Metallicus, the startup behind the peer-to-peer payments platform Metal Pay, received an undisclosed angel investment from the youngest bitcoin millionaire, Erik Finman.
In partnership with Metal Pay CEO Marshall Hayner, the two look to develop the first “all-in-one” cryptocurrency banking platform, which includes a 17-digital-asset exchange, a digital bank and a payments application with social features similar to Venmo.
Founded in September, Metal Pay has processed approximately $11 million in total payments from nearly 130,000 registered users across 38 states. On a monthly basis, the company processes $1 million in crypto or fiat for around 30,000 active users, according to Hayner.
Finman staked a modest amount of bitcoin to finance the development of the banking and exchange ecosystem, he said, which currently holds approximately $2 million in crypto and fiat on the platform. Though Finman is willing to put in his entire “400 something” bitcoin fortune to fund Metal Pay’s growth, the 20-year-old told CoinDesk.
“We’re looking to beat bitcoin,” Finman said.
“I’ve been a bit back and forth in the past (‘crypto is dead’/ ‘resurrect Bitcoin’) but have found in recent months, especially, that the bitcoin community is super fragmented. And the actual usability for bitcoin is minimal,” Finman said.
This project is an attempt to move beyond the siloed developments within the crypto industry and become a usable financial tool, he said.
Hayner agrees, and said crypto has grown to mirror “the existing financial industry,” rather than the open-source community where he found his footing in “the days when you could still mine BTC on a MacBook.”
Before Metal’s founding in 2016, Hayner helped build Stellar, Dogecoin and Block.io. The company previously received $3 million in funding from G2 Ventures, Gateway and ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees.
Crypto meets conventional
The two took a “crypto-agnostic” approach when building the system and have worked actively with regulators.
Metal Pay is partnered with Arkansas-based Evolve Bank & Trust to provide FDIC-insured deposit accounts. As the platform develops, Evolve will help Metal Pay introduce a number of financial products associated with conventional banking services.
In 2018, Hayner also developed a proof of processed payment as a means of distributing MTL tokens native to the platform. The proof reaches consensus and validates transactions conducted on Metal Pay.
Instead of a mining reward, however, the counterparties receive up to 5 percent of the transaction volume in MTL, which, “for consumers, is construed as cash back,” said Hayner. These rewards, called Pop can be converted into fiat, sent to another Metal Pay user, or held as an investment.
MTL holders are rewarded in additional ways. For instance, those that “hold over 10,000 MTL on an average spot price between Binance, Kraken and Bittrex,” will not be charged fees. Further, Hayner said the company intends to offer free trading on MTL specific pairs and fee-less options for merchants following the introduction of Metal Merchant.
Metal Pay looks to gain market validation in a crowded field of payment apps like Venmo and Cash App. Hayner recognizes the difficulty in attracting non-crypto users, and is working to build an application that passes industry muster first.
“Bitcoin is flawed, but only in the way the Ford Model T was flawed, the concept of a car will live on and constantly be improved upon, hopefully it builds upon the existing model and there is always room for Ford, Toyota, Mazda, BMW, Tesla even!”
Metal Pay screenshot courtesy of Metal Pay