What is Metal (MTL)? | Beginner’s Guide
What is Metal?
Metal wants to reward you with free MTL tokens for simply spending cash or converting fiat into cryptocurrency. When you spend, send, or receive money in the Metal Pay app, you can earn up to 5% back in MTL tokens. For example, when spending $100 with the Metal Pay app, both you and the recipient can earn up to $5 in MTL. You can also think of these tokens as liquid Metal because they can easily be traded for other cryptocurrencies on exchanges or converted into cash within the app. However, if you simply want to hold your Metal, there are rewards for that too. Metal is simplifying payment processes while providing an easy on-ramp into the world of cryptocurrencies.
Let’s start with Metal’s first application, the Metal Vault, a web wallet for Metal, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and ERC20 tokens. There are plans to add more coins such as Litecoin and Monero in the future. On top of the diversity of coins stored in this wallet, there are also plans to add FDIC insured bank accounts to the Metal Vault. With a bank account, you’ll be able to buy Metal within the Metal Vault, earning more Metal in the process.
Metal Pay is a payment processing app for iOS scheduled to be released in Q1 of 2018. The app allows you to send cash or MTL to friends and merchants. Setup for the app should take only a couple minutes.
We're very excited to share this look at the onboarding process for our upcoming #iOS app #MetalPay!
1. Enter Phone Number
2. Set Password
3. Link Bank Account
4. Set Profile Picture
5. Get Popping!$MTL #blockchain #fintech pic.twitter.com/gLXWPA2OI1
— Metal (@metalpaysme) January 21, 2018
There are several key features that set Metal Pay apart from the competition. First, you earn MTL tokens by sending your friends cash, or even simply inviting them to the app. Second, the app allows you to send MTL instead of cash. Third, the MTL you earn can easily be converted to cash within the Metal Pay app. Not only are there no fees for sending friends cash, you both actually earn MTL in the process. While you might be tempted to immediately cash out your MTL or trade it on an exchange, there will be benefits for holding certain amounts of Metal on the app, but those features have not been specified at this time.
People already use payment apps to send money to friends, but why not earn free cryptocurrency in the process? Imagine convincing your landlord to let you send the rent through Metal Pay. If you send $1000 each month, you’d both earn $50 of MTL in the process. Metal Pay is really the crux of the project’s future as it brings people into their ecosystem. Even people who are totally unfamiliar with cryptocurrency can join and enjoy the app.
Here are some exciting demos of the Metal Pay app in action.
Proof of Processed Payment
Metal rewards you in MTL tokens through a process called Proof of Processed Payment, or PoPP. Instead of distributing coins to miners through Proof of Work, PoPP is Metal’s method of distributing coins to people. After confirming your identity with Metal, you’ll be rewarded in MTL via PoPP for sending fiat or converting fiat into crypto.
However, Proof of Processed Payment is a bit more sophisticated than doling out MTL on every transaction. First, there’s a cap of $1000 in MTL rewards per month for individuals and $5000 for merchants. Second, PoPP rewards good behavior. So if you and a friend rapidly send the same $100 back and forth, you’ll quickly be banned from receiving MTL rewards. However, once a legitimate transaction is confirmed, you’ll be able to PoPP and lock in your MTL tokens. Eventually, Metal plans to offer PoPP on sending MTL, but they feel they need to first improve the anti-fraud algorithms to prevent people from gaming the system.
Metal chose 5% as the reward level to put themselves ahead of the typical credit card rewards. But with a finite amount of MTL that will ever exist, you might be thinking, won’t the rewards run out one day? If MTL becomes popular and useful, the value of MTL tokens could increase, causing the rate of MTL token distribution to decrease. If the Metal app becomes so popular that all of the MTL is distributed, the company feels they will have such successful market penetration that they “win” and that Metal will have become a viable medium for exchange.
While peer to peer is free, Metal charges fees for merchant processing. However, merchants are able to purchase platform credit with MTL to “entitle them to a discount on all associated payment processing fees and a discount on merchant services.” Merchants “also receive an additional 5% off payment processing fees for offering a discount when paying with MTL.” As a consumer, it certainly would be exciting to earn a discount simply by paying with cryptocurrency.
Small businesses looking to become early adopters can go here.
Only 100 businesses are eligible for the “Metal PoPP Initiative.”
- 50 Businesses in San Francisco, CA
- 15 Businesses in Los Angeles, CA
- 15 Businesses in New York, NY
- 20 Businesses for The World
Metal may be particularly attractive to cash-only businesses that don’t have the best relationships with the banking industry. According to their whitepaper, the project targets “high-risk merchants, cash-intensive merchants and those who want to accept cryptocurrency.” The cannabis industry in America, for example, is legal on certain state levels but illegal at the federal level, making banks wary of becoming involved.
