3air weekly AMA, 20th April 2022 @5pm CET - New 3air ambassador
This is a transcript from our weekly YouTube live AMA:
Anita Mlakar: 00:05
Hello, everybody, and welcome. Welcome to weekly AMA from 3air I'm sorry about this short delay, but we did have some technical problems, because we have people joining us from all over the world. And you know, somewhere connectivity might be the problem, but we'll talk about it a little later. Anita Mlakar is my name and I'm the host of these AMAs. Some of you already know me, but others, maybe you are with us the first time, I will be the one with you today. Also with our guests, every time we have Sandi Bitenc to the CEO of 3air joining us in a couple of seconds, I promise. But first, let me invite you to be a part of what we are doing. So please join us in our communities on telegram, on Twitter, on discord, you're welcome to be there because there is so many happening there all of your questions and our answers. And of course, we are getting you informed about what we are doing about all the articles that are going out, and so on and so on. So, you're really welcome to join us. There's also a white paper explaining everything that we are doing. It has more than 100 pages, and you will need a week to get through. Of course, a lot of this is happening. But we are still here also on our AMAs and on Twitter space to answer your questions and to be connected with you also this way.
Today, of course, as always, I would like to start with a short introduction, just a short introduction of what we are doing at 3air to let you know. So 3air is connecting the unconnected, is banking the unbanked and we are actually bringing broadband internet to African people. In fact, only around 4% to 6% of the African population has any form of wireless internet coverage. There is almost no broadband internet system, a huge percentage of people have never been on internet. And most people subscribe to network providers to buy gigabytes and paying big money for it. Even the data network signal isn't strong. So, the lack of internet in this region has also a social and economic impact, including the way citizens interact with their governments, with businesses and of course with each other. So 3air's vision is to make broadband connectivity available to the masses that is easy to access through its blockchain based platform. And now let's welcome the CEO of 3air, Sandi Bitenc.
Sandi Bitenc: 02:43
Hello! Hello everyone!
Anita Mlakar: 02:45
You are in Amsterdam.
Sandi Bitenc: 02:47
Yes, I'm in Amsterdam. I just decided really quickly to go to the Amsterdam event. So, I just flew in this morning. And I'm already now at first event. So, a bit, let's say disorganized at this moment but there is somebody I met today for the first time, live. Look, who's with me.
Anita Mlakar: 03:14
Oh my god, Ruba.
Sandi Bitenc: 03:16
Yeah, I don't think she can hear you. I could give this to her if you want to say something.
Anita Mlakar: 03:28
Hello Ruba, nice to have you.
Ruba Aramouny: 03:29
Hi Anita. How are you?
Anita Mlakar: 03:34
I'm great. Thank you. But how are you? You too are in Amsterdam.
Ruba Aramouny: 03:37
Yes, we're meeting in Amsterdam and we're at a very special event right now. Did Sandi already say where we are?
Anita Mlakar: 03:47
No, he just mentioned that you are at this special event. But can you tell us more?
Ruba Aramouny: 03:52
Yes. Wait, let him announce it.
Anita Mlakar: 03:55
Okay. Thanks Ruba.
Sandi Bitenc: 03:59
Okay, so I'm back.
Anita Mlakar: 04:01
Sandi Bitenc: 04:02
So, let's see what's on my cap. Who saw it already?
Anita Mlakar: 04:07
We don't see it. You're hiding it, right?
Sandi Bitenc: 04:11
I could show you hear something.
Anita Mlakar: 04:19
Let's see if somebody knows what is it. Okay, yeah. I could see it a little bit. Who knows where Sandi and Ruba are at?
Sandi Bitenc: 04:28
Ruba also have this.
Anita Mlakar: 04:35
You are on the SKALE event.
Sandi Bitenc: 04:37
Yeah, so we are at the SKALE event. So, a lot of new meetups now in person. After quite a while in chatting in just calls, we will now meet the SKALE team personally. That's really exciting. It's far easier still even though we are living in a digital world. Right now, and everybody just using phone calls instead of like real meetings, it's still really meet people in person. It's easier to talk, usually better deals come out.
Anita Mlakar: 05:16
Yes its true, it is always good to see people in person. So, what is the plan today, Sandi? is there a party or what's going on there?
Sandi Bitenc: 05:25
There are a lot of side events, I think, even though I wasn't here I just flew in, I got invited already to, I think, five events. So, but this is the main one. I don't think I'll go to many others. So just right now today, meet the team, network a bit with others. Let's see who is here. I've been doing a lot of networking lately, as you know, in Dubai, but I'm pretty sure, there'll be different people here. I also should be meeting guys from the Ethereum foundation. So, we're trying to get something going with them also. Let's see. So, nothing that I can say it's already working or really set in stone. But hopefully, we get it done now that we meet in person.
Anita Mlakar: 06:20
Okay, how long will you be staying in Amsterdam?
Sandi Bitenc: 06:24
I'm staying in Amsterdam until Sunday. And then I'm flying to London, there is the Financial Times crypto event there's so it's deciding either going to the Bahamas because in the Bahamas, it's the FTX event. But yeah, we're not so much connected with FTX and Solana. Although there will probably be some really important people there. But it's also sold out completely. It's even hard to get a hotel there. And then the other thing is that I actually don't have a visa for US so that is impossible to get in such a short notice. So, the Financial Times event it is the main one.
Anita Mlakar: 07:10
Okay. Now, Sandi, we have a special guest coming up today at AMA. We did announce, already. Maybe some of you who don't know who is coming to be with us today. And I'm really excited about this. So, I think it's about time to call him on what do you say?
