Table Of Contents
This is a transcript from our weekly YouTube live AMA:
SPEAKERS: Anita Mlakar, Sandi Bitenc and Markos Lemma.
About AMA: This time we’re joined by Markos Lemma, Co-founder & CEO at iceaddis, a community-oriented innovation hub in Ethiopia. Tune in to hear all about school mapping and connectivity in Ethiopia + 3air’s connectivity NFTs with 3air CEO Sandi Bitenc!
AMA Duration: 57:17
Anita Mlakar: 00:24
Hello everybody and welcome to 3air’s AMA, we are live again because it is Wednesday. And we’re doing that every Wednesday, connecting to you. And of course, this AMA is also the opportunity for you to ask questions, to write comments, to be with us. I have a special guest coming up today and also the CEO of 3air. Sandi Bitenc will be with us in a couple of seconds. Anita Mlakar is my name. I am the host of this AMA.
At the beginning of this AMA, I would like to invite you to be of course a part of our communities. We are very active on Discord, on Twitter and on Telegram, a lot is happening there. So, I’m inviting you to be a part of that communities of our 3air family. And also, of course to subscribe to this YouTube channel if you’re not subscribed yet, because we are here live every Wednesday.
Let’s do a short introduction of our project. So, what is 3air doing?
It is the world’s first blockchain platform that enables individuals and businesses to thrive on Web3 by providing broadband internet connectivity. And what we are trying to do is connect the unconnected and bank the unbanked we are talking about it a lot. And we are actually connecting people of Africa to internet with two technologies. One is 3air internet, our internet and of course K-3 Last Mile Solution. People who join us who people who are with us and of course are connected will get a digital identity from us. And we also create their digital bank account giving them a wallet.
The next step is providing financial services. We have Fiat onboarding and offboarding ramp and peer to peer cash, crypto onboarding, DeFi. We are working on micro loans and yield farming. We also have outside partners that will provide additional digital revenue streams. And once we put people through all those steps, of course, they’re connected, they’re banked, and they’re empowered. We are doing that all the time. We are also informing people about what we are doing. And that is why it’s important that you are a part of our community. Now Sandi Bitenc, the CEO of 3air is always with us. And I would like to invite him in and say hello.
Anita Mlakar: 02:46
Sandi Bitenc: 02:48
Hello. Hi, Anita. Hi, we 3air fam.
Anita Mlakar: 02:53
From which part of the world Sandi?
Sandi Bitenc: 02:56
Dubai, Dubai right now.
Anita Mlakar: 03:00
So, you’re home?
Sandi Bitenc: 03:02
Yes. In a sense, I don’t know where home is anymore. I spent so little time. And I’m also staying just for two days.
Anita Mlakar: 03:13
Okay, first Sandi, let me officially also here congratulate you and our project, of course, for winning this great award of “Social Impact Project” 3air won the award, and we are really proud of that, aren’t we?
Sandi Bitenc: 03:31
We are. At least some recognition that we are getting. And it was really nice. Also, congratulations to you, too. You’re also part of the product. So, you won it also. And of course, we couldn’t be doing this without our community. I don’t have it here right now, the statue or how you call it, the pyramid is like heavy as hell, it’s the heaviest thing. We got into trouble transporting it back to Dubai because it’s so heavy. I am sure it’s like four or five kilos, we were overweight immediately. And it’s big, putting it in a suitcase, it was a challenge.
Anita Mlakar: 04:28
Well, it is heavy, not only by how much it weighs, but also because we have now a new responsibility. Winning such an award. It gives you also a responsibility to continue and to stay or at least to keep it you know, and I think that this is something that we are doing all the time and I’m really proud of the team, of everybody who is with us, our community, our family. And I was watching, Petra send me and then also a to the community, how you received the award, and you were like, really cool. You went out there, and then you came down from the stage. And you were like, a little surprised, but still proud, I really liked it.
Sandi Bitenc: 05:16
Yeah, it was also the environment all around was supportive of all this. So, there was one social impact project, everything else was really hyped up, and all those stuff. So, we were all already hyped with the proceedings that were there. And then just when many of us pulled up, we were nominated. So, we knew that it’s gonna come down to a few projects that can win. And it was just exciting. Waiting and then it’s “Yes!”
