The Optimist - Metal L2: The Banking Layer - Revelo Intel

The Optimist – Metal L2: The Banking Layer

In this episode of The Optimist Twitter Space, which took place on May 23, 2024, host Charlie welcomed Marshall Hayner, CEO at Metallicus, to discuss the development and future of Metal L2, the blockchain designed for banking. Read our notes below to learn more.


Charlie (Host) – Co-Leader at The Optimist

Marshall Hayner (Guest) – CEO at Metallicus 

Metal L2 – a blockchain for banking by Metallicus

Bridging Traditional Finance and DeFi

  • Marshall says he started in the crypto space in 2009 after discovering Bitcoin and moved to California 13 years ago. He has always been fascinated with decentralized networks and was inspired by the shift from dial-up to broadband internet and decentralized networks like BitTorrent.
  • Marshall explains that he founded his first crypto startup, Quick Coin, in 2013 to make Bitcoin easy to use by integrating a crypto wallet with Facebook. He later worked at Stellar Development Foundation and the Dogecoin Foundation before co-founding Metallicus in 2016.
  • Marshall says the original vision for Metallicus was to build a “Venmo for crypto.” He and his co-founder Glenn Marien started with a focus on Dogecoin and wallets, and this vision evolved into creating a digital banking network to bridge TradFi and DeFi.
  • Marshall explains that Metallicus prides itself on engineering and customer-centricity. They launched Metal Pay in 2018 to provide consumer digital banking and crypto payment services, obtaining money transmission licenses in 48 states.
  • Marshall mentions the launch of Metal DAO in 2017, which distributed millions of Metal tokens and created a robust decentralized network. In 2020, they launched XPR Network for fast, fee-less blockchain transactions and Metal X exchange in 2022.
  • Marshall describes the development of Metal Blockchain in 2022, designed to connect traditional financial institutions with the crypto ecosystem. The goal was to create private ledgers for banks and credit unions that could interact with public networks.
  • Marshall says that Metal L2 was developed to connect private ledgers to the greater crypto ecosystem, using the super chain. He talks about the importance of bridging traditional finance with DeFi and preserving user privacy through digital identity tools.
  • Marshall highlights the role of digital identity in ensuring privacy and security while interacting with blockchain and financial systems. He believes that crypto can solve many existing problems in finance, such as cumbersome identity verification processes and data breaches.

Seamless Integration

  • Charles believes the vision of eliminating banks is utopian and talks about the importance of banks. He says solving problems like Metallicus is doing will help integrate blockchain tech into traditional finance.
  • Marshall says the Optimism Superchain is incredibly collaborative, with each network having its own niche. He believes crypto has many enemies, and the super chain’s strength lies in numbers. He highlights that Metal L2’s unique focus is on banking and fiat, bridging traditional finance with the crypto ecosystem.
  • Marshall explains that Metal L2 will connect decentralized applications with fiat tools, banking partners, and compliance tools, making the process seamless. He says Metal L2 aims to integrate traditional financial systems with the crypto world, enabling users to deposit and withdraw stablecoins, accept credit card payments, and comply with regulations.
  • Marshall talks about the importance of digital identity and compliance tools in making the integration seamless. He believes that by building better tools, they can protect users, prevent scams, and ensure a secure and smooth experience.
  • Marshall says WebAuth Wallet aims to create a secure and seamless crypto experience using the secure enclave in devices like smartphones. He explains that WebAuth eliminates the need to leave the browser, making the user experience smooth and secure with features like face ID and touch ID.
  • Marshall mentions that WebAuth started on XPR Network and has now been integrated with Metal Blockchain. They are working on extending WebAuth support to EVMs, which will enable seamless crypto transactions in the browser with minimal gas fees.
  • Marshall says that WebAuth will become a new standard for wallets and predicts that most wallets will adopt passkeys in the future. He mentions that Coinbase Wallet and Trust Wallet are already experimenting with passkeys.

Streamlined Crypto Experience

  • Marshall says he is excited about account abstraction and newer EIPs that make the user experience on the super chain much better, with very low gas fees. He says that the goal is to make transactions fast, fee-less, and seamless, similar to traditional payment systems like Venmo and Zelle.
  • Marshall says that WebAuth aims to make transactions feel as simple as face ID or touch ID, without leaving the app. He envisions a future where it’s easier to get crypto than to use an ATM, with minimal to no gas fees.
  • Marshall mentions the future of physical cards and cash being replaced by digital payments and stablecoins and the possibility that CBDCs may not even be necessary due to innovations in the crypto ecosystem.
  • Marshall says that the unique value of Metal L2 lies in its focus on fiat connections, identity, and RegTech tools, making it attractive for builders who see a future where traditional finance merges with blockchain.
  • Marshall highlights the Metal L2 DAO and its funding mechanisms, as well as the collaborative nature of the super chain, as key attractions for developers.
  • Marshall envisions a future where banks, credit unions, and financial institutions integrate blockchain technology directly, making the process seamless for users. He foresees streaming payments and instant transactions without gas fees, ultimately leading to a world where people don’t even realize they are using crypto.
  • Marshall believes that the Optimism Superchain, with its collaborative approach and focus on shared security and programmability, is the key to connecting traditional finance to the blockchain revolution, creating a seamless experience for users.

Blockchain’s Inevitable Rise

  • Marshall says he supports the ethos of those who want to custody their own assets and believes in empowering individuals to do so. He emphasizes that the ability to own and control one’s own money is a significant advancement brought by cryptocurrency. 
  • He notes that while some people may prefer to self-custody their assets, others may want the convenience and security of traditional banking services. He believes in finding a balance between the two, allowing for both self-custody and seamless integration with traditional financial systems.
  • Marshall says that it’s important to make the technology accessible to everyone, from cypherpunks to everyday users. He highlights the need for robust systems that provide security and convenience, enabling people to grow and secure their wealth. He envisions a future where traditional financial systems and blockchain technology work together seamlessly, providing a superior user experience.
  • Marshall explains that the XPR network started as a decentralized identity network and evolved into a robust platform addressing issues like minor extracted value (MEV) and gas fees. He mentions that the Metal blockchain, built on the Snowman consensus protocol forked from Avalanche, is designed to attract traditional financial institutions. 
  • He highlights the need for different technological solutions for different institutions, noting that some may prefer EVM while others may require different capabilities. The goal is to provide a flexible and secure platform that meets the diverse needs of banks, credit unions, and financial institutions.

Multi-Chain Future

  • Marshall says that each institution wants its own flavour, so they are working on various virtual machines, including Antelope VM, Ethereum VM, and what they call a B-chain, which is a pure fork of Bitcoin. He emphasizes his support for Cosmos and his belief in a multi-chain future, appreciating the community aspect of the super chain.
  • Marshall explains that with A-chain and B-chain, they are creating environments that replicate popular networks and technologies. He compares it to a showroom of supercars, where institutions can choose their preferred setup. He highlights the importance of connecting these technologies back to the Ethereum ecosystem and super chain for a seamless experience.
  • Marshall says that Metal L2’s mainnet is live, and users can get started by visiting, adding it to MetaMask, and using the WebAuth wallet. He mentions two main incentives: grants for developers and RetroPGF funding. He encourages developers to apply for grants and get support from the Metal L2 team. He hints at future user incentives for participating and using Metal L2.

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Show Information

  • Medium: Twitter Broadcast (Video)
  • Show: The Optimist Twitter Space 
  • Show Title: Metal L2: The Banking Layer
  • Show Date: May 23, 2024