This is a transcript from our weekly YouTube live AMA:
About AMA: On this AMA, we are giving you our Weekly update and Q&A.
AMA Duration: 29:38
Anita Mlakar: 00:06
Hello, my dear people, and welcome to 3air’s AMA.
Anita Mlakar is my name, and I am with you, as I am every Wednesday at 5pm Central European Time. I hope you’re doing fine because I am, I hope you’re having a great day. And this is a special day, I read that this is an African day. So yeah, best wishes, and congratulations to all the Africans. Please be strong, be good, feel good and feel connected. And this is why 3air is here to do that the last thing namely, that you will be connected, and I will shortly in a couple of sentences tell you what we are doing.
But first, let me invite you to our channels, to discord, to Telegram, to Twitter, we are there all the time communicating and connecting with you. And of course, welcome to our YouTube channel where you are right now. And if you are not subscribed yet, please do that.
Now, just in a couple of sentences as always, what are we doing what is 3air all about?
So, we are trying to connect the unconnected, we are trying to bank the unbanked. And actually, we are connecting people of Africa to Internet. And we are doing that with two technologies K3 last mile solution and 3air internet. And once you are connected to the internet, you get a digital identity from us where you can store everything. And this will be actually a proof of what you have done. You can verify everything very easily. And of course, you can identify yourself with it. We also create your digital bank account, we are giving you a valid and all this time, we are educating people and that’s the real empowerment.
The next step is providing financial services. We have Fiat onboarding and off boarding ramp and peer to peer cash crypto onboarding, DeFi we are working on micro loans and yield farming all of that. And we also have outside partners that will provide additional digital revenue streams. And once we put people or you through all these steps, you are connected, banked and empowered. And this is what we are doing. I would like to invite the man who is behind all that. Of course, with his team, Sandi Bitenc the CEO of 3air to be with us.
Anita Mlakar: 02:36
Sandi Bitenc: 02:37
Hello. Hi, everyone. Hi, Anita.
Anita Mlakar: 02:39
Hi! now you are still in Dubai Sandi, although I heard some plans that maybe you should travel to Slovenia, but you didn’t.
Sandi Bitenc: 02:48
So, I think you know better about this than I do because I need to thank you actually that I’m not sitting on the plane right now. So yeah, thank you very much.
Anita Mlakar: 02:59
But if you ask me, I will rather see that you are sitting on a plane to Slovenia, so that we could meet live.
Sandi Bitenc: 03:04
I will in 14 days. So, it’s just a two week, I would need to now go to do one signature in Slovenia, and then fly back to Dubai. And then after 14 days again to Slovenia. So, we just postponed it a bit.
Anita Mlakar: 03:22
This is really crazy. As you know, with digital identities, this is much easier, right?
Sandi Bitenc: 03:27
I think it should be. I think it also should be like with the current technology that we already have, it shouldn’t be such a problem. It’s just sometimes there are people that are I don’t know, have a bad day or something like that. And then they’re just cranky. And it needs to be to the point, and it cannot…
Anita Mlakar: 03:51
Sandi Bitenc: 03:52
You manage. So yeah, very good.
Anita Mlakar: 03:58
Sandi, our last ama was very interesting. We had a very interesting guest. Matt Dixon was with us. And there were a lot of questions also back then we couldn’t answer them all because, of course, we wanted to spend as much time as we can with the guest. And today will be the opportunity also for that. So, if you have any questions, please do write them down in the comment. Please use the opportunity for Sandi, the man himself to give you the answers to your questions and Sandi today is a special day, Africa day. And as I said best wishes of course to all Africans.
Sandi Bitenc: 04:39
Yes, I didn’t know that. So, you surprised me a bit. And what is it? What does it actually mean?