Anita Mlakar: 05:57
Yeah, deserved. I see a lot of congrats coming in from our community. So, thank you very much for all the nice words that you’re writing right now. The comment section, and of course, you’re welcome to ask questions today. We have a very special guest coming up, but just Sandi to ask you this question before we invite our guests in. How was all in all, in Malta?
Sandi Bitenc: 06:24
Well, it was less people that I expected. But we also need to understand that literally a few days before the event, the FTX crash happened. And I was speaking to Max that was running most of the things there. We got so many kinds of cancellations just before the event, but I think we got a lot out of it, to be honest. So, there were a lot of VCs out that we wanted to speak to, there were some really good projects out there that we are exploring partnerships right now. And we actually agreed on one today. And that’s quite a big one. It’s going to be announced in December. Probably is going to be announced a bit before but it’s gonna be you know, some things that we’ll be working on together are going to be in December. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say anything. But I think the announcement will come pretty soon, within a few days.
There are some other stuff. There are some other projects that we met, connected with we were there. Also, on to two side events. I was a speaker on two side events. One was the regular crypto meetup. And I think that was actually even recorded and I think we put it somewhere on our channels. And then the second one was Crypto Mondays and that was really cool, it was fun. We laughed a lot. We reconnected, it was really like a family that they were doing it there. So really close to everyone.
Then I was also a speaker on the Malta event. So, a lot of speaking lately. And then I was also a speaker in Saudi, I was just in Riyadh on another conference. So, it’s just like, plane to plane. And when I flew from Malta, we landed in Dubai at around 1:30 In the morning, and then I needed to repack my stuff. Then I had two hours of sleep and jumped on a plane, go directly to the event. And then in the evening at seven I had a speech like half asleep.
Anita Mlakar: 09:06
Oh my god. Amazing, Sandi. You’re doing a great job you know that. But I know it’s also very intensive sometimes. I know that you have Petra, and I hope that she’s taking good care of you.
Sandi Bitenc: 09:22
Absolutely! In general Malta was really good. As I said, a bit less people than expected but they were the right people. So, from that, it’s good. And now afterwards. Saudi Arabia, they’re opening up. It’s interesting. So, whoever is interested into some new things, they’re backing a lot of projects that have anything to do with Saudi Arabia. The funding is really good there. So, I would encourage everyone that’s thinking about doing something new. And it can be done from inside of Saudi Arabia, I think it’s a good place to go. It’s really easy to get connections, and most of the things that are backed by the government, and then also, the level of funding that you can get there is, it’s really on another level, I was also invited to an investor meeting. And that was something new for me, but it was more VCs talking to VCs. And it’s just, they count millions, like we count $10.
Anita Mlakar: 10:50
Okay, Sandi, I have to ask you something, because I saw in our community that a lot of people are talking about football and everything that is happening right now. And we know that Saudi Arabia won over Argentina, which was a big surprise. And is it true that they’re really having a national holiday now because of that?
Sandi Bitenc: 11:07
Yeah, they just declared that nobody needs to go to work. I think today, and I don’t follow football and soccer not at all. And then it was during the investor meeting. There was just some fireworks going on. It was like “Fireworks… Okay”, in Saudi Arabia- In Riyadh, I don’t think that they knew that existed a few years ago. But also, an experience. They were really close just a few years ago. Now they’re starting to open up and change things and it’s actually pretty okay to visit. I heard some really bad stories a few years ago when some friends went and so on. But now it looks like a totally different place. As woman you can go you don’t need to wear a scarf. You can drive a car that was not allowed before. There was no music outside. And the first thing when I came to the event, there was like loud music all over. There were advertisement for a concert with Carl Cox and those things. So, it is different for sure.
Anita Mlakar: 12:37
Things are changing. And that’s good. Okay. Sandi, we will also do a little market update and everything later, because now I would really like to invite our guest. I’m really happy that he’s with us again. We had him once. I think it was once maybe twice on our AMA. And he’s the co-founder and CEO of iceaddis, Ethiopian first Innovation Hub, and tech startup incubator, and I’m really happy to have Markos Lemma with us.
