Hey all. We just completed the AMA for Metalpay at the Cryptocopia slack ( https://cryptocopia.herokuapp.com). Enjoy the read!
*MYCO* @channel Starting Metalpay Ask Me Anything, with Metalpay CEO Marshall Hayner. AMA Rules – use reply threads for discussion. Questions are top level, everything else is a reply. Please wait for me to introduce and ask a few opening questions, before I turn it over for public questions of any kind. Alright @marshall, let’s begin. Tell us who you are, and brag a bit about your past experience in the blockchain space.
*MARSHALL* @myco So my background starts with an interest in tech around the dot com bubble when I was in my teens. I fell in love with Bittorrent very early on and was enamored with this idea of decentralized networks. I knew it was going to be something big.
In 2009 I came across a thread on what.cd in which Trent Reznor appeared and we discussed how we could monetize artists releasing albums on the tracker. I bought some early bitcoins… A big part of the story I’m leaving out here: I was involved in the cannabis industry for most of my life.
2012 the crypto price starts rising and I’m thinking, this is really interesting, the software is shit. I wonder what it could be with some halfway decent software. In 2013 Bitcoin goes to $265 and I drop what I’m doing with cannabis and start my crypto journey. I wanted to make the best most usable piece of software. QuickCoin was born and thus my journey into making cryptocurrency usable.
QuickCoin took off like a rocket and every VC in the valley started calling me. I had no idea what was going on but I knew we had struck a cord of some sort. Bitcoins flying around on FaceBook. We took after a thread on Reddit discussing using the word “bits” to make bitcoin more friendly. Everyone adopted it. Coinbase, Bitpay, pretty much every major service started talking about “bits”. Shortly after QuickCoin I joined Stellar and shaped the Facebook giveaway program. After my experience at Stellar I went to work with Dr. Atif Nazir on Block.io and earned my security chops.
Then helped create and advise a cannabis payments platform called “Serica” which went through YCombinator with my genius friend Taariq Lewis.
While I was helping Taariq with Serica I worked on a cannabis delivery platform called Trees with the hopes of onboarding cannabis merchants to use Bitcoin. In 2016 I joined an incubator called Gateway (gtwy.co) the first incubator in the world to fund and mentor cannabis-tech startups that touch the plant. I quickly shifted my focus to go back to the Serica model and Metal was born. I wanted to return to my roots with QuickCoin and finish what I started. Making crypto accessible for everyone, using cannabis as my launchpad.
*MYCO* So, when you have to elevator pitch metal, to people that aren’t knowledgeable about blockchain, how do you describe it?
*MARSHALL* @myco Metal is like Venmo on steroids. People can use Metal to replace their regular bank account an start to earn crypto for sending and receiving traditional payments. Cryptocurrency is currently a penalty for any normal user. We are making it a reward. How can you expect people to get into crypto when it’s like shoving someone who doesn’t know how to swim into the deep end of the pool? The truth is you need to bring them to the shallow end and gently guide them. Metal allows people to earn crypto by sending and receiving like they do with Venmo/Square cash.
We are the most secure crypto wallet out there, supporting Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, ERC20/23 tokens. Additionally we give you full US based FDIC insured bank accounts. PoPP is the icing in the cake: earn crypto by sending to friends/family and paying for items to businesses.
We are the first Ethereum wallet (that I know of) to work on smart contracts
You own all of your keys, we don’t play with your crypto or your money. No fractional reserve banking with your tokens or your dollars.
We will give other fiat on/off crypto exchanges a run for their money with an amazing team: ex-Visa, American Express, Stellar, Bitcoin, Dogecoin
*MYCO* Can you give us some insight onto what has been created so far for Metal? Some kind of wallet that you say is advanced in some way?
*MARSHALL* @myco We have what we believe to be the most advanced crypto wallet out there. Multi-sig on all cryptos. We’ve solved the telco 2FA takeover attack. We have a fully functional wallet that will be released in the weeks ahead. We support: Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and ERC20/23 with more chains coming online shortly. Banking integration shortly thereafter that target: August/September
We have the banking and card partners as well agreements already signed 😉
*MYCO* Alright, Let’s open it up to crowd questions now, and let Marshall work through them at his own pace. Non questions will be deleted. Discuss all you want in threads now. Use emojis to indicate questions that you agree that you want answered
*CRYPTOWHALE* Is this the true “PayPal” of crypto? What makes it so special?