Anita Mlakar: 04:47
I don’t know. I just saw it is like you know, like, I think it’s international day. Maybe someone knows but I think it’s like every country I think has its own day. So, I think this day, 25th of May it’s African day. And also, it was a very interesting, let’s say important day. I remember in former Yugoslavia. Do you remember Sandi when we were still all the countries together? And the 25th of May was like, what was it? A day or something? The Liberty?
Sandi Bitenc: 05:20
No, was it of Youth?
Anita Mlakar: 05:26
Youth Day? Maybe, yeah.
Sandi Bitenc: 05:28
I think it was this, could be.
Anita Mlakar: 05:30
Sandi Bitenc: 05:32
That were romantic times, right? So, I wouldn’t want to go back.
Anita Mlakar: 05:38
No, it was okay but it’s okay a little bit too. Now if any of you is from Africa, please write down. Where are you from? From which country? And I did a little checkup today. I was learning a little bit. And I have a question for you. Maybe if you know, not for you Sandi, I’m sure you know but for everybody that is with us right now, how many countries are there in Africa? And the continent of Africa? How many countries are there? So yeah, if someone else please write down. And then right from which country you are, of course, everything is on Google. Google knows everything but maybe you know it is so yeah, just for starters.
Anita Mlakar: 06:18
Sandi, it is actually a very nice period. Also, in 3air, not so much activity but many things are happening around and let’s say behind the scenes. And I saw that there are so many blogs, so many interesting articles coming out. I saw that because every time they get out, someone has written about it in our channels, in Telegram and we have a special one today too, right?
Sandi Bitenc: 06:50
We actually redesigned our blog, put it on a different system. And it’s up and running right now on blog.3air.io. The old one was built more, it started from a bit smaller. There weren’t so many articles there. And we had a big or we have a big docs page. So that one is built on one system. And then we just copied it over because blog was not fitting into the Doc Section. So, we just put it on another copy paste it. And right now, the blog also actually overdrew the previous system. So, we did a bit nicer. If you didn’t see it yet, I can actually share it a bit. Just let me share it.
Anita Mlakar: 07:50
Do share it. Sandi, I thought we had an explanation why this is an African day, but we will tell it later. So go ahead.
Sandi Bitenc: 08:03
Yeah, so this is our blog, it’s live. It’s on blog.3air.io and we still have the categories, articles, videos and some stories but we also put tags on each and every blog so that you can just you know, if you want to see everything from our AMAs and their old archives here, with transcripts, you can just go there and click on one. And what I really like is that the page is blazingly fast, so we really took care that you have a good experience and to be honest, I didn’t see any so fast blog here in the past, so we really did it amazing, I think, and you know, I don’t know how you say it, like self-praise is worth nothing or something like that but just go and check it out. It’s crazy. How fast it is.
Anita Mlakar: 09:10
Nice, it looks really nice.
Sandi Bitenc: 09:12
We also have the dark version. Yeah, that’s usually really popular, right? And also, if you if you search something, it’s really fast, it opens instantly. I think you’ll enjoy surfing through it and reading some cool stuff.
Anita Mlakar: 09:39
Everything is here.
Sandi Bitenc: 09:41
Anita Mlakar: 09:44
And if you read through all this, then you have a pretty good view of what is happening in 3air and not only that, because it’s a lot, it’s educational and this is what I like I’m really learning from those blogs. I even check those blog it was about, let me see, “10 facts about connectivity in Africa”. And I was like, “Wow, oh my god, this is a really interesting fact”. So yeah, go through it. Check it out, read it. Educate yourself. Ask questions and that way you will know more, right Sandi? That’s how life goes.
Sandi Bitenc: 10:22
Yes, exactly. So, this week was the blog next week we’ll have the NFT marketplace published. So, we are at that point, and I think we could even publish it today, if necessary, but let’s spend some more time at some additional, some additional artworks to it and next week, we’ll present it.
Anita Mlakar: 10:48
Okay. Richard added an explanation of today’s day, Africa day, formally African Freedom Day. And African Liberation Day is the annual commemoration of the foundation of the organization of African Unity on 25th of May 1963. So, thank you, Richard.
