Metal (MTL) is a blockchain project that wants to simplify cryptocurrencies and make them more accessible to the general public.
They are doing this with a payment app and platform that pays its users for spending, sending and receiving money. That includes fiat as well as cryptocurrencies. Every transaction made with the Metal Pay app can earn users as much as 5% back in MTL tokens.
However, with so many payment processing options, can Metal really compete?
In this review I will take an in-depth look at the metal project, it’s team members and the pros and cons of using their application. I will also look at the long term use cases for the MTL token and whether there are prospects for broader adoption.
What is Metal?
Metal is a payment application which allows people to make micropayments quickly and cost effectively. They also have their own proprietary cryptocurrency that they will reward users with when they spend with the wallet.
Spend $100 and get $5 back. Spend $1,000 and get $50 back. You can get up to $1,000 per month back in the form of MTL tokens, which can easily be converted to cash or other cryptocurrencies right within the app. The goal behind the development of the MTL token is that once the users have it they can use it for more regular payments.
Overview of how Metal Pay works. Source: Metal Whitepaper
So, in essence you can think of it as a decentralised version of Venmo that will reward users for constant use. This could create the economic incentives for people to migrate to the Metal application. Metal has also developed a host of other applications that they hope will supplement their main selling points.
Metal has already launched three apps that help new users get started with cryptocurrencies.
The very first application launched was the Metal Vault, which was released in October 2017. It is a web wallet for storing MTL and any other ERC-20 token. It can also store BTC and ETH and there are plans to support additional coins in the future.
You can even purchase Metal from within the Metal Vault, which earns you even more Metal. And if you have a reason to be worried about losing your funds it’s also possible to lock the Metal Vault, making it a good cold storage alternative.
Metal Pay is the highly anticipated payment processing app from Metal. It was first scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2018, but delays kept it from being released until September 2018. It allows U.S. users (excluding AL, CT, GA, HI, ID, IL, KS, NY, NC, TX, and WA) to send and receive money using just the phone number of the recipient.
And you are rewarded with MTL tokens when sending and receiving, as well as when using the app to make purchases. Think of it as a mobile Paypal app that rewards you rather than charging you fees. Metal Pay also has a referral program that pays you $10 for any friends that sign up using your referral link.
The Metal team released a huge update for the start of 2019 and you are now able to buy and sell 15 different cryptocurrencies right within the app. These are as follows: Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash ABC (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Dogecoin (DOGE), Dash (DASH), EOS (EOS), Stellar (XLM), Ripple (XRP), Basic Attention Token (BAT), 0x (ZRX), Zcash (ZEC), Monero (XMR), Binance Coin (BNB), and Waves (WAVES).
This means you have a lot of options for what to do with all the MTL you’ll be earning when using the app. While it might be tempting to convert all your MTL to other crypto or to fiat, the team has said there will soon be an incentive for holding MTL within the app, so you might want to hold your MTL for now. Metal Pay is the center of the Metal ecosystem, and once people come to appreciate earning cryptocurrency for using a mobile payments app they aren’t likely to go back and Metal usage will explode.
Metal acquired the micro-investment app Crumbs in May 2018 and has integrated it into its ecosystem fully. With crumbs you can link credit and debit cards and every purchase will be rounded up to the nearest dollar to pay you small amounts of MTL with each card use. It’s effortless cryptocurrency investing that you won’t even notice.
Metal Breadcrumbs Overview. Source: Google Play Store
You can also set Crumbs to make regular purchases of crypto or you can use the app to make ala carte purchases at any time.
Metal Proof of Processed Payment
Metal uses something they call Proof of Processed Payment (PoPP) as a consensus mechanism for their blockchain. This is also how tokens are distributed to users for sending, receiving and purchasing through the Metal Pay app.
While it’s easiest to simply say users will receive MTL for using the Metal Pay app, it’s actually a bit more complex. For one thing, you can’t make more than $1,000 in MTL rewards per month as an individual (merchants can make up to $5,000). PoPP was also designed to punish bad behavior to keep users from gaming the system.
So you can’t just send the same $100 back and forth between two users to collect MTL rewards. If you try that you’ll quickly find your account banned from the system. The Metal team takes fraud very seriously and work hard to keep it from their system.