Sandi Bitenc: 07:33
I think yes, I just thought that he actually joined because it was our fault. Let me just like completely honest, we didn't send him the link. I was travelling. I didn't think about it. And I don't think anybody else had really access to it to send him the link. So, I just sent him the link a few minutes before the show. And I don't know Is he on or not, I saw him.
Anita Mlakar: 07:59
He was on right now but he's off again. So, let's just wait for a couple more seconds or minutes to see if he comes on and then invite him in immediately because like we said, we have really a special guest. It is our 3air ambassador, actually with millions of followers. We are really excited about this partnership. So, I think he is on right now. Let's just see.
Cross Okonkwo: 08:27
Anita Mlakar: 08:28
Yes. Hello Cross.
Sandi Bitenc: 08:32
Hi, what are you doing, Cross? That looks cool.
Cross Okonkwo: 08:36
I am in the metaverse.
Sandi Bitenc: 08:39
You're in the metaverse?
Cross Okonkwo: 08:41
Yeah! I am with a friend of mine. He's in Dubai right now. We're here just in the metaverse, chilling.
Sandi Bitenc: 08:58
Oh, cool. That sounds pretty cool. We need to do that once.
Cross Okonkwo: 09:01
Yeah, it's cool. We can always meet from the metaverse that's why you see people are all over buying properties things in metaverse, with that you can acquire things there. It's very interesting!
Anita Mlakar: 09:19
It's really nice to have you here, Cross.
Cross Okonkwo: 09:23
Anita Mlakar: 09:24
Cross Okonkwo: 09:24
Anita Mlakar: 09:26
Cross Okonkwo: 09:27
How you doing? Sorry, let me turn this off.
Anita Mlakar: 09:31
Okay. Oh my god. This is so exciting. I'm too peaceful doing something right now. Really exciting. I'm the only one boring here in my office, in my room.
Sandi Bitenc: 09:41
You're boring. What's there to bore?
Cross Okonkwo: 09:47
You're not boring, I can say that.
Sandi Bitenc: 10:09
I met Cross at one of the events in Dubai. And, you know, we immediately got together really well. And connected and it was there. So Cross was amazed of what we were doing. And I was pretty amazed at what he is doing. And I didn't joke when I said that we went to my building. And I just showed him around a bit. And he was like, you're bumping into people who knew him, it was like, what's happening? It was really funny. So, he knew more people there than I did where I lived. So. Then yeah, we need to do something together. And of course, Cross is also from Nigeria. So that's one of our big targets for this and next year to cover and then of course, it makes a lot of sense.
Anita Mlakar: 11:15
Yes, it does. And of course, there's an opportunity also for you, who was with us today to ask questions to ask us, whatever you want to ask him. And I saw there are so many people knowing him because he's such a star. You know, we're from Europe. We're just getting to know him better. But I really see how popular he is. And I'm so excited about this. Okay, Sandi, what is that?
Sandi Bitenc: 11:38
I can show you a bit how it looks like here.
Anita Mlakar: 11:40
It's really good! I see that you have everything you need, you have a good company, to have a drink. I think you will receive some foods today, I'm sure.
Sandi Bitenc: 11:55
Hopefully, because it's all I ate was what I got on the plane.
Anita Mlakar: 12:00
Okay, that was not something right. Okay. And, of course, there will be so many people there and we have Cross today on our AMA, we have people with us here in this AMA event. It is a nice day Sandi.
Sandi Bitenc: 12:19
It is! Maybe a while we wait for Cross and I'm pretty sure Cross will be also excited about this. Because I've been speaking to, you know, to him about that topic quite a lot. And we actually started now in like really building our NFT platform. And I don't know Anita if you saw but Laura did some really cool stuff. We're going to do NFTs outfit because it's really amazing what she did. And I'm sure that once you see, you know, everyone sees it, that will make for some cool NFTs I can tell you. And then we're also in talks. You know, everybody, I think right now everyone knows Hilina. So Hilina helps us. And also, some other friends from Africa helped us to connect to a few African artists. So, we decided to support them, and help them with creation and selling NFTs. So, it's not something that we'll do as we're like, really for profit. We do want to support the local artists. And let's see that there will be a mix. What we're thinking about right now on having some real cool NFTs, you know, in a sense of art like graphics, images, videos, or something similar, but we'll also give some connectivity to that. So it will be, that's it.
Cross Okonkwo: 14:07
Sandi Bitenc: 14:07
Hello! Cross I was just explaining them that we currently started working on developing our own NFT platform for 3air that will support African artists. And also give connectivity to the NFT. So, you'll hold the NFT and if you will hold the NFT or you'll get a connection through 3air services, so that broadband. So, you'll actually have an NFT that already has, you know the artistic value of let's say like this, and you're on top of this, we'll just add some connectivity to it. What do you think?
Cross Okonkwo: 14:46
The NFT will be released and anyone that has-
Sandi Bitenc: 15:00
It is there something wrong with your microphone because it sounds like when you start speaking and if it gets too loud it's like the microphone. Maybe blocks it or something like that.
Anita Mlakar: 15:15
Let's see now maybe it will be better. Do you hear us, Cross? Maybe it's better now. Do you hear us?
Cross Okonkwo: 15:31
Sandi Bitenc: 15:32
Yeah, now it works. Now, I don't see you.
Anita Mlakar: 15:35
Without the picture but yeah, we can hear you. We will wait for Cross, Of course, I did check him out a little bit because I wanted to know what Cross is doing and-
Sandi Bitenc: 16:02
Yeah, we can hear you.
Anita Mlakar: 16:05
We can hear you but cannot see you so good. You're frozen.