Sandi Bitenc: 11:09
So now we know.
Anita Mlakar: 11:10
Now we know. We know something more. We learn something each day. It’s amazing. And it is celebrated in various countries on the African continent. Really interesting! How you are celebrating this day? Are there any parties or any celebration? Special celebrations or something?
Sandi Bitenc: 11:32
Anita Mlakar: 11:34
Yeah, fireworks. Yeah! Well, I don’t know. What is it? But in Europe, we’re just crazy about these fireworks. And I’m always “Oh, my God, what about the birds?” You know? I’m always thinking about this green side of things. Okay.
Sandi Bitenc: 11:49
It’s good that it’s more during night. So, there are not so many birds flying during the night.
Anita Mlakar: 11:56
Yeah, but they’re scared. You know? Okay. 54 African countries - Juels. That is the correct answer. Congratulations! That is what I read too so I’m not sure if I’m mistaken, but I think this is the right answer. Yeah. Okay! Sandi, about NFTs I read also on our channel, people are really enthusiastic about NFT’s and also saying there in Africa, they have so many great artists, who could be actually a part of this and be used. So that is nice, too.
Sandi Bitenc: 12:37
Yeah. We are talking to a few. That’s something that you met Hilina, right? Hilina is helping us with that and a few other people that we have on ground in Africa but if you know anyone that would like to have their artwork, NFTs on 3air, so just let us know.
Anita Mlakar: 13:04
Yeah, that is a good idea. Why not? Sandi, we said we will take this opportunity. If anyone’s has any questions today, then we will be answering them here but if not later on, maybe in a couple of minutes we have made a decision or said that we will go probably to as you promised it will be sometimes also present in channels. That means on Telegram or on other channels where you will be also answering questions for some time, of course, not the whole day, because you don’t have that much time.
Sandi Bitenc: 13:39
I haven’t been so much on our channels lately. I do chime in now and then but let’s say as we said previous week, we could do that right after the AMA so and let’s go today, maybe afterwards just to the channels and have a chat there.
Anita Mlakar: 13:59
Okay. So, you will give some extra time and also be able to give some answers. Sandi, is there something else going on? Something that we should know or is now a little easier time?
Sandi Bitenc: 14:19
I can say it’s a bit easier. It’s still a lot of work, of course. So, we are right now as the market is down. We are not focused so much on the token launch. We’re just waiting for the market to turn but we’re still making connections just this week, we got a confirmed by another launch pad. So, we are doing some additional work in the background and the development is ongoing. So, this is the biggest part right now. So, we have started with some implementation. That’s a really early alpha stage of the Mesh network, we already found one issue that we are solving right now. And it’ll require us to do some bigger revamping of our current system. And you remember we had like a few weeks ago, we had the presentation on what we’ve built already. So, we’ll need to change the protocol there. It is kind of a big change. It’s not nothing like that we couldn’t handle it just going to take a bit more time. So, it’s good that we actually saw this, and it will also help us have our system a bit. Let’s say revamped a bit new. Some additional functionalities, and especially what it’ll give us is the possibility of expanding further. And actually, the new protocol would be able to handle far more users than the last one.
Anita Mlakar: 16:09
Okay. Richard is just saying something about the NFTs, for me, to be honest, and NFT should have a purpose or function, what will be the function of the first 3air NFT have our only digital art, what will the first NFT have?
Sandi Bitenc: 16:28
The first few NFTs will just be digital art. So, the focus will be on the 3air brand and on supporting the local African artists. So, this is it but once we have everything so far developed that we can add actually functionalities in a sense of adding connectivity to the NFTs we will add them right away. So, let’s see more probably, you know, think of something special once we are ready, we will issue a totally new set of NFTs and the first one will probably be a really special one.