*MARSHALL* @cryptowhale It is the first of it’s kind. We respect high risk businesses like cannabis and adult entertainment. It’s a complete departure from the stodgy apps like our popular options today. Also we know how valuable lightning fast support is, so we’re going to be offering that with a host of knowledgable reps on hand 24/7.
*CRYPTOWHALE* How many medical marijuana companies are on board?
*MARSHALL* @cryptowhale Over 140 merchants signed up. We are very lucky to have our mentors at Gateway as they are bringing the entire industry to our door. Literally there is no other option for them. There are a few competitors out there but no one I believe that has done their homework and offers what we have. A fully featured crypto and banking platform.
*CRYPTOWHALE* What separates MTL from competitors?
*MARSHALL* @cryptowhale I don’t think anyone has done anything like this before. Crypto adoption is the thing we have all been waiting to happen and yet it’s happened. I’ve had a taste of what it would take to make this happen and now me and my team are executing on it. Also we have a rockstar team, that’s very important when you want to make a world changing product. We hired ex: Visa, American Express, Dogecoin, Bitcoin, Apple, Saatchi and Saatchi
*CRYPTOWHALE* How many banking agreements have been signed?
*MARSHALL* @cryptowhale two so far and counting, we are actively exploring other countries as well like NZ thanks to our investors and partners at G2.ventures
*CRYPTOWHALE* How many retailers are on board?
*MARSHALL* @cryptowhale Over 140 and it’s mostly all cannabis merchants right now as that is our main focus however we’ve been talking to small-med range business and they all love it.
*NOWAYJUANJOSE* The general public has been hostile about adopting crypto. Maybe due to difficulty using it day to day, and the volatility that comes with the territory. What is metal going to do to ensure vendors accept metal, and that price fluctuation doesn’t intimidate people.
*MARSHALL* @nowayjuanjose We allow them to accept crypto pegged tokens (Tether) for high risk businesses as well as other crypto options (Metal, Bitcoin, Ethereum). For low risk business we open them a business bank account and allow them to accept in USD, the crypto reward (PoPP) is a bonus for using our system. I’ve talked to over a hundred cannabis merchants, some of the most skeptical people out there about how their money is handled, they all love us. Every square merchant I talk to I ask them if they would be open to using a p2p payments platform that pays them to accept payments (ACH is 10 cents a transaction and even cheaper when prepaid with MTL) and with the PoPP reward they actually go negative on payment processing fees.. The usual response is “sign me up, now.”
*CRYPTOWHALE* What methods of marketing/adoption will be implemented in the next 90 days?
*MARSHALL* @cryptowhale I’m glad you asked this. So many cool things on the horizon. If you google me you will see I’m quite good at PR 😉
Examples of some of my last PR for trees:
Cannabis is the springboard to get profitable from day one. Tackling Square merchants from day one is very tough. We are going after the most viable and highest profit market ASAP. Going after the low risk merchants won’t be easy but we have a secret weapon that Square and Revel won’t adopt any time soon: PoPP (we own the patent on it)
Including cryptocurrency integration
*SNAPPAZ* The wallets you make available to the public, will they be available for multiple platforms? (Mobile/desktop)
*MARSHALL* The first version is web only and we are working on iOS right now. Android will be supported. Scott Davis is our iOS developer and has worked with our UX Designer Sid Parihar in the past. We want to roll out mobile as quickly as possible and have a mobile focus perspective.
Desktop versions coming later in the year for OS X and Windows (However I think no one should ever use Windows for anything crypto)
*CRYPTOWHALE* On a scale of 1-10 how did Richard Branson react to the vision behind MTL? 10 being phenomenal.
*MARSHALL* @cryptowhale He fucking loved it. Richard is an incredibly down to earth Billionaire that doesn’t care about money anymore, he just wants to change the world. I painted the picture for him of every brand and organization having a coin. Virgincoin, Coca-cola coin. He was digging it. When I explained in the future you could send money and get 105%, 150%, 200% on the other side via PoPP and cryptocurrency he was blown away. I explained the financial world is changing, and along with it VC is being turned upside down. The future is tokens. He’s on board with cryptocurrency and wants to see it happen. He’s a big fan of Metal.