Sandi Bitenc: 16:16
So, now that's the point where, you know, 3air should step in and solve this issue. It's just that we don't have the infrastructure there yet. So, once we are there that wouldn't happen.
Anita Mlakar: 16:31
Yeah, he's really having problems with connectivity, like I can see that it's really poor right now. And that is why we don't see him or hear him. I hope we will manage this, or he will manage that so that we have the opportunity to talk to him and ask him a couple of questions.
Sandi Bitenc: 16:49
So, let's maybe jump a bit into you know, if there's any questions we can answer you know, we can answer some questions and wait for Cross.
Anita Mlakar: 17:04
So, guys, if you have any questions right now for Sandi, because he is here right now, in this moment, while we are waiting for Cross. I think he's back for us, though. But let's just check Sandi, how his connectivity is. Okay, what about now?
Cross Okonkwo: 17:18
Much better. Can you hear me?
Sandi Bitenc: 17:20
Yes, it is a bit better. I think you need 3air there.
Cross Okonkwo: 17:30
My network is bad. Yeah, definitely. We need 3air here. Let's see how we can keep going. Can you hear me though?
Sandi Bitenc: 17:42
Cross Okonkwo: 17:43
Okay, you can hear me. Okay. Go ahead. So, let's keep talking. So maybe it gets better, hopefully.
Anita Mlakar: 17:51
Yes, I think we can hear a good now, but the picture is a little frozen from time to time.
Anita Mlakar: 17:58
Okay, Now, Cross, Sandi is at the party. So, we are hearing a little bit of music behind him.
Cross Okonkwo: 18:08
I was wondering where the music was coming from. I was looking around to, you know, I hope it's not me.
Anita Mlakar: 18:14
I saw you like where is it?
Cross Okonkwo: 18:16
Music coming from but yeah, I guess it's from Sandi. Okay. It's okay. All right. So, Sandi, go ahead. As you were saying, go ahead, please.
Sandi Bitenc: 18:24
No, I was explaining before how we met. And now how you just walked around. I was showing you around my building. And then literally people started bumping into you. And I thought that they come to say hi to me, but they weren't, like they wanted to take a selfie with you.
Cross Okonkwo: 18:45
Really? Come on, buddy. Come on. He's lying.
Sandi Bitenc: 18:47
No, it was like this he had like a photo session there.
Cross Okonkwo: 18:52
They came to see him, come on. And that's his beauty. They knew he was standing there. So, they came to see him. So, they came to take your picture. They saw me they were like who is this, let me just take a picture.
Sandi Bitenc: 19:06
They came me to give me their phones to take a picture for both guys.
Anita Mlakar: 19:12
I can't imagine, you are modest.
Cross Okonkwo: 19:19
He's lying, he's the real star. So how are we doing?
Sandi Bitenc: 19:23
I think we're great. I think, Anita has some questions for you. And then I'm here just to listen to it most of it. And I what I need to say is that I really liked the video that you done. I it made me laugh. It's really professionally done. Very good.
Cross Okonkwo: 19:48
I really appreciate it means a lot to me. It really means a lot.
Anita Mlakar: 19:52
It was really good, yeah.
Cross Okonkwo: 19:54
You know the thing about it is sometimes, I'm a business owner, particularly I have businesses. So, when I have clients that wants to work with me, I kind of look at it from both angles, do you understand? So, you look at it from an investor department, and also look at it from a client, you know, department. So, I always like to make sure that whatever I'm getting myself involved with, I have to make sure I bring my A game into the field. Because when you don't bring your A game into a particular field or a project, there's a lot that's going to be missing. And you might be that, you know, sparkle be the numbers, that might add to whatever the project has to hold.
So, meeting Sandi in Dubai, through you know, common friends was one of the best thing that ever happened to me, because I looked at him, and he was just chilled, a bald guy in a very interesting apartment with his wife to be, and welcomed us, you know, fully give us drinks, snacks and we're all jesting. And right there looked at my view, I was looking at the Burj Khalifa. And I was like, huh, this is an interesting, you know, life that I think this guy has for himself and everything, and I'm honored to be, you know, to be welcome to his home. So, we all started jesting and discussing, and it turns out that we'll have a lot of things in common. He was in the gym enthusiast, which, you know, used to be a fitness God, he showed me some of these pictures. And I was like, wow. So, I kind of, you know, say having more relatable things to discuss with him. And it turns out that he's a very nice guy.
When we discussed about 3air, I was like, you know, what? this is a project I definitely want to be part of, because, number one, internet is one of the most important thing, we, in Africa need. It's not like, yes, we need food. Yes, we need water. Yes, we need clothing. Yes, we need shelter but it's up there. As much as those things, you know, need, because information is priceless. Information is wealth, information is freedom. Do you understand? Education, once you give education, to people to be able to be aware to be informed, they make a better decision, they make clear investment decision in their lives. So, Internet has always been a role, has always been a big, you know, platform for that to play in the grand scheme of things, do you understand? So, for him to be able to decide, you know, what this is a project that I want to bring into Africa. And I'm like, this is very fascinating because I'm from Africa. Don't get me wrong, I love the world. In general, I grew up in England, I studied in England for years, I have a lot of, you know, British friends, my ex that time was French, so I'm fully evolved. But for some reason, I literally believe that I'm relating more to Africa, not just Nigeria, as a whole Africa in general. And even look at Africa, we're looking at over like, you know, 50 countries, precisely 54 countries, if I'm being to be accurate, and our leaders have done us so much debt, they've done so much debt. And it's unfortunate because they are human beings do understand? They are human beings as much as you and I, as the next, you know, kid on the street or the next thing, but at the end, they God has given them power for them to be at that particular position in their lives. But instead, they just decided to be non-challenge, very greedy, non-oblivious, you know, to so many things that happening. And it's unfair, because you guys could literally change the course of Africa, you can literally change the course of our dynasty forever. But big greed, self-interest, you guys don't want of these such, you know, reasons to things like this.