Anita Mlakar: 17:14
Okay, there was a very interesting discussion about NFTs at the last conference that I was at someone there was a lecture about it, and the question was, what was the meaning of something that you are buying, and you cannot physically use? You know? so what is happening with these NFTs and then there was this, I don’t know what was her name, but she is really an expert on that. And she said, “It is not about physically using it, or having that purpose, but it’s about it has an emotional value for the one buying it or owning it. And it’s also a feeling of belonging to the community, you know, that it’s buying or having a similar purpose with art or whatever they’re doing. It is actually about emotions.” And I was so impressed, and I thought, “Oh, my god, yeah, well, this is actually additional value. Even you cannot have it like that, you know, that we are used to this physical connection, but it’s emotional”. So yeah, I guess this is something that is going to be the future.
Sandi Bitenc: 18:27
I think there’s far more to it than just this, you know, usually right now, when people say NFTs, they really mean only some JPEG pictures, but it’s going to be far more than this, it already is. In regards to what you cannot use physically, so in the end, you also at home you buy a picture of something, and you hang it on the wall. And yeah, it’s physically present there but, you know, how do you actually use it, you just you look at it, right? So, there’s the emotion there. And you can also look at the digital image, you could potentially put a screen up. And you know, I don’t know if you’ve been to any of the NFT galleries that are popping up around the world. And you actually have the digital art represented in really different form and shape. And, you know, some are on screen, some are projected. I even saw a few of them like a hologram and this stuff. So, there’s a lot of things that you can do.
Also, think about that a lot of things that we’re doing today is digital, they’re not existing in the real world. So, what we’re doing here right now, you know, it’s hard to say it’s kind of physical, right? So, it’s totally digital. You just watch it on YouTube, and it still has value. So, I think the biggest value- Yeah, the emotions behind it, of course it is. But when we go back to the art, again, I would argue that the majority of art right now isn’t sold really because you would like to have it at home and you know, just watch it, and you’re just so I don’t know, emotionally touched or something like that. A lot of people buy art just because they think it’ll increase in value. So, those Banksy’s and so on, they’re just like, crazy amounts, if you would say, it’s hard to put no value on art, right? But let’s be honest, is Banksy weren’t worth those millions? It’s like, there are even websites out where you can invest in something like this. So, you just own part of it. So, it’s just like a total investment and if this can be also something like this.
Anita Mlakar: 21:05
Yes, I’m sure there are so many aspects, and I’m sure more of that will be coming out as we go, you know, thinking about what you can do with it. What is the purpose, and I am really looking forward to that this is totally new territory for me and I’m just getting to know it so?
Sandi Bitenc: 21:23
I think there might be something new coming with the NFTs. I just, I saw an article a few days ago. It’s called “Soulbound NFTs,” and it was an article by Vitalik Buterin. So usually, if he says something, then it just picks up for some strange reason and let’s see, I need to look a bit more into it. And it might become the next hype, you never know. And if it does, then let’s see if we can find some utility for it also in 3air.
Anita Mlakar: 22:02
Yeah, we have a question. How will the IP telephony work for the people with an 3air connection NFT? In the whole area around the tower or around the receiver at home?
Sandi Bitenc: 22:19
It’s going to be around the receiver at home. So, for the IP telephony, IP telephony is mostly used for corporate purposes, for call centers or for some bigger companies that have a lot of employees, and they need to be connected to in between themselves and to maybe some branches that are outside. And IP telephony actually enables them to have a free calling to have all the nitty gritty stuff that you would need in a call center with tracking everything and the stuff. So, IP telephony as more for this. It’s not meant for your usual phone conversations that you would have to a mobile and so on.
