Milkroad Interviews Marshall Hayner, Founder and CEO of Metallicus

Writer
Matt Pearlstein

Studying successful people’s journeys in business and crypto has proven to be one of the best ways to learn. These teachings can help others avoid mistakes, learn best practices and prepare for what’s to come. 

Well, we’re excited to announce that we got in touch with one of the industry’s most battle-tested founders. Introducing Marshall Hayner.

Marshall is a true crypto OG and is the Founder and CEO of Metallicus, the parent company of the XPR Network we recently covered. Marshall is full of wisdom and also holds several other roles in the space, such as being a Board Member of the Dogecoin Foundation.

We wanted to learn everything about Marshall’s crypto journey and inspiration for starting Metallicus, so we connected directly with him and got his two satoshis. Check out our written interview with Marshall below.

Milkroad Interview with Marshall Hayner

Check our our question-and-answer series with Marshall Hayner below:

MR: How do you view the industry differently now than when you first entered?

MH: Over the past decade, the crypto landscape has shifted widely from a nascent industry into a staple of every tech company and financial institution.

There isn’t a single top-four bank that doesn’t have patents in blockchain or products actively being developed.

Still, with all of the development and innovation, I would say crypto has really yet to have its definitive moment.

Crypto started as a movement that was against banks and the establishment and ultimately found its place in traditional finance and fintech.

MR: What was your main inspiration for founding Metallicus?

MH: When I first discovered Bitcoin in late 2009, I was inspired by the potential for Bitcoin to become the decentralized currency of the internet.

However, I noticed within the first few years of crypto that there was very little good consumer software.

Everything was difficult to use and clunky at best; it was hard to find anything that had the combination of security and elegance of design.

I was inspired by the work of Steve Jobs at Apple, innovating with products that inspired people to think differently and taking the risks of rethinking the potential of what was possible.

If decentralized internet currency is the future of money, then how will it improve upon its predecessor, and why would it make our lives better?

I think all of the answers are there in blockchain, but we’ve only begun to crack the code.

MR: How is XPR Network uniquely positioned to compete with other L1s and the recent emergence of L2s?

MH: XPR Network is a unique blockchain in that it’s one of the fastest, most friendly, and easiest-to-use gas-free blockchains in the world.

Forked from the Antelope codebase (EOS), XPR has optimized resource management, improving upon early implementations.

Since resource costs are so minimal, new wallets can apply for resource grants through DAO proposals, effectively offering free accounts for new users.

All accounts are human-readable names of up to ten characters and can easily be linked to DID (decentralized identity) for individuals and businesses.

Send a fraction of a penny of USDC and pay nothing; now micropayments are made possible, up to 4,500 transactions per second.

The evolution of XPR Network expands beyond Antelope, as the core team at Metallicus is working on a complete rewrite to work with the Snowman protocol (Metal / Avalanche blockchains), which will reduce the time to finality from 180 seconds to less than half of a second.

We call this innovation “A chain,” and it will be possible to move assets between blockchains through Avalanche Warp Messaging, bringing WASM alongside the EVM and IBC in one connected layer zero environment.

MR: What are the biggest changes you’ve seen across the industry since you’ve gotten into crypto?

MH: I would say the concept of fiat being important through the use of stablecoins has become a very important centerpin to the entire cryptocurrency industry.

Also, the thought of how compliance in the future will work with blockchain in a way that enhances the user experience wasn’t exactly a popular idea a few years ago.

I believe the crypto companies of the future will need to understand compliance deeply to survive. I said this a while ago about how it could impact large cryptocurrency exchanges, and we are seeing the consequences of that now.

Another thing we are beginning to see is the rise of the regulated DEX, which is to say, a decentralized exchange that can utilize decentralized identity and other tooling to make for a more efficient exchange experience.

Utilizing the blockchain where it makes sense to leverage its strengths, such as the ability of a smart contract to never go offline during volatile high-volume market conditions (as we frequently see the centralized exchanges have issues during these times).

MR: What are the benefits for developers utilizing XPR Network over other networks?

MH: For any new developers exploring XPR for the first time, you’ll find well-written developer documents and many open-source tools readily available.

Furthermore, the community is extremely friendly and supportive; whether it comes to boosting you on social media or voting on your grant proposal, you’ll quickly make friends.

Smart contracts can be written in C++ or TypeScript, which compiles to WebAssembly. Resources are extremely cheap. I would say the cheapest resources cost in all of crypto, and anyone using your apps won’t have to need XPR to use it.

