ICO Analysis: Metronome
If the ICO market has taught us anything, it’s that startups are utilizing blockchain technology to dream big. Metronome certainly fits the bill of a highly ambitious blockchain project, and one that seeks to transform the current landscape governing cryptocurrency.
Metronome is looking to become the first platform that enables value transfers across different blockchains. In doing so, it aims to solve many problems currently plaguing the cryptocurrency market, including price volatility, a lack of portability between blockchains and slow transaction speed. Its whitepaper outlines a strategy for building a cryptocurrency around the core principles of self-governance, reliability and portability.
The project’s whitepaper does a good job contextualizing the limitations of existing blockchain technology and how, conceptually, Metronome can fix these issues. However, technical details about how the project will be implemented are lacking. (As an aside, the author felt that a 30-page whitepaper was somewhat light given the scope of what Metronome is trying to accomplish.)
If the ICO market has taught us another thing, it’s that implementation is usually the biggest concern investors have when trying to evaluate a new cryptocurrency. In this vein, Metronome’s whitepaper reads more like a foray into new product features rather than a roadmap for implementation. A closer look at the content also reveals that Metronome isn’t really building a blockchain, but is looking to launch on Ethereum and eventually Ethereum Classic, Rootstock and Qtum.
Metronome is launching an Ethereum-compliant token called MTN. The token supply is set at 10 million initially, with 80% distributed via reverse auction. Unlike other coins, there is no fixed or limited supply.
The public ICO launches on Feb. 5 and will be open for one week. MTN’s initial price will be set at 2 ETH, which is equivalent to roughly $2,000 USD at Jan. 17 prices. The price will decrease at a tiny fraction every minute. New tokens will then be issued daily at a rate of around 2,880 MTN, which will continue indefinitely. This distribution model has raised legitimate concerns over token inflation that aren’t really addressed in the whitepaper.
The cryptocurrency will enable quick payments with settlement time ranging from 15 to 30 seconds. Mass pay and subscription features will also be used to drive adoption and utility across the ecosystem.
Metronome is run by BloqLabs, which employs a talented team of blockchain developers, early adopters and venture capitalists. Co-founder Jeff Garzik was an early contributor to Bitcoin Core and champion of the now defunct Segwit2x hard fork project. Peter Vassenes also has a long backstory in the bitcoin market, even though it hasn’t always been positive (he was a key player in CoinLab, which was part of the Mt. Gox fiasco).
The BloqLab team is 15 people deep, including blockchain engineers, data scientists and a chief cryptographer (Vessenes). Six advisers are also listed on the Metronome website, along with a list of partners that includes Jaxx, New Alchemy and Smith + Crown.
Metronome has generated a lot of discussion within the blockchain community. Whether you back the project or believe it is biting off more than it can chew, it’s tough to be indifferent. The author is putting his best foot forward in balancing out the pros and cons of the project.
- There’s a lot of confusion about MTN’s pricing and inflation models. The project’s reverse auction is designed to limit speculators from hoarding MTN cryptocurrency. The only problem is ICOs typically attract speculators, as well as investors. With continuous inflation daily, it’s hard to evaluate what the token will be worth post-ICO. -3
- A lack of technical/implementation specifications is cause for concern, especially for those who are on the fence about the project. At the time of writing, the project’s proposed smart contracts have not been published. -2
- The roadmap doesn’t inspire confidence in how this project will evolve in the future. At the moment, all we know is that the first cross-chain launch on Ethereum Classic will occur sometime in Q1 2018. -2
- The whitepaper seems to indicate that MTN only applies to blockchains that utilize smart contracts. In this sense, is it truly portable? -2
- There’s considerable demand for cross-blockchain solutions, and this will only grow as more cryptocurrencies enter the market. What Metronome is proposing to do can have a profound impact on the market. Since this section is called growth potential, a project deserves points for addressing a real need in the market. +3
- Metronome is proposing solutions that exceed the existing capabilities of some of the world’s leading cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and Ripple. For example, bitcoin settlement time is 10 minutes, Litecoin 2.5 minutes and Metronome 15 seconds. The cryptocurrency is entirely self-governed through autonomous contracts. By comparison, Ripple isn’t self-governing at all, whereas changes to Ethereum depend heavily upon a small team. +4
- Competition for similar blockchain solutions appears limited at the moment. Metronome shares characteristics with Wanchain in that both cryptocurrencies are promoting inter-blockchain communication on top of Ethereum. That being said, Metronome is definitely unique in what it can potentially bring to the table. +2
- The founders are so confident in the project and its philosophy that they are relinquishing full control of the platform after the token launch. The team will continue to support the project through development. +2.5
- In terms of domain knowledge and experience, very few teams can compete with Metronome’s pedigree. Although there’s some controversy surrounding the CEO’s involvement with Segwit2x, it’s really not that big of a deal. Segwit2x failed because it ultimately lacked consensus. It certainly won’t be the last hard fork proposal designed to make bitcoin better. +2.5
Taking into account the risks and opportunities, we arrive at a score of 5 out of 10 for Metronome. Prospective buyers may want to monitor the project’s technical evolution before putting skin in the game. Metronome offers a unique idea and can be a high-impact project, but still has glaring holes when it comes to implementation. That being said, there may be more to the project than the whitepaper presented. Timelines, technical specifications and clarity around pricing/inflation could easily take the score from a 5 to a 7.
- Token Type: Utility
- Platform: Ethereum
- Symbol: MTN
- Total Supply: 10 million
- Available in Crowdsale: 8 million
- Public Sale: Feb. 5, 2018
- Payments Accepted: Ethereum
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.