Going to Necker is a dream come true, and I hope to have Richard as a mentor. I think I’m 75% of the way there. He likes me and the vision, the rest is getting him to agree to mentor me, which I think is a strong possibility. He wants to invest, however getting his money is not what’s important to me. I want something more valuable than his money. His time and knowledge.
*3-IDE-RAVEN* You have mentioned Metalpay’s PoPP as a potential alternative to the way ICOs are handled today. How will that work? and will that solution fall victim to the same ETH blockchain bloat we are seeing lately?
*MARSHALL* @3-ide-raven Ooh yes!!! Great question. Okay here goes..
In the future the SEC is not going to allow these public sales to continue in the US, mark my words. Accredited investors only will be allowed to participate (maybe they will amend the JOBS act, but I won’t hold my breath).
PoPP starts with MTL token but won’t end with it. After we prove ourselves with MTL and make it the base currency of our application (allowing it to have discounts on the platform for services and gamifying it) we begin to onboard other tokens.
We plan on working with a prominent fund here in Silicon Valley to help get these projects funded and incubated. ICO is not a great distribution method as you may have seen. A giant whale shows up and takes everything and distribution goes to shit. PoPP is a true model to get tokens into the hands of everyone. We plan to work with the fund to help great projects get phenomenal distribution and exposure through our network. Furthermore earning crypto through normal usage, means exposure to the masses. When people ditch PayPal/Venmo/Square and come to Metal, we know we’ve won.
*BANGTHAI* what do you think are your greatest accomplishments to date?
*MARSHALL* @bangthai Getting to work with a legend and a big source of inspiration: Bram Cohen.
Getting over 140 cannabis merchants banging on my door and counting with zero marketing.
Meeting Richard Branson and having him tell me I’m going to be very successful and show enthusiasm and excitement for Metal.
Creating one of the best wallets in the space, solving the telco 2FA takeover attack. Being the first Ethereum security focused contract based wallet for mobile and web.
Getting the Lead UX designer of Apple who designed the App Store icon, iMessage and iPhone icons, iWatch and iPad lock screen.
and I just have to say, having such an amazing team: Glenn the wizard, Andy, Oscar, Madisyn, Sid, Scott, Yannik, Gavin and more to come!
our amazing advisors: Bram Cohen, Vinny Lingham, Juan Llanos, Andrew Lee, Jason King, Matt Fiske and a few which don’t want to be publicly named (because of the cannabis piece lol)
and amazing investors, how can I forget!! Erik Voorhees, Ben Nguyen Tang Le, Mario Pazos, G2 Ventures, Gateway, Alphabit and many more that are not mentioned!! Many of whom are here now
ok I’ll stop now lol
I know a left a bunch of people out but I want to acknowledge them all, may have to come back here haha
*CRYPTOLOVE* Will Metal be available on Bittrex?
*GMETAL* @cryptolove While we are familiar with exchange operators we are not able to comment at this time. Bittrex is one of our priorities though.
We will release an announcement of the distribution to existing holders, after that we have worked hard to comply and be compatible with the familiar exchanges in the crypto industry. However, it’s most polite to not say what commitments we have.
*MARSHALL* Unfortunately I can’t say! Wish I could, but I’m sure you know why I can’t 😉
*BANGTHAI* What will be the Project mascot. For example Amanda for DASH?
*MARSHALL* Ooooh, good question. Maybe Snoop Dogg? Been trying to link up with him. He’s very interested in crypto and reached out through one of our advisors!
One of the Gateway companies already got him invested, so it’s not impossible to imagine the D o double G could be involved.
If you are thinking more cartoon-ey mascot. I know Madisyn is working on some awesome characters 🙂
*JESSESCARFACE* What is the teams favorite strain?
*MARSHALL* I’m a big OG fan, anything with OG cross is good in my book. I’m a cookies fan as well as Sherbert. Anything Berner/Sherbinski produces is good in my book. I like that gas-ey flavor with hints of pine and lemon.
