Regardless of the volatility of cryptocurrencies, the long-term trend – driven by technology and the continuing perceived weakness of banking systems – is still in place for a substantial acceptance and usage of crypto across many different applications in everyday life. Blockchain technology is inexorably moving crypto forward by plugging in and integrating cryptocurrency transactions into the mainstream of the financial world – banking, corporate, retirement - with bank-level security and safety protocols that will lead to much greater adoption. The recent banking collapse of three U.S. banks and the downgrading of U.S. creditworthiness continues to highlight the structural and foundational cracks in the banking system that has also been a major concern and reason for the development of cryptocurrencies and will continue to feed that adoption.
Metal Pay – a leading crypto app and exchange - is an excellent example of how blockchain technology is bridging the world of crypto and finance through continuous development and innovation. We reached out to Marshal Hayner, Founder & CEO and Irina Berkon, Board member & CFO of Metallicus – the San Francisco-based FinTech company that created Metal Pay and is building the world’s most customer-centric, digital asset, banking network supporting retail and corporate clients by providing global access between traditional banking and digital assets. As the firm has been actively involved in the forefront of blockchain technology development, we asked them questions to better understand how Metal Pay is a big step forward in building adoption and use cases for cryptocurrencies.
Hortz: What exactly is Metal Pay and what does it represent in the world of crypto and finance?
Berkon: Metal Pay is an elegantly designed crypto payments platform designed with the concept of making cryptocurrency simple and easy to use. With a few taps, you can buy and sell popular cryptocurrencies or send them to family and friends with no fees. We have also added great features like recurring trades to make purchasing or selling crypto an automated process.
Our vision at Metallicus for Metal Pay is not only for consumers but also to expand into the corporate and enterprise arena with a cohesive integrated platform. Since launching in 2018, Metal Pay has become known in the US as a simple crypto app with great customer service.
Hayner: The latest update, Metal Pay 3.0, integrates our decentralized exchange Metal X, which is under the hood, to allow for a robust trading engine that never goes offline. Coupled with a beautiful sleek new UI and complete code refactor, it makes for a seamless experience, which is rare in the world of crypto. We believe that Metal Pay represents the future of the digital asset wallet: the crypto app for everyone.
Hortz: What have been the greatest challenges you worked through in building your front-end app and back-end exchange?
Hayner: At Metallicus, regulatory compliance has always been one of our highest priorities. Maintaining compliance in a dynamic environment while maximizing user experience is a tightrope we have always had to walk and we think we have been quite successful at it.
Berkon: Integrating our decentralized exchange, Metal X, into the Metal Pay back-end was a big lift that we are proud of. As the crypto landscape rapidly evolved, we felt it was important to embrace decentralization while removing all dependencies of any risky third parties, especially when it came to our trading engine. Building a decentralized exchange that was fast without any MEV (miner-extracted value), gas fees and a notion of decentralized identity (DID) - the first of its kind - was not easy.
Hortz: Can you give us a look under the hood and explain what you are doing with blockchain technology to integrate crypto to the greater financial world?
Berkon: We offer products for everyone, no matter where they are in their crypto journey. Metal Pay is a fiat-ramp, trading, payments and custody platform that is easy for any crypto knowledge level. We have a non-custodial crypto wallet, called WebAuth wallet. This is a crypto wallet where users self-custody and can use dApps (decentralized applications) on the XPR Network, Metal blockchain, and soon Ethereum, Dogecoin, Avalanche and Bitcoin with Web Authentication. Web Auth wallet turns any mobile device (Android or iOS), tablet, or computer into the equivalent of a traditional crypto hardware wallet by utilizing the Secure Enclave (SE).
Decentralized applications, like Metal X, are a pro-trading platform fully integrated with lending, borrowing, swapping, farming, OTC, streaming payments and other DeFi features. Additionally, we have built a decentralized identity protocol that we have used to gate access to our ecosystem so it can comply with BSA (Bank Secrecy Act) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations, as well as a comprehensive dashboard for analysts to track activity real-time.
Hayner: At Metallicus, we recognize that the future of blockchains will be connected by banks and FinTechs through a myriad of compliant stablecoins. For that reason, we built a risk-weighted stablecoin basket we call Metal Dollar (XMD), so you can use any fiat ramp whether that is PayPal, Coinbase, Metal Pay, or otherwise to access all markets against a common USD pair.
When it comes to banks we recognized the need for private ledgers that can still interact with open networks without relying on risky bridges (usually based on oracles). We introduced Metal blockchain, a comprehensive layer zero blockchain, where any bank or fintech can spin up a public or private ledger securely and in record time. With Metal blockchain, we can bridge transactions and assets between banks and FinTechs while effectively combating fraud and speeding up settlement time by an impressive factor.
Hortz: How exactly have you built your app and exchange to address the high-profile failures and fraud of other players in the crypto space?
Hayner: When we look at some of the things that went wrong in the past, we can see that Centralized Finance platforms (CeFi) crypto lending was a clear operational and regulatory nightmare.
We can also see that the majority of centralized exchanges suffered from transparency around the order books. On the other hand, decentralized exchanges suffered from trades being front-run through miner-extracted value (MEV) and lacking any KYC/AML controls without a notion of decentralized identity (DID).
With Metal X and the Loan protocol, we have managed to blend the best of the decentralized world with world-class monitoring and controls of traditional finance.
Hortz: What more expansive applications beyond individual traders have you been envisioning and building to with your technology?
Berkon: With Metal blockchain, we envision banks and FinTechs launching their own private ledgers that can support USD as the native coin while talking to public chains like Bitcoin and Ethereum. With the ability to white label and launch stablecoins (integrated into the Metal Dollar platform, making them interchangeable with other top stablecoins) that can trade on a white-label Metal X, as well as a white-labeled WebAuth wallet.
Hayner: We are working with banking core service providers and FinTechs to provide these enterprise services that can be easily and rapidly deployed at scale. Additionally, our decentralized identity protocol is being expanded to multiple blockchains, all of which can be virtualized on Metal blockchain.
Hortz: What are the applications for Metal Pay in the business world?
Hayner: We can foresee our corporate version of Metal Pay becoming very popular as it directly integrates with our consumer-facing version to allow for instant payment, streaming salaries, crypto trading for corporate accounts and integrated payment processing.
With the integration of many popular blockchains, it opens up the Metal Pay ecosystem to be a truly global platform for business and a fantastic platform for startups and small businesses.
Hortz: What further enhancements do you foresee for the future? Where can blockchain technology take us?
Berkon: We can envision the near future where traditional payment systems are up-ended and revolutionized through blockchain technology. From stablecoin interoperability between banks, CBDC readiness and interoperability, all the way to decentralized identity systems that can replace the traditional card BIN numbers. Unalterable ledgers can have a major impact in reducing the number of fraudulent transactions and chargebacks while providing an efficient system for auditing that can allow a merchant to easily move their business between any payment provider.
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