Anita Mlakar: 13:09
Markos Lemma: 13:12
Hello, Anita. Sandi, how are you guys? It’s nice to be back again.
Sandi Bitenc: 13:17
We are good. Thanks. Yeah. How were you back in addis.
Markos Lemma: 13:24
Back to addis, yes. So actually, congratulations again, 3air for award. I actually to be honest, I expected it. That that would happen. Just being in Malta, like, there are a lot of projects are coming in, but I didn’t really like get across any project that’s actually impactful on this scale. Still, congratulations.
Sandi Bitenc: 13:55
Thank you. And by the way, Markos was with us in Malta. So, he can also give us a bit of an update. How he felt it was.
Anita Mlakar: 14:06
Yes, Markos, from your point of view, how would you say the event and everything that was happening was there?
Markos Lemma: 14:16
For me, it’s really great. From the format of the conference, it was the first one that was actually interacting with some people that I know online. So, it’s actually great. That’s like I had a chance to meet them. I think they had really the right kind of people like coming into the conference. And the interaction was going for longer hours, there’s like 18 hours of interaction with different people. And there were also like some serious interactions. I think I always say this, this kind of conference will give you a perfect trust in what kind of people actually like you’re gonna work with afterwards because, if you do everything online, the trust and then there is a barrier already, like how you interact with people. But that’s usually broken because you can really ask a lot of questions, you can really go deeper in terms of like, understanding people’s project, but also understanding who they are like, who are the people behind this great project.
So, for me, that actually gives me a lot of insights in that, and also how different people actually really think about other different projects. So, it really give you this surge here, to really clearly understand what are the trends and how our sector like where it’s going? It’s a smaller event, probably like compared to what initially anticipated. But there were still a huge number of people who are interesting in the conference.
Anita Mlakar: 16:05
So, Markos you prefer live events, over let’s say, online events?
Markos Lemma: 16:12
I would say like entry points, I think when you really meet someone in person first, it makes every interaction online afterwards, it makes it really easier. Because then you would actually have the conversation like completely on a different level. So that’s why I love these conferences, what happened the COVID time, where there is everything is digital, and several people, they never really even meet their team even once and I think that disconnect somehow. So, I’m still a big fan of online activities, because I think it’s definitely save a lot of time and resources. But if you really want to seriously partner with someone, I think you need to meet them at least once in person.
Sandi Bitenc: 17:02
Yeah, and I don’t think that there is now way around it almost, although we are really trying hard to get around it, but it is a different level of connection. We also spoke a bit on that on Crypto Mondays. So, I think it’s a general consensus on this, that we need more real-life meetings.
Markos Lemma: 17:28
Anita Mlakar: 17:34
Okay, Markos, for those who are new with us, and they weren’t with us last time, you were our guest, please do a short introduction of yourself and your work.
Markos Lemma: 17:47
Yeah, sure. My name is Markos Lemma. I’m the CEO and co-founder of iceaddis, iceaddis is a first tech incubation and acceleration program. We always, regard as amplifying startups in Africa, we have a lot of regional activities we work with high potential technology startups in the last 11 years. So, we’ve been in the market for the last 10 years. And I have been working on the tech community for a long time. I love the tech community. And I am also a big believer of tech startups. And I think, if you really want to solve the next generation problems and challenges, like startups, they are the perfect gateway for that, so centralized approach is definitely not the way to go. And if you’re looking at the Web3 and movement in Africa, it’s really driven by a lot of startup, the local ecosystem and iceaddis has been in the market for a long time. We have a lot of footprint, especially in Ethiopia, in bringing the topic of emerging technology to the light.