So that part is a little bit deep. So, these are part of the reasons why I would definitely tell you that when I heard about the project, you know, 3air, I was like, definitely, this is going to be a big one, I will do everything within my power to push this, you know, even if the company is not as where it wants to be with the amount of knowledge and the amount of following God has given me. I would use it to my best of capability to make sure that, you know, everyone around Africa, we're trending in 17 countries yesterday. I've never seen such thing. You know, in my life before, you know, 17 countries, and to me, this is just the beginning, because we can go for 20, we could go for 30, we could go for 40. And I believe, with like minds like Sandi, you know, like you, great minds that see the vision, we can all project bigger, you know, things for us and also for our community and for our nation. So that pretty much if you ask me how everything unfold, it's pretty luck that came into play. Also, God's timing. And, yeah, I think Sandi being in the right place at the right time. And yeah, everything just connected. So yeah, that's what happened.
Anita Mlakar: 25:51
Thank you, Cross. You said it so nicely. It's really so nice to listen to you. I think that 3air wrote somewhere one day, that access to information should be one of the main human rights. And I think we are right about that.
Cross Okonkwo: 26:07
Anita Mlakar: 26:07
It's really important. And this is really more like not just the project, but it's becoming a mission, where people want to get involved because they see a bigger meaning, you know, and that is why we believe in this so much. And I'm really happy to hear how important this is for you, as an African who is there, who follows everything that is happening, and to have this inside information is really great. And I am also getting, I'm from Europe, I'm from Slovenia, but I'm getting to know also people in Africa, and you're one of them, one of the big stars. So, I did Google you course, to see who you are, what you are doing. And oh my god, you know, I had, I was like, oh my god, I'm meeting a really important person. And everybody's writing about you. So yeah, you have a very interesting life for us, I just want to see what you're doing. You are an entrepreneur. you are also a reality TV star. You are really a star there. So, what do you do in life? Just tell us a little bit about yourself because I think there are a lot of people today also from Europe here with us, and they'll be watching also that later. So, what are you doing?
Cross Okonkwo: 27:20
So, I do a lot of things. So, I'm a polymath. Do you know what a polymath is? A polymath is a word that a friend of mine taught me. So, I think in this, our generation, we pretty much are polymath compared to our parents’ generation or the previous ones. So, they are the ones that literally stick to one thing. And just in one thing. Our generation because of the way things have unfold for us, we pretty much dabble into so many things. We put our hands on here. Okay, works, it doesn't work. We pull our hands. Yeah, it works. It doesn't work. You know, this is how we do so.
I think also my culture. And my heritage also gives me a little bit, you know, in that speaking from Nigeria and Hebrew, meaning I speak Hebrew and from Anambra state, and from where I come from in the eastern part of Nigeria, where we're told to believe that we are hustlers we try to make ends meet no matter what. So, we're always out there in the farm, always cultivating, writing whatever it takes, so that we can always stay afloat. So that's what the Eastern part of my country is pretty much known for. They believe that we are hard workers, we like money, and we love to take care of our women.
So those are the most important things about us. So, taking that from our culture, then my dad, God bless him, so he's late. He got assassinated many years ago. It's okay. So, growing up, he too was from a poor home background as well. But, you know, as I said, being a guy, you got to always striving to do so many things. He decided to push himself out of that, you know, mindset of poverty, and pushed himself all the way to move himself to different state. Back then, it was so difficult to move from one state to another, but he decided to leave to go to the Northland stage, which is the Hausa community. And he started there, he learned their language, you know, started hustling, you know, back and forth, selling slippers, shoes, whatever he could lay his hand to just to keep selling. And that's how he started his whole career and life and eventually came back home to Anambra.
And so, my mom, it was a very interesting funny story if I tell you that. you will laugh high, I met my mom in the Amsterdam, in the river. And eventually one thing led to another, led to another, led to another, which was definitely a long process, but I just want to cut that out. But one thing led to another, led to another, led to another. Eventually, my mom accepted, and they eventually got married. I think my mom saw the, you know, young guy that is a hustler, you know, believed in the culture and believed in him. Then back then my mom was not a graduate, she was not even she was in still in high school at that point of time. Primary Yeah. So, at that point of time, my dad decided to take on everything. And yeah, he decided to move my family to Ghana, to the Northern part and the hustling and kept on going, kept on going, kept on going, I came into play, I was born, my youngest sister came into play, she was born. My younger brother, like that, we just kept on coming, I will my mom, my dad relocated from the North to Lagos. So, because he needed to push his business further. So, you can see how he moved from the east to the north in Kajun, from the north, which is the Kajun, now to Lagos, which is the West. Lagos is the commercial hub of Nigeria. So, it started there again, and that's how my siblings came, we became six of us in total, then one thing led to another I think this was at age 13-14. Then eventually my dad got assassinated as he passed away, due to envy, greed, whatever the situation was but it has to do with finances of course. So that's how he passed away, he left my mom with six children. And as I say, my mom was not educated.
