DeID (decentralized ID). Once we can begin to embed identity into the blockchain all sorts of digital assets can be minted on different types of financial events or otherwise (such as accessing certain areas of the web or physical spaces), we believe this is the next big movement.
Unlocking value for human-based things, like making payments or going about your daily life, while the original concepts of proof of work and proof of stake are used to secure the networks, how do we create minting mechanisms that everyone can participate in? This is how PoPP was born, and we expect to grow this far into the future with MTL and XPR.
Q6. What is the difference between Metal Pay and its competitors?
If you use PayPal for crypto the first thing you’ll realize is: it’s not real crypto, it’s just price exposure, and you can’t even pay for anything with it yet. Being visionaries at Metal we’ve thought far into the future beyond Facebook or PayPal, so we launched far before them. Not only do we have over 40 cryptocurrencies inside our app, but we have also mainnet capability and rewards far before the other competitors even thought about launching them. What you can expect in Metal Pay is an experience like your traditional bank, paired with crypto access, and soon global access and a KILLER UI/UX, which I find to be just beautiful.
And with Proton we will be making our system interoperable with every major crypto exchange, wallet, processor, and bank so we are not only trying to innovate in blockchain and crypto, but we’re also trying to innovate in design around financial services, trying to create a more fun and rewarding plus visually stunning experience.
Q7. Will MTL staking be available in future?
MTL staking will become available soon on Proton network as XMT, more to come on this ?
Q8. MTL claims that the transactions can be done by anyone, anytime for free. But since it runs in Ethereum blockchain how do you overcome the gas fees?
We overcome these limitations in two ways
1) We use off-chain transactions inside Metal Pay which easily scale well over 10,000+ transactions per second.
2) We use the hyper faster Proton network which can wrap any Ethereum asset via proton.bloks.io and soon directly inside the Proton Wallet as well as Metal Pay.
For Proton we just did a stress test last week and got up to about 1,200+ transactions per second with no major issues, we could easily push this over 4,000 which is faster than any blockchain we’ve ever seen before. In fact, it was #1 on blocktivity for a few days while we conducted our stress test.
If you want to check it out download the Proton Wallet in App or Play store and create an @name you can move XBTC faster than Bitcoin could ever move on lightning, it’s incredible and you could send a single satoshi with no gas fee. Prior to Proton, I’ve never seen anything like that done before on-chain, but don’t take my word for it, try it out for yourself.
Q9. Metal offers prepaid debit card which allows us to pay with crypto in our day to day life. But to what extent this might be useful for common people who mostly use fiat currency?
We think this is highly valuable for several reasons
1) BTC, MTL, XPR, WRX and other crypto is rapidly gaining steam in the international spotlight, as they do as forms of stores of value they will become more and more commonly used with money as well as providing a simple stream to move between fiat currencies such as INR to USD or really any world currency
2) Stablecoins or what I call “cryptocurrency” (I think there are three types of crypto we see today: commodity, currency, and security) will become the future landscape of all digital payments
In fact, you will see the central bank of india, the central bank of the united states issue their own government backed digital currencies within the next few years, and you can quote me on that. As that happens platforms like Metal Pay and WazirX will become INVALUABLE for processing payments as existing financial institutions will scramble to catch up we will see acquisitions, new laws forming, and all sorts of exciting things happening. Most importantly the web will completely transform into what we call web3: the internet of value.
Web1 was content, web2 was social media and interactivity between people and the third web we are witnessing right now will be built on the blockchain.
Q10. How do MTL & XPR contribute to the current financial system?
MTL acts as a cryptocurrency that is really one of the people, a crypto commodity that anyone can earn by downloading and using the MTL app, soon it will be interoperable with all platforms thanks to Proton. PoPP works on a concept of issuing digital assets around identity and payment flows, now with the introduction of Proton we can safely store identity on-chain as you have seen.
In this new financial system, we will witness the beginning of universal basic income, decentralized identity and decentralized financial services. MTL is sort of like the digital gold of that vision, and XPR like the oil in the machine. XPR acts as the underlying network to store consumer and corporate identity, communicate payment messaging between legacy institutions and eventually devices with IoT.
Q11. What are the advantages of use Metal over similar projects to get more users? What is your strategy in terms of marketing? About proton, why you chose to build proton with EOS and not ETH? This choice gives you any benefit in terms of performance?