These days I find myself getting into that THC-A crystallite powder
Sour Diesel, always a classic too. The original SD.
*MYCO* Do you ever have marijuana fueled brainstorming sessions after hours?
*MARSHALL* All the time, haha. However Glenn has yet to arrive in the states, which happens in a few weeks. I’m expecting much more of that to happen in person. I used to enjoy every night but these days I find myself working right up until I pass out :/
Wake up, repeat process.
However, when I take a sales call and go to close a dispensary it’s always: please take your pick of whatever you want from the store. Jason from Alphabit knows what I’m talking about lol. side note: we have our board meeting every Friday at 4:20pm 🙂
*FRANCISJERVIS* How will you stop rewards being accumulated by using bots to bounce payments between wallets?
*MARSHALL* Happy to explain this. You can only earn PoPP under certain conditions:
You must identify on the platform with a picture of an ID and selfie + last four of social security number
You can only earn PoPP when funding from an outside bank account or using your existing Metal fiat balance.
You can’t bounce payments back and forth earning PoPP in an unlimited fashion (nor can you move them in a giant circle), you are limited to an undisclosed amount and transfers between users and businesses, which is ever evolving.
We reserve the right to ban anyone that is attempting to cycle, in most cases we just turn off your ability to earn PoPP
tl;dr don’t try to game it, you could lose your ability to earn it, furthermore all you will do is sign up a ton of users for us (we love that)
*AIRDRAKEN* In terms of the larger picture across countries, perhaps where cannabis isn’t legalized. How would you look to grow outside that target market? Do you think focusing heavily on cannabis would hinder you in your growth?
*MARSHALL* When banks come online for cannabis it won’t be instant. Cannabis industry goes on trust and reputation and that’s exactly what we plan to earn through our presence in the community and our work with The Metal Foundation (our non profit arm).
We never publicly talk about cannabis as a company, as much as we love it, we don’t advertise it.
Our focus is a payments platform, we just happen to work very nicely with the cannabis industry and high risk payments.
We plan on growing outside the US by being a crypto first focus, allowing users to send across borders and receive crypto only in the place we have yet to make banking partners. Paypal was banking first, we are crypto first. We have integrations for both in the US and that’s where we start.
*OOJACOBOO* How’s the Metal business model work when people shift from using credit cards and actually start paying with crypto directly?
*MARSHALL* @oojacoboo The day that happens we have won. When that happens we know we have arrived.
Our merchant model is only one arm of our business, alongside PoPP we make a profit off of all tokens that we approve to come on to the platform to distribute.
We are continually finding new avenues for business and won’t stop with payment processing. PoPP is our second arm for revenue.
*SQUIRTLECOIN* thoughts as to whether the first mainstream clients being cannabis related might stigmatize the brand/product?
*MARSHALL* I’m not worried about it. High risk is just a tiny slice of a much larger picture for us. Visa and Mastercard are used for high risk payments, so we embrace high risk. We don’t allow illegal business and are very strict about this and limiting/cancelling accounts and reporting where we need to.
On that note, have you ever been to vicemo.com? haha.
We strictly prohibit illegal activity. Cannabis isn’t illegal on a state level and many countries have legalized it. For those countries and jurisdictions we support it.
*MYCO* What is behind the choice of name metal? Is it in any way related to metal music?
*MARSHALL* We plan on putting out a solid Metal debit card. We like the feel to it.
The name came from Carter Laren ond of the co-founders of Gateway Incubator. I was struggling to come up with a name and we sat in his office for hours until he just said “I’ve got it. It’s Metal. Precious Metal.”
It stuck, I was sold. I want to Metal people. In the future this will be a verb. I’ll Metal you, and you’ll earn MTL.
Many people’s first exposure to cryptocurrency will be Metal.
and I think the name is very fitting.
*AEPAC* Thoughts on the ICO? From a casual crypto trader POV it was a bit of a mess compared to others like Civic for instance…
*MARSHALL* @aepac I agree. It didn’t go down exactly the way I wanted. The initial plan was to have public exposure as per our opinion from counsel. However, things changed, from a risk angle team members became worried and our counsel urged us to ditch the public sale. If I could rewind the clock and declare no public sale I would have, but this is the way it happened. I was never worried about distribution as we have PoPP which will reach more users than we could ever have with a public sale. For those that are nervous I urge them to wait on the sidelines and check out our app when it launches, try it out and send money to family and friends. If you like it, buy some MTL token.