So, a back here in home we have always have all these family tussles, struggle, family, uncles, aunties, because I remember back in England when I was, you know, around my fellow peers classmates, I realized that uncles and Auntie's don't really mingle in family affairs like that. But yeah, in Africa, it's pretty much, it's become like a whole family, uncles mingle, dad mingles auntie everything. But back then I remember, I had a girlfriend. She didn't really care about her uncle's and auntie's was pretty much, you know, a basic, you know, Dad and Mom situation. But yeah, in Africa, in Nigeria, we were different. So, my uncles and my Auntie's had to play different role. You know, they were like, you know, my mom was wanting to kill my dad, different, you know, different rubbish, they just put my mom into so much stress, so much unnecessary stress there in mind that my mom was not educated as much, too, she just lost her husband, she was 31 years old when she lost her husband, and she had six kids. So, imagine a 30-year-old woman, that’s not educated, that doesn't have any means of finances, because my dad did not really, you know, provide, he didn't know he was going to die. So, he didn't make a will or a financial space so that his kids could be taken care of.
So were just a very messed up situation at that point of time. And things just went from 100 to zero real quick. Well, let me fast forward. So, things as I said became ugly and everything, so we had to leave the country, because at that point of time, you know, Nigeria was going ugly, you know, the people that came from my dad said they are coming for us thinking that we had more information or more, I don't know, whatever the case could be. So, we had to find a way to stay low. So, me and my siblings, and I became a very limited family. So, my siblings and I became a very close family, my mom showed us love kept on, you know, teaching us love, love, love, love no matter what. So, it was just my mom and my siblings against the wall. Literally, we didn't care about my cousins. We didn't care about my uncle, we didn't care about nobody, it was just us literally had to look after each other. So, and I was the first child. So, I had to, you know, force myself to grow up a little bit. But luckily, you know, one help or the other, we managed to find ourselves to finish high school, found to live to a different country. And that's how my whole family migrated to Canada. We seek asylum in Canada, because Canada was the only safe haven at that point of time for my mom and my siblings, but me I left for England, because I did very well in my exams. So, my mom told me, okay, why don't you go to London and spend three weeks there from there you come to Canada and join us there.
But when I got to London, I got distracted and one thing led to another and I was like, you know what, I want to stay in England, in England I want to stay. So, I ended up staying in England and all my siblings and my family was in Canada. So, from London days, I stayed alone. I had one or two friends that were like relative, but they were not relative. I met them in Nigeria, in school as well. So, we became close, I kind of call them relative those kinds of friends that get close to you.
So once in a while I'll go back to Essex to see them. Then I felt like hustlers, they're like boggling. They're learning how to like, just do one thing or the order. So, I started working in the club bartender, I start working in McDonald's. I stay like just making myself sport direct. I remember sport direct yeah I was a sport direct for a while. I was one of the best workers there. Every lady there will come and say, no, I want Cross to be the one to do my shoes for me. I want Cross to do my shoes. Is cross around? No, he is not around. Yeah, it was a funny moment then. But yeah, I remember one of my favorites was sport direct. It was a very nice environment. And my boss was not wicked. He was a very nice boss. So yeah, it was a good one.
So, from there, we did High School, did college did University and whole. I went to Birmingham, did masters and during Birmingham, I started working in the club as a club promoter meeting people that's how I'm a very easy person to communicate with. So, when you see people you know, there's some people that they give you a very strange vibe it's difficult to communicate with them. But so, I had communication easy for me when I meet a stranger I can easily communicate because I know that you are human, and you might be going through a lot, or you might be going through whatever, but I can definitely listen to you. so, I started working in the club. And I stayed like learning human communication skills, I was so good that people want to hang out with me. People always want to go out with me, so it was just an interesting space. So, I made a lot of money from there as well.
Then started working in London commodity market and started of trading in LMNS you know stocks, got bored as well. I was just moving, and this is what I was just doing throughout my training then eventually because I couldn't go back to Nigeria so one of my friends that became more or less like family as well for me told me to I need to come back to Nigeria that his dad would after me that I should come there because I think I've seen him that twice why he came to Hall during our days in university. So, you know those times that when your parents come and came to see the kid and your kid who you this is my friend, this is my friend. So, he showed me to his parents at that time back in university. This is my very good friend. So, they spoke to me they related to me and so that was cool. And that was pretty much it so fast forward so they were like yeah, I can come to Nigeria, come back to Abuja don't worry, I can stay with them. Everything is okay. So, I thought about it, thought about it, thought about it. And that's how I moved back to Nigeria. And when I moved back to Nigeria, I started working in engineering company, I did a lot of work, rice farming, sold cars, did so many things, you know, just to make sure that-
Anita Mlakar: 38:11
You did all of this, you really gather experience, you know from all different angles, and then you somehow put it in what you are today. So not only being a star but being an influencer. Also, I don't know getting familiar with crypto world and everything. So do tell us a little bit about that.
Cross Okonkwo: 38:32
Okay, so the crypto world it was a very interesting. so, as I said, as I kept on going progressing, progressing having different life experiences farming and different things, you know, we guys, we have group chat, WhatsApp group chat, right. So, I had some friends that were my high school back in the days, but we all left for England. Some of them were England, some of them in America. So, we all came back to Nigeria. So, we're in this group chat. We know we guys talk about, you know, rubbish things talk about women or talk about guys, talk about politics, different things. So, for some reason, one of the guys in this group started talking about Bitcoin, crypto in this group. So, they just kept on talking about coin, Bitcoin, Ethereum. And I'm like, What the hell is this guy talking about? Like, maybe shut up like, but he didn't stop he kept on posting in the group you know, and I would not, you know, he's our very good friend. It's more or less I never, I would not like take him out of the group.
So, we just did what we could. Because of some reason one other member in the group too, you know, started like jumping into, he started posting too. I was like, wait two people? normally was one person talking about this thing. Now two people are talking about it, okay, there's something here that I need to understand. So, I started paying attention more into what the hell they are posting in this group I was like, read. Okay, so I started understanding this space, there's a new world entirely called crypto. I didn't know this, it was because of that group. So, like so there's a new entire financial structure out there in the world and this was in the late 2015-2016.