Our marketing strategy as we prepare to go to the world is focused around international communities and coins, bringing in as many different blockchains as possible and providing more than just the buy and sell capability but the ability to interact with the blockchain. We chose to build Proton off EOSIO core technologies because we found it to be highly scalable and we felt we could solve a real problem around the lack of existing governance which we modeled after Hedera (protonchain.com/governance)
Q12. What are the advantages of Metal assets being FDIC insured? What risks does it protect users from? In which regions and settlements do FDIC insurance serve?
FDIC insurance is VERY important for any bank and we felt strongly that our customers should feel comfortable knowing their funds are insured within their Metal Pay bank account. This was very hard to obtain in the world of crypto but we found a way, simultaneously we are constantly engaging with regulators and are very optimstic for a day that the FDIC will recognize different types of digital assets like MTL, XPR, BTC, WRX as money and even offer federal deposit insurance on them! More to come on that as I am working on a whitepaper for it.
Can you imagine a federal regulator insuring bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies? Hint: the insurance must be backed by the base pair of currency insured, what a wild time to be alive!
Q13. How are you planning to collaborate Metalpay with Google pay? Do you think it will be accepted in India?
Yes and we are very excited to collaborate with as many payment services as we can in India not only WazirX but Paytm and more traditional financial services companies as well!
Q14. Security is a key component for every app and blockchain so I’ll get straight to my question: How secure are Metal Pay and Proton chain? What makes current vulnerabilities in mobile payment apps be eliminated at Metal Pay and from your Proton Chain?
We take security very seriously and have begun a full audit of all Metal Pay code as well as just completing a full audit of Proton blockchain code. We like to think we have one of the most secure apps while maintaining user-friendliness, encrypting, and storing all information to the highest levels of encryption you would expect with any bank or financial institution and beyond. In regards to 51% attacks the unique delegated proof of stake model with 21 block producers provides unique incentives to stay decentralized, it would literally take 15/21 BP’s to coordinate an attack, and to thwart this we have formed an inner council of the top four Block Producers who oversee all major actions on the chain, sort of like an inner governing council.
Q15. What is your long-term vision about the industry in which Metal is working? Are you afraid someday there will be another project with more innovative technology that can replace Metal?
For any entrepreneur, the fear is always there someone will come and outshine you or best you at what you are doing, so the fire is really burning under our chairs every day. We’re constantly striving not only to innovate but to PLEASE our customers in a big way. If people are not telling us how awesome the app and platform are we know we’re doing something wrong, so we really focus on our users and their desires and wishes. In regards to innovation, we have some of the most innovative minds in crypto on our side and we’ve always managed to stay 10 steps ahead, such as our DeID on Proton blockchain that is most likely going to make Proton Wallet the only legal non-custodial wallet in the US in about 15 days.
Q16. Are there any security improvements planned for Metal: multisig capability, biometric data support?
Yes! We plan to offer some really cool biometrics that will be used to secure your account by moving your face around on camera also to authorize large withdrawals and transactions, as well as distress words that can be used to lock your account if you were put in a compromising situation
Q17. Can you tell us what your role is at Metal/Proton and what the project is about in a few simple sentences?
I’m the CEO, Marshall Hayner and Metal is about making global digital finance accessible for all, no matter where you are in the world or what your situation it’s my belief that banking is a fundamental human right and not a privilege.
Q18. Why the name ‘Metal’?
I love this question… So why Metal? Well, the truth is I kind of suck at naming stuff so I asked the co-founder of my incubator to help me when we were starting the company. Ultimately we realized the reality was all money comes back to Metal. The earliest forms of money were formed from precious metals and stored in metal vaults of iron or steel. When you think about it, when does money not come back to metal? Because all money will be eventually touched by or exchanged for metal at some point, so why shouldn’t you use digital Metal? the future is digital Metal
Q19. What are plans for global expansion, what are you focusing on at this time, expansion or more exchange listing or building of your ecosystem or marketing and partnership?
Love the avatar btw such wow. We are planning on launching the global world version “Metal Pay 3” in 2021, this version will work in every country in the world (minus North Korea and some countries we can’t serve by law) and will work with any Proton integrated system. We are not only focused on exchange listings for MTL and XPR but also marketing internationally through social media, online and offline ads, SEO/ASO and looking for major corporate partnerships with larger industry players as well as blockchain financial services and exchanges like WazirX!