Ultimately, it certainly behooves merchants to try and adopt MTL if they believe it can lower their payment processing fees while simultaneously earning them free MTL tokens through PoPP.
Coinbase Commerce allows businesses to also accept digital currency payments but provides no rewards. The 5% return in MTL is Metal’s gambit to stand out in the competitive payment processing space.
The Bread app has its own native token in the form of BRD to incentivize users of Bread. However, you won’t be receiving free BRD anytime soon for simply sending money around.
It’s worth noting, just to avoid confusion, that there is already an app in the iOS store called Metalpay that allows for buying and selling gold or silver. They have no association with Metal but it will be interesting to see their response to this in the future.
There are myriad mobile payment platforms including Venmo, Paypal, WeChat pay, and Alipay. For the time being, these platforms have no cryptocurrency integration but with Paypal recently trying to file patents related to crypto, it’s more than likely they are aware of competitors.
Coin Supply and Sustainability
There are 66,588,888 MTL tokens built on the Ethereum token standard ERC20. Two million are held by the Metal foundation with close to 3.8 million reserved for employees and advisors. Roughly 13.3 million is locked up for one year in the operation pool for the Metal Project. And, 21 million tokens are in circulation with 26 million reserved for distribution through PoPP.
In Q4 of 2017, Venmo processed over 10 billion dollars in transactions. If Metal reaches that level of scale, the value of MTL must increase or all tokens will be PoPP’d into existence quite quickly.
The Metal Pay team began development in 2016 in San Francisco. They are led by CEO and founder Marshall Hayner. Hayner’s previous startup, Trees, aimed to deliver marijuana by drone. However, that project was put on hold now that Hayner is high on the prospects of Metal Pay. His contacts in the cannabis industry should come in handy though as they are one of the target demographics to use Metal Pay’s merchant processing. In addition to Hayner, Sid Parihar from Apple joined the team to head up the design of the iOS app. The team consists of numerous other engineers, designers, investors, and advisors.
Roadmap and Progress
While Metal Pay has numerous plans coming down the pipeline, they prefer not to put items on a roadmap unless they are guaranteed to hit the mark. This comes in sharp contrast to the extremely ambitious roadmaps of many cryptocurrencies. They do believe that in Spring 2018 they can roll out Metal bank accounts. With FDIC insured bank accounts, the team has discussed the possibility of loans and escrow services.
In Winter 2018 they plan to have “Shopify-style integrations, plugins for online businesses, [an] integrated NFC hardware tap-to-pay terminal, and much more.” Similar to companies such as Litepay, they also want to be able to offer merchants the ability to instantly convert cryptocurrency payments into fiat to avoid price volatility.
Metal Pay hopes to one day incorporate a split payments feature. Imagine all the free PoPP using Metal Pay to buy your meal and then invoicing your friends for even more PoPP. As MTL transactions within the Metal Pay app are performed off-chain, it also opens up the possibilities for microtransactions. For iOS app updates, you can sign up here and potentially join the beta program.
After launching in July 2017, MTL eventually reached a price of $14. When compared to the pre-sale prices, MTL has come a long way in a short time.
As with most coins in 2018, Metal’s price saw a retracement. However, the price is impressive given that Metal Pay has not even launched yet. The future of the price will hinge on several different factors. The team needs to start delivering on their goals, starting with Metal Pay and merchant integration. Then they need to properly incentivize people to actually hold their MTL instead of instantly liquidating into fiat. If people get in the habit of instantly liquidating all their MTL from PoPP, it won’t be great for the price, but you’d still be receiving 5% rewards for spending.
Where can you buy MTL?
Ideally, you’ll soon be able to earn MTL through PoPP or buy it through Metal’s applications. However, for now, you’ll need to use Binance with Bitcoin or Ethereum pairs. There’s some volume on Huobi with a Bitcoin pairing but roughly 90% of the volume currently takes place on Binance.
Where can you store MTL?
You can store your MTL in the Metal Vault or any other wallet that supports ERC20 tokens. As the Metal Vault is currently only a web wallet, you can also consider Coinomi or Jaxx for mobile.
The vast majority of the world population still does not understand or own any cryptocurrency. However, mobile payment applications are increasingly more common. Metal could form the vital bridge between the two. By offering free MTL, people might start to explore the advantages of cryptocurrencies. Given the choice between the numerous applications that offer no rewards, and one that offers 5% rewards, the decision is easy. When the payment app launches, there’s no downside to trying the app and collecting free MTL through proof of processed payment. And you never know, maybe once you PoPP, you just can’t stop.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Paul is a crypto-enthusiast, strategy game world champion, mathematician, and educator based in Taiwan. When he’s not drinking coffee to fuel these interests, you can find him on the way to a coffee shop.