The 5% reward was chosen to put Metal Pay ahead of credit card rewards, which typically max out at 3%. But since there is a finite amount of MTL tokens (66,588,888) it is possible the team could decide to lower the reward amount in the future. There were 26 million tokens put aside as rewards.
It is also possible the rewards in terms of MTL tokens will decline if the value of MTL increases dramatically. Consider that in the fourth quarter of 2017, Venmo processed over $10 billion in transactions. The value of MTL has to increase if Metal scales to that level or else all the MTL rewards will soon be distributed. Of course at that level of penetration the Metal Pay app will undoubtedly be considered successful and further rewards won’t be necessary to keep the app viable.
The Metal Team
There seems to be a pretty competant team that is driving the Metal project forward. Members have diverse backgrounds ranging from entrepreneurship to other development roles.
For example, the CEO, Marshall Hayner, is a serial entrepreneur who has worked for a number of cryptocurrency related businesses. For example, he was a contractor on the Stellar development foundation, a marketing manager at Block.io and has founded the Bitcoin Fair as well as QuickCoin.
Some members of the Metal Team
Joining him in the CTO position is Glenn Mariën who is a full stack engineer. He has also been in the cryptocurrency space for quite some time and has founded a number of crypto related businesses. These include the likes of BitBetween and Dogechain.info.
There are over eight other team members so if you wanted more information on them you could visit the about us section on their website. It seems as if Metal pay is also increasing their headcount as they are advertising open positions. This could mean that there will be more resources the company can deploy when they roll out their new products.
The main competition for Metal Pay comes from the same payment processing apps that they are trying to replace. These would be the likes of Paypal, Venmo, AliPay and WeChat pay. These are centralized solutions that give nothing back to users. That could change however as we know Paypal has registered several blockchain patents and is likely aware of the competition coming from Metal Pay.
Can Metal compete against Brd?. Source: Brd
In the blockchain space there is Coinbase Commerce, which is useful for merchants, but provides no rewards. The Bread wallet also has its own cryptocurrency BRD to incentivize users, but there are no BRD rewards being issued for using the Bread wallet.
The MTL Token
The MTL token was released in an ICO that took place on June 9, 2017. The team sold 55 million tokens at $0.18 each, raising nearly $10 million. After the ICO the MTL token rose to an all-time high of $13.86 in September 2017. That is quite different from most other tokens that reached their all-time highs in December 2017. MTL did rally in December 2017, reaching $10.87 and again in January, reaching $10.81. Since then the coin has steadily declined to its price of $0.28 as we begin 2019.
The token didn’t see much of a jump in September after launching the Metal Pay app, which was surprising. And the price has continued lower still, likely because Metal hasn’t released a feature to incentivize users to hold MTL. Until they do that users will almost certainly continue selling their MTL rewards as soon as they receive them, driving the price of MTL steadily lower.
If you think MTL is a bargain at current prices you can purchase it through Binance, Upbit and Bittrex. There’s also a small amount of volume on Huobi and Kyber Network as well as a handful of smaller exchanges.
You can store your MTL in the Metal Pay app, or in the Metal Vault. And since it is an ERC-20 token you can also use any wallet that supports ERC-20 tokens. Alternatively, you can also use Metal Vault to store any ERC-20 tokens and the Mobile Pay app now supports 15 cryptocurrencies besides MTL.
Metal Pay is looking to make cryptocurrency more accessible to the masses and that’s a very good goal for the entire cryptocurrency ecosystem. And when you consider that the vast majority of the world’s population hasn’t started using cryptocurrency yet you can see that Metal Pay has an immense potential customer base.
One thing they already have going for them is the popularity of mobile payment applications. With a 5% reward offered for using their mobile payment app they should be able to entice a large user base to join them. And if they really do make cryptocurrency easy to use with their app the word of mouth alone could cause an explosion of users.
After all, who wouldn’t want to get 5% back from all their purchases and money transfers? And the $10 referral award makes it more likely users will share the app with their friends. Metal Pay seems to have a bright future, but they will need to create an incentive for users to hold MTL rather than selling it immediately, or the value of MTL will remain depressed.
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