Jeff Garzik first tuned the world into his latest venture in the fall of 2017. The Bloq co-founder unveiled Metronome (MET), a cryptocurrency he founded alongside Matthew Roszak, at the Las Vegas Money 20/20 conference in late October, and the project caught the attention of Bloomberg and Fortune at the time.
What makes Metronome interesting is that it promises its users cross-chain portability. It also purports to offer a consistent rate of inflation and “no undue influence from founders after launch.” These three promises — Metronome’s mantra of self-governance, reliability and portability — set lofty expectations for the new company; anyone acquainted with Bitcoin and blockchain technology is likely to watch and see if it can deliver.
Garzik has stated in past interviews that he created Metronome as a new beginning, a project that embodies what he would do differently after building on Bitcoin for a number of years. Metronome’s differences seem to suggest that the search for hyper-decentralization was Garzik’s touchstone for starting over. Imagine a coin being so intrinsically opposed to centralization, for instance, that it isn’t beholden to a single blockchain.
Of course, as an ERC20 token, it is fundamentally tied to Ethereum; but the team claims that via smart contracts, users can swap the coin from chain to chain. From the get-go, this transferability will only be open to Ethereum Classic, Rootstock and QTUM. From there, it will be up to community coders to free up avenues to other chains. Keeping with the team’s commitment to zero-to-no influence, Metronome will rely on the volunteer work of disparate developers to expand its offerings and improve its protocol.
As for the rest, there’s little about the coin that speaks to convention. Instead of launching an initial coin offering (ICO), the project is holding a week-long descending-price auction. Unlike the more popular English-style auction, in a descending-price auction, price action descends as the auction progresses. For Metronome’s, the price of 1 MET will start at 2 ether (ETH) and decrease each minute until all of the auction’s 8,000,000 MET are sold or the sale ends.
Since the coin doesn’t have — or, in the future, will separate from — a native chain, it offers no mining rewards. To circulate supply, then, Metronome will feature daily descending-price auctions after its initial token sale. According to the project’s FAQ, “MET is added to MET’s Daily Supply Lots (‘DSL’) every 24 hours, at the rate that is the greater of (i) 2,880 MET per day, or (ii) an annual rate equal to 2.0000%.”
Besides the MET to be sold in the initial and daily auctions, 20 percent will be allocated to what the project calls “authors” — its team and advisors. Of these coins, 25 percent will be available immediately upon release, while the other 75 percent will be unlocked incrementally throughout a 12-quarter period.
Smart contracts control coin supply and issuance, as well as coin migration between chains, and the team has pledged to keep its hands free from directing development or swaying governance. “After its launch,” one Metronome FAQ answer reads, “authors will have no more control over MET than any other member of the MET community.”
We had the opportunity to interview Jeff Garzik to learn more about his latest project.
Bitcoin Magazine: The first thing that stands out is the cross-blockchain portability. Namely, how will this be accomplished, and does it really mean that I’ll be able to swap my MET from Ethereum’s chain to, say, QTUM’s or Stellar’s?
Jeff Garzik: Exporting one’s MET to another blockchain is a process where the owner chooses a target blockchain when initiating the export, and then receives a Merkle root receipt proving they have the MET that they are exporting. The process “burns” or destroys the MET on Blockchain A, and when the owner provides that receipt to the contracts on Blockchain B, they will have the same amount of MET minted for them on that blockchain. The burning of Blockchain A’s MET is to ensure that global supply remains constant.
So, we are careful to not describe it as a “swap,” per se, because it’s actually the opposite of a swap — the asset itself is moving, just as if you were moving gold from one safe to another.
BM: Metronome’s FAQ states, “As the community continues developing MET, it may be compatible with even more blockchains.” Does this mean that community developers will be able to build on the protocol to make it interoperable with other chains?
JG: Regarding ongoing development, Metronome is completely open source, and there is no foundation deciding its trajectory — that responsibility is with the community. Consider Bitcoin: there was no “foundation” in the beginning. Similarly, we don’t want to create enshrined leaders of Metronome, which is what a foundation does. Creating a Metronome author-run foundation at the outset bakes…