In iceaddis, we actually are working on Web3 products. Quite recently, in the last three years, but we have quite prominent position in the Web2 startup sector. But it’s not just only limited to entrepreneurship development, but we also do a lot of events, workshops. We do a lot of policy advocacy, with the government more specifically when it comes to innovation, proclamations and startup act. This has been pushed a lot also regionally like there’s organization, for instance, i4Policy is a Pan African organization that pushes a lot of these policies to be adopted by governments throughout Africa. And also, one of our work is also really collaborative, like working with different stakeholders, not just only working with the startups and tech community. So, it’s kind of like a diverse approach in our implementation of these activities. But at the same time, we are also trying to create a lot of value by providing technical support to young innovators in this market.
Anita Mlakar: 20:42
Your work is very important. And we were talking the last time also about the importance of connectivity for startups, and also for schools. And this is also the subject that we’re talking about today. And this is now let’s say, a very important field, where also 3air is making changes. So how are you seeing this connectivity of schools? Could you tell us a little bit about that?
Markos Lemma: 21:12
Yeah, I think it’s like, if you want to really want to start with any sorts of connectivity especially schools are like the first step to start. I mean, I could argue that for many different reasons, but I think the first reason is, we know that a lot of educational resources are now available online. So, there is an open educational platforms, even like high league, universities, Stanford or Harvard, they have a lot of these educational resources now available for people online to learn. But that’s not only limited to the knowledge not limited to what you get from text, but also there is a lot of interaction, there’s a lot of research documents are actually being published all the time. There are a lot of games in the education sector, like most of elementary, even children learning apps are actually quite effective now, they have become like very gamified and very effective, and all these different resources. And then if you bring them into a country, where there is no resources, so when even there is no enough books are available in the schools. And there are almost like no digital technological opportunities are there. There is no advanced laboratories or digital libraries, or existing.
So, within this framework, I think the school connectivity will actually bring in a completely new shift, the way education is in a certain country. Because it will build up everything on top of that, when children and schools could be high school, it could be elementary school, when they have access to internet in the school, they will grow as what we call now digital natives, right? Like they will really interact with digital activities, they will already broaden their imagination. And that’s the foundation for everything the countries will do afterwards, that could be building businesses or e-governments or whatever. The next step would be. So, I think in my opinion. In fact, before anything else, actually, schools need to be connected to the internet to achieve the goals that we want to achieve, which is like economic empowerment, economic growth, and so on.
Sandi Bitenc: 23:54
I think it goes even more than that. So, it’s also about the teachers, also the teachers need to have access to the internet to be on top of what’s going on. And I think at the pace of development that we are having right now, it’s not this the same it was in the 70s or 80s or 90s or even 2000. The pace of innovation of new information coming out is far greater. And books just tend to be outdated all the time. So, I think we should just almost for faith, let’s say 90% of the books will be actually don’t need we can put the materials up on the internet and I would even say that I think the whole educational system in a sense needs to change and adapt to the new surroundings. Right now, what’s really important I think, is to know how to find information and how to validate the information that they’re correct. I think Internet is a big library, but also with a lot of fake information. So, finding the correct information, and then what we need to teach the children I think is more or less how to combine that to achieve a goal. So yeah, I think it’s really time to have a totally different concept of learning in my opinion, and for sure, it’s going to be tightly bound to the internet.
Markos Lemma: 25:38
Yeah, absolutely. I think, even the fact that there are 4 billion people don’t have access to internet, it’s just mind blowing, even with the current trends. And then, obviously, like schools, and students and teachers are like the first victim of that, in most countries. I remember, we had a long discussion in Ethiopia was a lot of people about access to internet, because when we started iceaddis installs in 11, the there is only 1% of the total population have access to the internet. And we also had a lot of mapping of like, versus bloggers, like how many bloggers are actually like talking about Ethiopia, in English, and then we managed to get only 20 bloggers for 100 million people. And so, which means like, 85%-95% of the information coming about Ethiopia is either by foreigners living in Ethiopia, or outside or the aspirated are living mostly in North America. So, it’s actually almost impossible to verify the information is really coming out of the country is actually even true. Because there’s really lack of internet at that time. And on top of that, it was not just accessible for the normal people. So, either, international organizations, or some very bigger corporates only actually had access to the internet, of course, time is changing now. And that’s actually significantly improved. About reaching the 100%, Internet access to individual ordinary people, like we can’t really achieve the universal goal to bring people together and make them prosperous.