I want to thank everyone who has supported us on this decision. It wasn’t easy. I know a lot of projects throw caution to the wind and say fuck a legal opinion, I’m forming a non-profit in Switzerland! This is the wrong perspective and five years from now I know I will be proven right. The partners we are talking to would not be excited about us having a public sale, I think this is the move for us as we plan to really grow, unlike many other projects out there, enamored with the idea of closing crazy amounts of capital in “ICO”.
After avoiding a public sale, I know with solid execution and growing our community people will see the true value and instead of having a public sale, we will increase our value to the token through user adoption. In the words of Satoshi:
If you don’t believe me or don’t get it, I don’t have time to try to convince you, sorry.
*CRYPTOWHALE* Will there be a special party for all the pre sale investors? (Trying to hit the dab with you Marshall.)
*MARSHALL* Yes yes and yes. Announcements forthcoming. It’s going down in SF
Come dab and have a Belgian beer with us!!
I would love to take some dabs with the community. I plan on it.
*THE8THBIT* I apologize if this has already been asked, but will the MTL wallet require users to install blockchains, or is it designed to act more like blockchain.info/myetherwallet.com?
*MARSHALL* Oh, it’s super light. No blockchain download required, we host it from our end. We definitely support those running full nodes and will spin up as many as we can to support the network. I think Vitalik said it: In the future all of the nodes will be run by Amazon and Google. Scary stuff, and I feel that it’s up to everyone to run a full node at home with a Bitseed or from a server. Support the blockchain!
That being said – we know it’s not possible to do this from mobile and it’s kind of annoying to have full hosted blockchains on a Macbook pro or Air. We are agnostic when it comes to blockchains and we support all the cool ones. As far as full nodes in the app, we have no plans for it right now.
This is part of our mobile first strategy.
tl;dr if you’re down with the blockchain I suggest run a full node from a cheap PC tower. Everyone should be doing this, but I get why not everyone will. It’s our duty to host full nodes as crypto people, and I can personally say I run a full Bitcoin and Ethereum node from my home.
takes up a lot of HD space and bandwidth but it’s the right thing to do if you believe in the tech
I fully support people running full nodes at home or at work/school
*MARSHALL* @mindblossom This is a fantastic question. The others are essentially glorified prepaid cards. The business of prepaid is quite crappy, especially when you relegate it to cryptocurrency.
We are a fully featured crypto and banking platform with US Based FDIC insured accounts, a crypto wallet in which you own your own keys and can earn (and help others earn) crypto through sending p2p payments and paying for merchandise.
tl;dr The others are companies who have built their business around something that should be a feature. Those features are built into our app for accessibility to make the project awesome, however we have a real business and provide an alternative to the larger fiat on/off exchanges. You can buy crypto inside our app with your external bank account. You can use the bank account inside Metal to ditch your normal bank. This goes WAY beyond what others are doing. Sorry for any fans of those projects in the room. Those companies are glorified prepaid crypto cards that will struggle to monetize those angles (if they ever do).
We have built a business around merchant processing and provide a fully featured banking service. These competitors do not offer what we offer. I hope this answers the question.
*3-IDE-RAVEN* Lets have this be the final question for the evening. We’ve been going for 1 hour and 15 minutes now, so its probably a good time to cease any new questions. Ill let Marshall continue to reply, but in advance, Id like to thank @marshall @gmetal and @jason_alphabit for coming in and answering all of our questions. Also, if you want to keep up on the Metalpay project, please join their slack by registering at https://metalpay.chat/
*MARSHALL* Thanks everyone! This was a lot of fun, I hope I was able to answer all the questions for everyone. If you want feel free to PM me and I will answer more questions or join us in https://metalpay.chat
big thanks to @3-ide-raven @cryptowhale @myco @wilhelm @genghiscoin @snappaz @9090 @mrlee440 @b4lsi and all of the moderators and community members of Cryptocopia!