So, with time I kept progressing, I was like okay cool. So, I was now opening accounts here and there. Luna account or some accounts, bConnect for some reason all these other platforms they kept on closing your money will go and different come and everything and I was like, huh, this platform is not you know, this thing is not really steady like that. But I kept on, kept on going and then Binance came into play for some reason, a lot of people were going to Binance, so like, you know, I made some contract money at that time I got paid some good amount in Abuja like you know what, let me don't have this money back. Let me put this money in my crypto my Binance. I did not kept it, I was happy. I've joined the crypto gang, bad boys, big boys hopefully.
Then few months later kept on leaving I became broke. As I said, I was always on the move, so I became broke. I didn't have money to do it. And I was like, you know what, I need my money. So, I was like, let me go and collect the money from you know, my Binance and then my crypto not crushed. So, let's say automatically I had like 5 million there. I had like 3 million there or 3 point something, so then I was, like, so mad, I was angry. I'm like, What the hell? How can I my tie my money put here and the thing crash and now I don't have much I was so angry. So, I just withdrawal all the money from the platform because my mind I was like, if I leave it here and this thing might still go more down, and I need money and I was broke. So, I was so angry on the platform, I was angry on my friends, they were like, don't worry go back up and I was like, shut up, how do you know it will go back or anything? So, these are the kind of things I would like discussing because then I really do my research to understand the space very well. I was going according to what my friends have told me because I believe that they have my best interests at heart, and I've been with them for so many years. So, whatever they're doing I know they're doing it into their right senses. So, I just went with that not me particularly doing my due diligence to understand what exactly this is. But eventually I used the money, withdraw the money instead of managing myself.
After two years later, I left crypto. After two years later crypto has gone up I was so mad, you know, and I was what? So, if I left my money at that time, by now this is like it would have given me a huge amount. So, I was so upset. I was like so these people are really telling the truth. So that's how I said, let me pay more attention into the space. Let me listen to it more, let me don't just go with the hype. Let me listen and see what's all about this space. And that's how that came about. And eventually I started like, learning it, learning it, learning a few about two years ago. Two years ago, Yeah, about two years ago. My friends here in Lagos BJ Botha is one of the top A list musician in Nigeria. So, he, Yele owner of Nestcoin, my cousin chatter, so they started in bonded during the internet, you know, crypto and everything. So, they were telling me that they're making so much money from certain coins to buy and flip and everything. So, they came to Abuja, they told me. The boat, we went out club and we went out, they spent so much money and in my mind, I was like these are the friends I know how do they spend this kind of money? That means there's something going on, so he told me Cross you need to come to Lagos you need to come and learn this is the procedure. This is what to do.
Eventually after a few months later, I came to Lagos, I almost take on this thing. So, I started learning, understanding it. Eventually I went into the Big Brother house that's how I became a superstar by going into the Big Brother house, coming out. My life I've never been the same. So now I heard about NFT. So, I didn't even know about NFT till I came out of the house. So, when I came out of the house, and I got to know NFT is non fungible tokens. So, I started doing my research. This was around I came out of the house October. So, I started doing my research on NFT's from October, November, December. And I was like, Oh, my goodness. This is amazing that this is definitely the future. That I was telling people who didn't want to listen then I was like, you know what, let me just go in and understand it myself. So, I started doing research learning, understanding everything that has to do with NFT. And by January, I pretty much understood everything that has to do with NFT. So since then, I've just been pushing and pushing. That's how I came into the crypto space.
Anita Mlakar: 45:22
Right Cross, we do agree with that. A very important part of this is also education, you know, and for educating yourself, you also need internet, you need connectivity, you need to be connected, because there are so many information out there, you just have to click and search. And if you don't have this main thing, then you are missing out the information and you cannot get educated except if you have friends, maybe who will tell you something about it. So, we do agree with that, that it's so important to be connected, right?
Cross Okonkwo: 45:50
100% sorry, not 100% a 1,000,000,000%.
Anita Mlakar: 45:58
1 billion Bitcoin percent. It's so nice to listen to you, you have a story, which is very important. You know, I'm working in communication and PR, and we agree that stories are the most important thing, but not stories that people made up, but those who are lift, you know, and you have such a story, and this is something that gives you the value and you are sincere, you can be an influencer, you can be a star, you can go to Big Brother. But if you don't have it in your heart, people recognize that, and I think this is what people recognize also with you. And I see all the comments and also everything that is written in our telegram channel and everywhere. You have something special, like you said, those same values connected you to Sandi, you felt it, right? When you met him, you felt it and you said, this is something that I want to go in.
Cross Okonkwo: 46:53
Yeah! Exactly. Yeah, you are right, it values like, honestly, like, I just think of myself as a vessel. Being just, you know, moving past space and time. And during that time of my movement, I need to touch as much life as I can touch, feel my time is up. That's how I see myself. I'm not the best in pretty much anything. I'm just me, I'm not comparing myself to anybody. I don't want to be in anybody's track or race with anybody. I'm in my own space, trying to make myself better. Do you understand? And as I'm doing that, I am going through life, going in to this space called life in general, there's going to be so much obstacles, there's going to be so much danger, there is going to be so much, you know, celebration, whatever it is, and is now left for me to navigate myself through all those.