Sandi Bitenc: 27:39
Yeah, it’s really important that we get the internet also, not only in schools, but also outside of the schools. And what we’ve seen right now it’s actually happening at the schools that we provided the Internet to in the rural areas is that the children are actually gathering around the school, after school hours, because they have the internet connection there with Wi-Fi, and Markos, have you seen something like that in Addis also in places where public Wi-Fi is potentially available?
Markos Lemma: 28:15
Yeah, this is normal. Actually, you can see even a lot of places where there is a hotel, just people like standing around the hotel just to access internet. And, I mean, we’re talking about the most urbanized parts of the country. When you have a public Wi Fi, there’s like a lot of access, but that will actually indicate that there is a lot of need, but at the same time the public Wi-Fi is not widely available, as well. So, when the Internet is very open, usually it’s very poor quality, or it’s actually like protected. So, it’s a little bit difficult. But you can see that’s kind of collection of people coming into a place where everyone trying to access internet for a shorter period of time standing or sitting there. I think it’s very common in many parts. Yeah, so Sandi that’s quite common. I think in most places, in fact, that have I’ve noticed.
Anita Mlakar: 29:30
There are lot of challenges of this field. Absolutely. But it is good that 3air also iceaddis both of you, both of us. We are doing something about it, about connectivity, and the importance in order to achieve that connectivity. Of course, it’s also school mapping. Just you mentioned it already, Markos. So how important is it and what does it bring?
Markos Lemma: 29:59
Yeah. If you talk about skill mapping, it’s always overlooked. I mean, in general, like any kind of mapping is actually overlooked. But it’s actually really the basic because mapping will give us a very basic idea about what kind of resources is needed. And also, it’s kind of an idea all sorts of track progresses. So, I think for at least, if we talk about connectivity in the school, the educational ecosystem, the first step is to map where are the schools in the country, which are actually operational, which ones have access to basic tools like internet, which don’t have. All this information is very important, because at the end, to really put resources to really bring in fundings or whatever is needed for the school. That’s very important. So at least like what we have done so far, is like to map schools in Ethiopia in a very close partnership with the Ministry of Education. I mean, that’s the first step to kind of giving access to what’s really needed, how far things are, what, what kind of setup you need within the school environment, or actually, like, between the schools as well. And also, to really see where are the areas we’re actually there’s a lot of, even the schools are missing,
So, it’s not really limited to only connectivity as well. It bring a lot of other opportunities in mapping schools. And, I mean, thankfully, we have the right kind of partner for that, because the ministry is mandated to do this activity, they have actually quite knowledgeable in many of these aspects. There is a little bit of lack of data sources. The data is kind of like going a little bit more where the schools are. But where are the areas where there is no schools? If you for instance, like us, matrix like, can we actually find area where there’s like seven-kilometer radius where there are no schools, this kind of data is not actually available, even with within the current mapping. So, there’s still there’s a little bit of more work to do in terms of mapping.
So, there’s a huge opportunity to do that. Tools, map box actually kind of helping us to visualize and put together these activities. This information will eventually be publicly accessible, especially for Ethiopian audience, for Ethiopian startups to look at that data. Also, it’s a way of transparency as well, it creates a lot of transparency, this kind of mapping to see, where are the smallest concentration of schools are where we need to concentrate now in terms of providing resources. So, it’s quite huge opportunity with mapping.
Anita Mlakar: 33:58
Sandi, maybe to get you involved in this discussion, 3air is really aware of that problem school connectivity. And also, where how important the mapping is, doing a project that it’s going on right now. Would you tell us a little more about that?
Sandi Bitenc: 34:18
So, we’re not doing work on mapping, we helped out just a bit with some graphics and something like that. But we for sure, use the data to select schools from our side that we can connect that are in our range. And there is actually a really nice graphical representation. If you go to app.3air.io. You’ll see the connectivity map and we have there all the schools that have been mapped out in Sierra Leone and we have also put up our towers where they are and all our access points. So that coverage is seen. So, there is a lot of schools that still need connectivity even within our reach. So, we’ve set up the NTS, the Connectivity NTS. And we’re now slowly adding, school by school that we can connect. And they will be available on an ongoing basis. So, if you want to do something good, I think giving some future to the children with giving their school a connectivity is going to be an amazing gift, maybe even a new year’s Christmas gift.
