Metal CEO Marshall Hayner recently answered some of the questions Invest in Blockchain posed, along with those of others, in his latest AMA (Ask Me Anything). We have provided a transcript of the video below. Learn more about life at Metal, how the company is evolving, and how it will keep adapting to a changing landscape.
Metal runs a regular AMA during which Hayner keeps the community up to date with regards to company progress and updates. During these, he regularly answers questions posed to Metal by the media and the startup’s Reddit community. What follows is a transcript of the AMA.
Metal AMA Transcript
So we are here today doing our AMA – also known as Ask Me Anything – for Metal, a very cool payments company based in San Francisco, California.
My background started in cryptocurrency in decentralized technology as a hobby.
So I discovered Bitcoin in 2009, thanks to BitTorrent, spending a lot of time playing in those communities, looking at how we could grow this technology and what it would look like in the future, and I saw a really cool artist – Trent Reznor, actually – who showed up in one of these communities and said, “I want to release my music to the public. I want to use BitTorrent. I want to use this technology.”
And through that discussion, Bitcoin came up, and I said, “What’s Bitcoin, is that like BitTorrent?” And I started researching, and the journey began right there. I was fascinated. I was enthralled. I wanted to be a part of it. I saw the same excitement that I had with BitTorrent in Bitcoin, and I started exploring and I started playing.
So I was one of the first people there on Bitcointalk. I was buying a pack of socks. I was trading Bitcoins when they had no value, and then it suddenly took on value and it started getting really exciting. That was just the very, very beginning. From there, we started to really grow, and we started seeing some really interesting use cases, and we still, to this day, haven’t really scratched the surface.
Can you tell us about a typical day at the office?
Our typical day at the Metal office starts at 7 am. Our compliance officer is usually in the office at 7 am sharp to start the day, and throughout the next hour/hour and a half, we all start to pour into the office. By 9 am, everyone’s there and we do our morning Standup at 10 am, so everyone in the team goes through what they’ve been working on for the past 24 hours and where they’re going, and then we end the Standup, and then we get to work.
So the development department sits right next to the design department. The business development has their own little area, and then Compliance and I sit next to each other and we work together really closely. Throughout the day, we are going through our different projects on BaseCamp and checking off all the different projects that we need. Also going through our strategy and working on the different areas that the different departments need from each other, and we’re usually in the office ‘til almost midnight every night because we work really late. We work really hard. It’s easy because we’re having fun.
What are the roles that you are looking to fill as Metal expands?
Some of the roles that we’ve recently filled at Metal include the Director of Business Development, the Vice President of Business Development, our new Blockchain engineer, and our new front-end engineer. Additionally, we expect to bring on a backend engineer, another iOS developer, Android, and a plethora of other roles over the next couple of months.
Will you consider releasing a roadmap?
We did not put out a roadmap and made a concerted decision that we wanted to do it this way because I feel that most cryptocurrency projects create roadmaps that are unrealistic and don’t necessarily show the actual timeline of the company. So lots of times these deadlines are missed.
We have a very clear internal roadmap of where we want to go, and we feel that we’re really focused on the buying and selling of the cryptocurrency to match that roadmap. So we would rather just release the pieces that we are planning on releasing on the days that we know we are exactly releasing them, and we put that out to the public when it’s ready instead of giving an unrealistic timetable several years into the future of many things that may or may not happen.
As we’ve seen with other cryptocurrencies, these timelines are usually not met. But with Metal, we want to make sure that we meet every single mark on our timeline. So when we release a date, we meet it.
Can you explain how Metalpay makes money with their platform?
Metal has several different models for revenue. One of those models is the real estate in Metal itself. Proof of process payment (PoPP) works as a funnel to allow other cryptocurrencies to reach a wider audience. So we take a fee from those cryptocurrencies when they provide their cryptocurrency as a way to reach their target market as a marketing initiative, and that fee comes out of that funnel and we meet the requirements for the cryptocurrency – what their target market is and who they’re trying to reach. Additionally, we don’t distinguish between cryptocurrencies and brands. So if you’re Target or Starbucks or Best Buy, you can also use our same mechanism to distribute those rewards through proof of process payment. That is one of our models.