And as I'm doing this, influence, touch, educate as much as I can as I go. That's how I see myself and that's how I've always known life to be, and I think it's based on my upbringing, more or less like how I saw life growing up what my mom and my family taught me. And those are the things I kind of value the most out of everything. I value things more than like I value experiment. How will I explain to you? I value experiences like taking trips, making memories, like those are things I value more than anything. Don't get me wrong, I really think things are good having a nice fancy house is good. Having a very nice you know, car is very nice, good watch all those things is good. It's very nice. But I personally would value many things first before those things.
Anita Mlakar: 48:55
At the end we come to that what will be left when we leave this world what is our legacy? And it's not about the money and houses and cars and it's something that we did, some influence that we had, something good that we spread. Isn't that so?
Cross Okonkwo: 49:11
Yes, of course definitely. It has to be. Those are the most of the things that they have to remember you for, your name, what you stood for, your conscience, your dream the things you could affect how many lives did you impact? how many lives if you change? want to know who will listen to you? That's how I think life should be not how many cars or how many clothes or whatever those things are literally going to be left here and for example last week, I got an expensive wrist jewelry I got in Dubai because I was in Dubai, not too long, quite expensive. And I didn't want to buy about like, you know, let me just buy. Guess what? I misplaced it. I was in a concert, I came to Nigeria last weekend. I was in a concert in a cohort. I don't know how my hand maybe I was jumping, or I don't know how it came off. And I looked for it all over the hall. I couldn't find it and I'm sure it's gone. So, in my mind, I'm like, if I've taken down money to buy a coin, or NFT, or bought a trip to somewhere, and just look at the sunset, like I would really love it more than now this thing is gone. And that's the end of it. I was so sad.
Anita Mlakar: 50:41
Cross we have a question from Richard. He's always with us on our AMAs and he says, can you tell your followers to join 3air Telegram, Twitter and discord?
Cross Okonkwo: 50:54
Alright, let me tell them. Just give me a second. Alpha, I am waiting, tell everybody to join now please sending them the link. you're the one that sends it to me.
Sandi Bitenc: 51:27
Don't send them the link to join this chat.
Cross Okonkwo: 51:33
So how do you want them to join?
Sandi Bitenc: 51:34
Not here. They shouldn't joined in here. So, this is the link for us to record it for the backstage. They get away. This takes only 10 people in it doesn't take more. I think I don't know who wrote but to share the link from the telegram channel that we have. We use our socials and of course, so maybe that can be actually- because that is in the plan. So, we just started we had the announcement of the you know, the partnership yesterday, and maybe Cross can tell us a bit you know, what's in store now? What's planned because we're not stopping here, right?
Cross Okonkwo: 52:26
Okay, one second. I want to just confirm first from my manager. So, what you said Richard said, I should tell my fans to do what?
Anita Mlakar: 52:35
So, join our communities on telegram.
Cross Okonkwo: 52:39
Okay to join the community. Okay, Alpha, to join the community.
Anita Mlakar: 52:50
Because if I pick up the phone, and I'm sure that 20 people-
Cross Okonkwo: 52:56
Telegram group, so yeah, so everybody should join the group on telegram right now. So, he just posted telegram. was it good? The telegram link Yeah, exactly. Send the telegram link. Okay, all right. No problem. So, Sandi, can you send the telegram link so that we can post it on the group on our private group so my manager can see and send it out.
Sandi Bitenc: 53:24
Yeah, we'll send it I cannot do it right now. But I'm pretty sure Samo or Leon is listening. And they'll probably do it. That was fun, that was good. That's 3aair engagement.
Cross Okonkwo: 53:41
Okay, so that's good.
Sandi Bitenc: 53:42
And I like your shirt. When next time we need to bring it, you know that we try to do the shirts and we were just like, really wanted to do them perfectly. And we never done them. Not until now and then you come, and you have a shirt in two days, and I'm embarrassed now.
Anita Mlakar: 54:02
You should be. I am waiting for this shirt for about one year.
Sandi Bitenc: 54:06
Okay, so I'll tell you. Laura, I don't know if you saw the designs that Laura made that will make NFTs out, but we'll also make sure it's out of that because I think those designs can be perfect for shirts or T shirts. So, I promise we'll do those T shirts now. So, let's engage Laura to make a T-shirt out of that one. Let's see how we can make an NFP you know that's going to come with a T shirt.
Cross Okonkwo: 54:39
I can't wait, it's awesome.
Anita Mlakar: 54:43
Yeah, really great. So Cross, do tell us now you said you are really excited about 3air and the project. You have a big influence on people but what is it that attracted you the most I know that Sandi did you said that you saw Sandi. And you felt it, but otherwise, what is for you in and good in this project?
Cross Okonkwo: 55:07
Okay, as you said, apart from Sandi, which we communicated one of the best host, you know, that I've ever seen, meeting strangers and invited us into his home gave us wine, you know, snacks, and a beautiful view. That was amazing. I can't get over the view. But yeah, apart from the fact that I could see his genuine, you know, self, the concept of 3air itself if I'm being honest, because I particularly love information. Information is what makes us make better decisions is our life.
When you hold information from us, we make careless stupid decisions. And that’s the fact that you cannot tell me, when you have an information about some certain things, you wouldn't make a better decision? Of course, you would. And that's exactly what 3air is doing. connecting the unconnected, informing the uninformed. So, the concept itself literally sold itself because I'm an advocate for African. I'm an advocate for human rights. I'm an advocate for better humanity in general. And how do we help these people? I'm not God. Of course, there are limitations on what I can do. And thanks to 3air that has come into play. With this, we can now inform every single soul about things that are happening all over the world, connecting every human being that needs to be connected, so that you can have freedom of information. And you can get it at your fingertips.