Anita Mlakar: 35:39
Yes, indeed. We are, of course, talking about NFT connectivity feature. And we were also introducing that feature last time, Sandi also showing how people can participate, what they can do. Markos how important is that for schools, getting connectivity, even for a while, that way?
Markos Lemma: 36:18
Yeah, so, actually, I’m not very familiar with the activities in Sierra Leone, to be honest. But I think the end goal is what’s really important because especially for school connectivity, we need to think about, of course, the first one is access, right? I mean, this is what Sandi mentioned Sierra Leone. This has already been there and connected, I think this is the first step but to maintain it and then to continue providing the services like there is a lot of other services needs to be provided. I think for a lot of people who are especially in the Web3 ecosystem, I think we know that NFT is actually providing a kind of a unique opportunity for that. And it’s also will create the continuous value, right? Because the Web is already integrated into the activity. So, we don’t need to like for instance, raise additional funding schemes and so on, afterwards, this could be channeled through the same platform, I think that would be the advantages. I think even in a short period of time to providing services, and then also to maintain the continuous internet connectivity, I think a lot of work is needed, obviously from everyone.
Anita Mlakar: 38:06
We have a question from Richard- Are you as iceaddis working on the mapping? Or is that a government project?
Markos Lemma: 38:14
So yeah, thank you, Richard. In Ethiopia, the Ministry of Education is doing the initial mapping. So they know, for instance, where the schools are by default, so there is a lot of data points actually coming in. So, we need to create that layer of mapping and verifying the data, so that we can actually have a very good visualization as well. And then that will also be used for open source for whoever wants to support any activities around the schools can actually get access to those data points that will actually will be done by iceaddis fact in partnership with other partners so far. we’ve been working with like Map box they’ve been really supporting, we didn’t pay them. So they are providing this with their support and definitely now with this partnership, we’re going to continue mapping and verifying a lot of this data. So this is going to be the main aspect and also support for the ministry, as well. There are actually other important partners actually multinational partners also going to involve but this is not yet finalized. That’s why I didn’t mention them. But there are like big players will also engage in these activities in the future as well.
Anita Mlakar: 39:48
Okay. Markos, is there a goal, let’s say in percentage, maybe how many schools should be connected, let’s say in five years period or 10 years?
Markos Lemma: 40:06
Yeah, basically the aim is to connect 3500 secondary schools. So, we’re talking about 4 million total number of students to get there. Currently, I think if I’m not mistaken, there are from 14 to 20 million students out there, with around +40,000 schools around the country. So at least we can actually really create the first step of mapping 3500 and then reach for the +40,000 schools, eventually to have all the schools represented the 20 plus million students in Ethiopia. So that’s the idea.
Anita Mlakar: 40:56
Nice. Richard is also asking- Does the Ethiopian government also give you a yearly budget for data access to schools?
Markos Lemma: 41:05
In a way that’s the mandate of the ministry to support. Ethiopia is actually one of the very few countries, I would say in the emerging markets that committed to 20% of the total GDP will be in educational sector. So, there is a very serious investment is happening from the Ethiopian government. And I don’t believe that there are many countries who can spend the 20% of their budget is going for education. But in Ethiopia, it has been very consistently, the Ethiopian government managed to achieve that. So, in that regard there is already a created mandate, in supporting that. The Ministry of Education looking at all across education, like the primary school preschool, and the high school, but also in higher education institutions or universities, they’re actually all under with the Ministry of Education, and then they are putting together different resources and different support organizations to come together. So, if you want to do anything related with education, it will channel through that but yearly budget, availability and all that financial stuff, it’s all like coming in from different partnerships. So it’s not always necessarily coming from the part of the general budget, but also other support organization like the World Bank, or other development partners, they actually also contributed to that, because the access is kind of the top priority in that planning. So, it’s a kind of collective effort, I will say, but everything is mandated to the Minister of Education.