But also, when we’re speaking about this, so I was a bit speaking with some people and reading. And actually, if you think about it, the calling functions from the phones are getting less and less used. And right now, I don’t think that the majority of people have their phones for calling to be honest. It’s everything else, right? So, internet is far more important right now than calling. I even, myself I use like for calling 90% of the time, I use one of the chats, Telegram or WhatsApp or whatever, I just call through there because it’s for free and I usually, when I call it’s outside of the country, and it’s just I think that the calls are actually going away. It’s interesting what they’re doing here in Dubai, it’s not really you know, the nicest thing but what they’re doing is they’re literally blocking all the voice over IP. So, you cannot call through WhatsApp or Telegram or any of those applications you cannot call outside. They’re just blocking it because they’re trying to save their telecom so that people would use like normal lines for calling else everyone just uses WhatsApp. So, then you need to use a VPN to get around it and so on.
Anita Mlakar: 24:48
Yes, really, really a lot is changing. I can also see my son, his phone broke, you know, the speaker broke and I thought okay, now that this is broken, this is a connection that we have when he is in school or after school, he will probably want a new one. And he didn’t miss it at all. He was just like writing the messages or using one of the applications. And that was like for a month and at the end, it fell down and it broke. So, he had to change it but that was not a problem. I cannot only imagine before that, you know, in our time that if we had a phone and then later a caller mobile phone, and if it broke, I was like, “Oh my God, what should I do today? I have to solve it”. So yeah, there are other ways to get in touch with someone. And before that Sandi, you said that we are also digital. Actually, we are not live. This is not us. We have our holograms.
Sandi Bitenc: 25:47
We are NFTs.
Anita Mlakar: 25:51
Oh my god, really. Is there just something else any update about the big investment, that is the 10 million investment, Sandi?
Sandi Bitenc: 26:02
We’re actually out for a bigger investment. We want to add a zero to this. The investment for Ethiopia and for DRC are good. So, this is all ongoing, and it’s confirmed. So, this is not a question, but we are talking with some big VCs to set up a big fund for an expansion throughout Africa. So yeah, there are actually three options. It’s like you crazy how it’s going. Before it was nothing then one came and then like two came afterwards. So, we’ll probably make something happen. Just let’s see, hopefully, they’re not setting too much too high demands, but I have actually have one really big offer on the table.
Anita Mlakar: 27:00
Okay, and you are now telling just by the way, like, you know, “You know, this is important”.
Sandi Bitenc: 27:07
It is but it’s gonna be you know, once we have it, once we decide it’s actually on us to take this deal or not. It is not the cheapest, but it would give us quite a boost. So, but let’s see. Right now, the funds are not so much needed at this point in time. So, we said we’ll take it a bit slowly. And you know, we’re also talking to two other VCs and let’s see who comes up with the best offer.
Anita Mlakar: 27:48
Okay, Sandi, before we move this conversation to our channel on Telegram where it will in writing, of course. Just another question. You are also a guest in some interviews lately I saw it on Twitter or somewhere I’m not sure but how was it?
Sandi Bitenc: 28:10
Well, I wasn’t right now live. So maybe it’s something from before.
Anita Mlakar: 28:14
Sandi Bitenc: 28:15
Yeah, maybe it’s a repost or maybe it’s something that we recorded a month ago and they’re publishing it right now because I don’t know what you saw, to be honest.
Anita Mlakar: 28:26
Okay. Just look it up in the last one. It’s in telegram and then we will talk about it. Okay. So, if you’re ready, all of you that are here, of course and others that are probably also on Telegram. Sandi, you will be just for some time, of course also there right now, after we finish this AMA. So, you are invited all to go there. And of course, be with us next Wednesday at 5pm. We will be here we will be back. And things are happening, of course on our channels and on social media have also our social channels. So please stay with it. Stick with us, ask questions and be educated. This is the right term, okay.
Sandi, have a great day. Enjoy it! Enjoy your chat, your communication further on Telegram and I’m inviting you to be back here next Wednesday. Okay?
Sandi Bitenc: 29:26
I’ll be here. No worries.
Anita Mlakar: 29:29
Okay. Have a great day Sandi and everybody. Thank you for being with us. Bye bye.
Sandi Bitenc: 29:35