Oh, all right. I want to know who Cross is. Oh, I want to know what 3air is? Oh, I want to know what NFC is? I'm hearing Bored Ape is doing this, okay, I want to know, you read, you're getting informed, that information, which you've come to the information now is now left for you to now analyses the information to decide, okay, how do I play to this information. And that's what 3air will be doing, will be giving that privilege to a lot of people so as I said, apart from Sandi, the concept, the project itself sold itself because I'm a very big advocate for, you know, freedom of information. And that's what 3air will be bringing connecting people all over the world, all over Africa. We have Rwanda, we have Ghana, we have Nigeria, we have Berlin, Burundi. I didn't know much about Burundi till yesterday, apparently, I was trained in Burundi. I don't think I've ever had a country like that I just knew about Burundi today. So, countries like that need information. How do they need information, 3air will be coming into there to be able to do you know, give information out with that information we can use to make better decisions, that empowers yourself, your neighborhood, your family, and your community or your country, depending on who wants to take good advantage of this? So yeah, that's how I believe in the project,
Anita Mlakar: 59:06
Great! There are really so many bright minds in Africa, you know, and this is also an opportunity for them to be seen in the world.
Cross Okonkwo: 59:15
Yes, there are so many great minds in Africa, it's crazy.
Anita Mlakar: 59:20
Yeah, they really are. And so many entrepreneurs and so many ideas, and this is something that now, the world will see more of it. I know that you're already connected, but that will be now done in a better way, Sandi and Cross, I have a question for you now for the end of this conversation, what will be the next steps? What will we do together?
Cross Okonkwo: 59:45
Well, I don't know much about. I did talk with Sandi, but I'll tell you what, I hope that will happen next and what I think I would love for it to happen next. Definitely, we're not stopping, we're going to push the pedals we are like, pushing that pedal all the way down, we don't have that limitation of how far our car our motor can go. So, we're pressing that pedal, and we're taking it all the way down. Meaning that we're going to have so much engagement, we're going to be doing more events, we're going to be, you know, educating people, we're going to be having Instagram, IG live, Twitter space, TikTok space, whatever it takes to let people know about 3air whatever it takes, we're going to always keep pushing it out there.
So having content create, you know, meeting also local celebrities in the countries as well, the funny ones, the actors ones, who would come to, you know, be partners with them, skits, you know, different things to get information out there, because the information needs to be out there, people need to know about it. And eventually, when the 3air eventually lands like, because it's going to be an internet services provider, of course. So, when eventually it lands, which it will be landing, you know, very soon, it could be a walk in the park, it'd be like, okay, we're familiar, it's a friendly neighborhood, you know, our spider man is a friendly neighborhood hero. So, it's going to be like a friendly neighborhood, you know, company, a friendly neighborhood information that you just need to tap to get connected. So, we're not going to stop, I promise you, we're going to keep pushing as hard that's to me. Sandi can tell you what he has planned for us. But that's my own contribution to that.
Anita Mlakar: 1:01:49
Thank you, Cross. Thank you for sharing this information. Sandi, would you like to add something?
Sandi Bitenc: 1:01:56
You actually know what you're up to because we're telling you all the time, sometimes it's too much. So, I can tell you that we are all in. So Cross is all in. I'm either way all in since the beginning. So, and I'm really excited. I'm really happy that Cross joined, you know, the 3air family and our cause. And he's already come up with some really creative ideas and roadmap, we're going to be doing just, you know, standard promoting, that you will see, but we're also going a bit into promoting it land based throughout Nigeria, right Cross?
Cross Okonkwo: 1:02:42
Yes, 100%. All over, we have an event coming up soon in Enugu because which I think Sandi will definitely be wanting to be part of as well. So, this is more or less, like, I'll be guest speaker there, hopefully. So, this is more information. So, wherever I go, I want to be able to carry the pride remains 3air with me, it’s going to be like a logo. So, wherever I go, wherever community I'm going into, because I'm building my platform, I'm building my community and at the end of the day, it's all connected. you know how triangle is, right? So, if you're coming from here, I am coming from here, we eventually have to meet that a triangle is, do you understand? So, I would definitely, you know, be educating as much people I can educate on the, on that podium when that day comes. And yeah, hopefully 3air will be there with us, you know, to be able to let people know who we are as well because it's a very big project that's coming to us 12 months from now and many more, you know, after that, so yeah, it's something that I can't wait. I can't wait to see what 12 months from today hold. I really can't wait to see what 12 months from today hold. So yeah, that's pretty much I am excited.
Sandi Bitenc: 1:04:08
Yeah, absolutely. I'm with you on this.
Anita Mlakar: 1:04:11
Right! I would like to thank you to both of you we've of course. Cross, thank you very much for joining us in this AMA and giving us all the information, your story I really enjoyed it. If you're ever in Slovenia, please let me know you're welcome here too you know, Slovenia is like to host people and this is how we are Sandi, right? Sandi, thank you for joining us from Amsterdam. And this is how it is connecting us you see from all over the world.
Sandi Bitenc: 1:04:47
I think I'll be live on an event on Saturday also. So, I'm a speaker on a hackathon. Yeah. I think we'll be posting the link soon. We just need to I do the designs behind it a bit differently. But this is going to be on Saturday.
Anita Mlakar: 1:05:09
Great! thank you Sandi. Looking forward to that. I would like to thank everybody who was with us today. Stay tuned. Please join us in our communities because we are here to stay. So, thank you very much again Cross and Sandi. Have a beautiful day.
Cross Okonkwo: 1:05:24
Thank you so much, Anita. Thank you so much, Sandi. you guys have a beautiful day! Bye.
Sandi Bitenc: 1:05:35
Anita Mlakar: 1:05:36