Anita Mlakar: 43:06
Sandi, do we maybe have already some information, how interested are really people to be a part of this project or wanting to help in that way get involved.
Sandi Bitenc: 43:22
So, whenever I speak personally, to anyone, and I also would say that anyone who is on the call, is probably interested in something like that. We just need to get more traction, we need to get the word out to the greater communities, more people need to learn about it. There is for sure interest in that I can attest to, as I said, whoever I speak to, we always get good feedback, and everyone is supporting us and now we are getting some bigger projects actually supporting us and recognizing what we’re doing. But it’s not easy. It takes time. It really takes time. And you need to speak multiple times to the same person that things really start moving. And I hope that we are now at that point that things are really going to start moving.
Anita Mlakar: 44:25
Yes, we’ll be doing that also in the future also with Markos. Markos, if anyone is interested, how could they reach you? How could they find you? Where can they find you?
Markos Lemma: 44:41
On the cloud, I guess. You can find iceaddis, our information on Twitter we are very active, but also like in Telegram and other all social media. So, I’ll be very happy to connect and answer your question, when it comes to the school connectivity, I think especially this specific project, because going to be open source, we’re going to post about this in the future. So that would be easier. But also, we have other activities that we work with supporting Web3 startups as well. And running various startup, development programmes in many countries in Africa. So yeah, please get in touch. And I’ll be very happy to answer your questions. So, if, if you follow us on Twitter, #iceaddis or another social media you can find us.
Anita Mlakar: 45:48
Thank you very much, Markos, for being with us today. And of course, continue the good work, I’m sure we’ll be hearing from you in a while also with what is new, and what is going on, working at this project together. And thank you very much for giving us your time.
Markos Lemma: 46:06
Thank you very much for having me again, looking forward for next one.
Anita Mlakar: 46:11
Sandi Bitenc: 46:12
Anita Mlakar: 46:16
Okay, Sandi, we have also some other things to discuss, we were talking about. We are so used to that, your market update. What is going on, what was going on in the last week when we didn’t see each other. Is it good? Better?
Sandi Bitenc: 46:36
No, it doesn’t look better, to be honest. But I also don’t have all the relevant information, actually. So, I haven’t been following it closely. To be honest, that just didn’t have the time. But as we can see, the markets are not recovering, they’re going in the wrong direction. So, it’s still a lot of the FTX contagion that’s going on. Some companies are having trouble because some liquidity issues that were realigned either they lost money on the FTX Exchange, or kind of involved with any projects that are having trouble because of that.
So, for instance, I spoken to quite a lot of VCs recently. And a lot of them were investing in the same project as Alameda Research did, and Alameda Research, they have been investing, usually with FTT token. So, with their own token and that token just crashed all together. So now the projects that had the majority of funding from Alameda Research actually are missing that majority of the funding, and the other VCs, the capital that they still have will probably get deployed towards those projects to just get them out of the liquidity crunch. Else, those projects cannot do their work and the investment from their side that they did already is actually gone all together. So right now, it’s really hard to get any new investments in the crypto space.
The general VCs that are not crypto focus, they pulled out also and they’re just waiting for what’s going to happen. And it’s probably going to take at least half a year until we see some deployments there again. So, I guess we will have a quite a long winter ahead of us. This doesn’t mean that we cannot maybe have some potential upside and some small, short rallies, but I don’t think that we’ll be seeing all-time highs really soon. So yeah, I would just say it’s time to really prepare that we either might go a bit lower, or we will stay in this range for quite some time. Let’s see what December can do. But December has its own problems. So usually, November and December are the good months. But I think there is some selling predicted for the beginning of December. And then usually by the end of December, when the holidays hit the volumes come down and when the volumes come down usually, we see a lower price also because of that.
Let’s see, we are going into the December rate hikes. So, I don’t know exactly know when they are, but they’re coming up soon. And the market right now, pricing in around 50%. So, 50 basis points to be the next rate hike. So, you’ll see 50 basis points may be a small rally as do if it’s going to be less than we might see a really nice push up. But if we see 75 its going to probably come down a bit more. And let’s just see what’s happening with how the thing with FTX evolves, we’ve seen there were some problems with Genesis Lending, and potentially also Gemini Exchange, that is a highly regulated really big exchange also in from the US. Hopefully, that will be okay.
There was some fud going around with GBTC. So, Greyscale and Grayscale is actually the biggest holder of Bitcoin altogether. So, there was a lot of people scared that there might be something wrong because people were asking them to provide some proof of their reserves from their Bitcoin holdings. Because the GBTC is right now trading at a more than 40% discount on the BTC price. So, they were all thinking there was something going wrong there. Else it would be arbitrage already. So, they didn’t provide that. This had quite a lot of people scared, but they were just saying they cannot provide it, everything’s good. They cannot provide it because of security reasons. We’ve heard that a lot of times this year, but then also Coinbase came out and Coinbase confirmed that they do have that holding and that everything’s fine. So I guess now also Coinbase that is not affected or not involved so much with Greyscale confirming this and also being really regulated. I think they are telling the truth. So at least on that side, we are safe. But else nothing really that I would say like amazingly good news coming out right now. So, let’s see, we need to sit down and wait and just wait it out. It will come back at one point. It just hard to say when.
Anita Mlakar: 52:43
Okay, so we will have let’s say cloudy winter with a lot of snow, but eventually there will be some sun coming through. You know, giving us some warm and positive thinking. I’m sure that it will also go up. Sandi, talking before that about everything that is going on also Sierra Leone. I did invite people today, in I think in a Telegram group to ask questions for today. And Swen did have a question. And he’s saying- Are there actually images of broadband maps that have already been installed? We don’t actually see any of the hard work on the land itself pictures or videos or something.
Sandi Bitenc: 53:33
Yeah, there were, and we were posting them within the Telegram group already in the past so there are quite a lot there are some videos there we could potentially repost them again it but it’s not a telecom in a sense where you have those mass all around, we need actually two to cover the whole city. That’s the magic of our technology because we have such a wide range. We’ve also put some images when we were connecting the schools and so on so there was some work seen but yes, there are for sure. There are images and videos.
Anita Mlakar: 54:17
Yes, people really like, as we can see, they like when we post pictures and videos from events or from the field or wherever. So, okay, we will be doing that also in the future. Sandi, what is ahead of you and the days that are coming?
Sandi Bitenc: 54:36
Well, right now I’m running to another meeting and tomorrow, a few meetings and then I pack and during the night I’m already flying to Miami. It’s a 16-hour flight, I guess so it’s gonna be a long one. And then DCENTRAL starts in Miami, so we’ll be present there a bit, networking a bit and then there’s the Art Basel so we’ll also be there and then I fly back I think on the 6th of December and on the 8th of December there’s the event in Egypt starts so RiseUp Egypt or speaker also so this is going to be still a few events and some travelling before the Christmas holidays. And let’s see what comes afterwards. I still don’t know.
Anita Mlakar: 55:46
You will enjoy Christmas holidays though. Right?
Sandi Bitenc: 55:50
I think I will. Yeah, let’s see I need to find a bit of time to relax a bit. I’m really tired today. I haven’t been sleeping enough. Malta is and all those crypto conferences, they were during the day, there is the conference, so you need to be there. And if you’re exhibiting it’s 9am You need to be there. And then it goes into night and usually the after events are the best ones to network and to connect. So, then you always have a lack of sleep and now with a lot of flying. Yeah, I need to get some proper sleep.
Anita Mlakar: 56:32
Okay, so we are letting you go right now I know that you have another meeting but after that you should get some sleep to rest, to gather some power. And of course, to continue the good work. Sandi, thank you very much for being with us today.
Sandi Bitenc: 56:47
Anita Mlakar: 56:47
Enjoy your stay at Dubai, for these couple of days. And of course, then a safe flight to Miami. And please do let us know what is happening there. Send some pictures, videos and write something if you have enough time. Okay.
Sandi Bitenc: 57:06
Anita Mlakar: 57:10
Have a great time. Thank you, everybody for being with us today. And we’ll be here next week on Wednesday. Bye.