Additionally, the supporting wallet (WebAuth.com) utilizes Web Authentication, doesn’t require leaving the browser, and pairs nicely with the fiat ramp Metal Pay (available for the US); it’s a crypto developer’s dream, and you won’t find a more seamless ecosystem and experience.

MR: Where do you think DeFi is right now in terms of its overall life cycle?

A: I think DeFi is undergoing a very interesting transition, where it is beginning to embrace a decentralized identity, not only to ensure compliance but also to easily access the future of fiat ramps, where a smart contract can talk to a bank account or debit card.

With the implosion of non-compliant CEX and broken CeFi crypto lending platforms, we are going to see a rise in DeFi systems that mesh with TradFi.

This is the regtech phase of decentralized finance, where traditional payments begin to plug into the blockchain.

MR: What is your favorite role that you serve in the space outside of Metallicus? How did you settle into this?

MH: I’ve always donated my time where possible outside of Metallicus when it comes to educating in cryptocurrency and blockchain, whether it’s a university lecture or speaking at a conference; if I get the opportunity, I’ll do it.

Recently, I was invited to join the Dogecoin Foundation Board of Directors to help further education and development around Dogecoin, the cryptocurrency that started as a joke and became something much more.

Since joining the Foundation, I’ve had the opportunity to work side by side with the other board members and leaders internally in organizing hackathons and scoping the development for our future roadmap (Libdogecoin, Gigawallet, Radiodoge, DogeBox, SuchDEX, and ambitions to accelerate transaction speed and decentralization).

Having a long history in Dogecoin, going all the way back to the first few months of its inception from Dogecoin at Nascar to Dogecoin, to meeting my cofounder who built the first Dogecoin web wallet, it’s been a dream come true to work together with the Dogecoin Foundation.

MR: What do you think comes next for regulation in regard to the crypto industry?

MH: In terms of regulation for the crypto industry, we are currently undergoing a monumental shift from the old guard (FTX, Binance) to the new guard (Metallicus, Coinbase) that represents the regulated entities with a stronger focus on compliance.

I was early to say this, and I think a lot of people weren’t really certain it was going to happen, but it did, and I will add it’s not over yet.

I fully expect to see the emergence of stablecoins with a stronger focus on DID, which includes USDC, but also XMD, Metal Dollar, a newer entrant that we recently created at Metallicus.

I expect many others as well, especially from top financial institutions, leading up to the creation and implementation of a US Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

With this big push for compliance will come top institutions like JP Morgan Chase with their Onyx permissioned blockchain and Metal blockchain, a blockchain built for banks to launch their own compliant layer ones.

Recently, the CEO of JPM, Jamie Dimon, made a comment that he felt traditional crypto like Bitcoin served no purpose and that he would “shut it down,” but my opinion of this statement is only that Jamie is focused on his blockchain technology and wants to push out competitors.

I fully expect the US to pass stablecoin legislation soon at the Federal level, in addition to further guidance from our prudential regulators around cryptocurrency and blockchain and how it can adhere to the Bank Secrecy Act. It’s about to get interesting.

Next Steps

We recently covered everything around Marshall’s very own XPR Network. But this isn’t the last time you’ll be hearing about Metallicus.

This month, we’re going to be rolling out some 2024 predictions over here at Milk Road. Aside from this sponsored relationship, we have picked Marshall to be one of our oracles. In the past, a lot of his predictions have turned out to be pretty accurate. 

And in terms of Metallicus, they are still just getting started with their endgame. They recently announced they are building Metal L2, a compliant scaling solution for Ethereum powered by Optimism’s Superchain. And you can expect a lot more announcements to roll out in the near future.

In the meantime, we encourage you to follow along their progress on their socials below:

Matt Pearlstein
Matt Pearlstein
Analyst
Matt found crypto in 2016 and left TradFi to go full time in the industry a few years back. He is deep in the weeds of DeFi and also likes to go to the beach and play basketball.

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    Studying successful people’s journeys in business and crypto has proven to be one of the best ways to learn. These teachings can help others avoid mistakes, learn best practices and prepare for what’s to come.  Well, we’re excited to announce that we got in touch with one of the industry’s most battle-tested founders. Introducing Marshall…

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    Matt Pearlstein Milk Road Writer
    Matt Pearlstein

    Matt found crypto in 2016 and left TradFi to go full time in the industry a few years back. He is deep in the weeds of DeFi and also likes to go to the beach and play basketball.