An additional model is the fee from merchant processing. So when we connect with merchant processors, they want to bring in more users, more from their merchants, and we bring it in with our customers. Through that, we develop partnerships through the revenue split for payment processing fees.
What happened in the Necker Cup?
In November 2017, Metal was the presenting sponsor at the Necker Cup, which is a really awesome event, hosted by Virgin and Richard Branson. It’s a charity-focused event where organizations come together from all over the world to raise money for charity. This year it was to help raise support for the restoration of the British Virgin islands after that hurricane, and Metal came together with the Metal foundation and some other amazing brands and companies – Manuca Doctor, a bunch of other ones which I don’t have time to mention here, but we came together for this cause and it was really really fantastic.
We spent some time with Richard Branson, with the Virgin Unite team, Premier Live, Destination Luxury, a bunch of amazing companies that are bringing their energy and their time here together to raise awareness for this cause for the charity. And through doing so, Metal was able to raise over a million dollars in under 30 minutes for Virgin Unite to restore the BVI, which we thought was really amazing. Additionally, we found some amazing partners, potential hires, investors, and really awesome, caring, influential people that we think can provide a ton of value to the Metal team and company.
Can you give any more definitive answer than “soon” as to when marketing and PR will begin?
We have brought on some amazing, very talented professionals in the PR space and the marketing space – all contractors at this point – and we’re going to bring on a full-time role. You are going to see a tremendous amount of high-quality press media, kind of like the video that you are watching today. That is going to be ramping up and reaching a crescendo at our launch time.
How long after making a transaction does it take to receive the PoPP?
How long does it take a user to earn PoPP after making a transaction? And the answer is – as soon as the payment is probably processed. So what does that mean? It means that when the payment comes from my external bank account and goes to your Metal account, when that payment is probably processed, you can earn PoPP. Now, if I have cash sitting on my Metal pay account and I send it to you, that means that you’re going to get it instantly.
What would I invest in a coin that is going to have a compound volume growth through PoPP? Won’t that depreciate the value of each coin?
The value of a network is based on the amount of users that are based on it, the transactional volume, what they are already doing, and the use case for it. We intend to create the largest user base and the largest use case that cryptocurrency has ever seen.
How do you envision the business model changing once you scale enough for maximum token distribution to be reached and users can no longer receive distribution rewards?
The idea behind the PoPP distribution mechanism is that it really never truly ends. So I get the question pretty often – what happens when the 26.341 million Metal runs out? And the answer is that we succeed. If we can get that many people over the course of a year, over a billion [users] / 10 billion plus dollars in payments, to own the currency, if we can bring on over 10 million of users in 1 year or less than 2 years, I believe that we succeeded. But it is my full intention that we can spread Metal out beyond a decade, that it may never truly end, because as the network grows, as the currency appreciates in value, our time to distribute increases. As time to distribute increases, Metal becomes an institution, a brand, a verb that’s well-known – I can Metal you.
Metal has a net distribution of 10%. Isn’t that too high? Are you worried about people taking advantage of this?
We came up with a 5% model because we looked at other cashback rewards products, other credit cards, and we realized that this is the sweet spot, the place we think is above traditional cash rewards programs. At the same time, it’s not so exorbitant that Metal would bleed out very quickly through the PoPP system. We are always worried about people trying to game the system and trying to get Metal where they shouldn’t have Metal. To this end, we have developed our anti-fraud measures, our anti-money laundering measures. And, as we start to get that data from the people that are playing games and what we call “psycho-money payments”, we develop a fraud risk score for the kind of behaviour that we want to avoid. Ultimately, this becomes incredibly valuable for fraud, for our AML to weed out the bad actors.”
End of transcript
To see Hayner in action, watch the AMA video below: