Table Of Contents
This is a transcript from our weekly YouTube live AMA:
SPEAKERS: Anita Mlakar and Sandi Bitenc.
AMA Duration: 37:22
Anita Mlakar: 00:20
Hello everybody, and welcome to 3air’s AMA. Anita Mlakar is my name and before we even start, before we do the short introduction of our project. Before I invite our CEO in, of course, I would like to wish you a happy and successful year 2023. Surround yourself with sincere people who are worthy of your time. And in the name of 3air I would like to thank you for your loyalty and support this past year. We are really grateful to have you as a part of our 3air family. We are looking forward for everything that is awaiting us in the new year.
Like we wrote in our new year wish, I hope you did read it. Here is to a year of new beginnings, exciting opportunities and endless possibilities. I know that this will be an awesome year. So, thank you for being with us. Before I invite Sandi in, we have a special AMA today. Actually it is a normal AMA where Sandi, our CEO will be answering your questions. I hope you do have some questions ready. Before, of course, we invite him in. I would like to do a short introduction of our project. We are doing that every time at our every AMA for the last year, and this is how it goes.
What we’re trying to do is connect Africa cities with a fast and stable internet connection and become the first fully decentralized telecom platform in the world, this is our goal, the goal of 3air. What we’re doing is connecting the unconnected and once people have an internet connection, we can provide them with the digital identities then we can of course bank the unbanked. We are giving people a wallet, and this is all happening through a blockchain.
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 deal farming. And of course, our outside partners will provide additional digital revenue streams. We are putting people through all those steps so that they would be connected, banked and empowered. Of course, all this time we’re also educating them and that is the real empowerment.
Thank you again for being with us for being a part of 3air and I think that now is the time to invite our CEO Sandi Bitenc to be with us.
Anita Mlakar: 03:04
Sandi Bitenc: 03:07
Hello, Anita. How are you? Hello, 3air family. Happy New Year!
Anita Mlakar: 03:15
Happy New Year to everybody, of course, to you too Sandi. I know that it has been a very exciting year or working year for you. I know that you are back at home right now in Dubai. I do hope that you had a good entrance in the year 2023. How was it?
Sandi Bitenc: 03:38
You mean like the entrance is like going over midnight?
Anita Mlakar: 03:43
Yes, that’s true.
Sandi Bitenc: 03:44
Yeah, that one wasn’t really the best one this year, to be honest. I had better ones. I was actually travelling over the new year, so I actually landed in Dubai. I think it was 11:42 or something like that. I went out, it was pretty fast. But when I came to my taxi, it was midnight. I didn’t see anything from the fireworks or anything like that. The ones I able to get with the taxi out of the airport, I missed all the fireworks. Even worst time to land 15-10 minutes earlier would be good or if we would land 20 minutes, we would have seen all the fireworks at the Dubai from the aeroplane from the air that would be something interesting.
Anita Mlakar: 04:49
Sandi, your arrangement wasn’t the best this time but yeah, I know.
Sandi Bitenc: 04:55
I was asking the pilot if they can deal delay the flight a bit, but he was like, “No…”, they were thinking maybe I could go and turn some bulbs off or something like that, or hack the computer system. So, we were a bit longer on ground. I could do that either so.
Anita Mlakar: 05:18
Yeah. But you have much more chance to do that every time when you go on a plane, but not at this time Sandi, maybe this was meant to be. Maybe you were supposed to be where you were you never know. But I’m happy that you’re here back with us in the year 23. And that we are continuing with this. Let’s say serial of AMAs.
Sandi Bitenc: 05:44
Yeah, either way, it’s just a moment in time, right? That isn’t so important. I think New Years are important in a way that we can maybe close down on a Chapter. Think about what happens in the previous year where we did good, or we did bad. Where we want to improve, set new goals. I think that’s the major point of the new year for myself. And that fireworks there? It’s not so important.
Anita Mlakar: 06:20
Yes, I agree. Maybe Sandi in couple of sentences. If you could just describe the year that is just over, 2022. Of course, connected with 3air, how would you describe it?
Sandi Bitenc: 06:39
Well, it’s mixed feelings. I think with 3air we did an amazing job up until now. So, all the people that I’ve met during this last year, everything that I learned in regards to running blockchain projects, and I’ve run quite a lot of businesses in my life, but there are still some new things that you learn every day. So, from that side, I would say it was amazing. And, of course, the mixed feelings come from the market situation. And that wasn’t the best. And that wasn’t really supporting us. And it still isn’t, but it also isn’t supporting any blockchain project right now. So, there are tough times. Also, for every new project, even for a lot of old projects, there are tough times right now. And it’s just pulling through. Not giving up working towards the goal. The goal is, I think it’s a really good goal. It’s a noble goal, it’s a profitable goal. And 3air, for sure has a bright future. We need not to give into the markets and that’s it. And for sure, so I did do the revision on my site. And there are a lot of things that we’ve done good. There are some things that we could have done. And for sure, we will not repeat any mistakes that we’ve made. So, from that side, just learning, taking all the knowledge into the next year and doing better. That’s my take on the previous year.
Anita Mlakar: 08:34
Yes, Richard is saying the market in 2022 was like skiing down hills. Yeah, dangerous in one way. And of course, unpredictable. Sandi, of course, I would like to invite all of you, this is the opportunity, Sandi’s here today to answer any of your questions if you have some. And this is like classical AMA, where you can of course, ask anything, there were some questions also in our community, and we will of course, ask them later. But Sandi, maybe let’s just say that you have like this golden ball, the ball of the future and you can look into it, and just wish something for the year 2023. What would that wish be?
Sandi Bitenc: 09:35
I think if the markets pick up again and start supporting us, we have everything that we need to really make 3air as a huge success. So that would be my kind of wish currently, but the blockchain space is so young. That something like that really limits what you’re doing and what you’re trying to accomplish. It just happens that the majority of the people that are in blockchain right now, either if they’re still here, they’re really heavily affected by it. And they are not at all active as they were before. And the majority just left, and they’re not interested in anything that’s happening there. There’s a lot of people that are in the blockchain space, just to make the quick buck to really take advantage of this. And this is not what business is about, actually.
Now, the majority of the businesses that are building right now, let’s say the closest what we have is actually the tech space, they would literally take 10-15, maybe even 20 years of work, and work and more work to become profitable. And here, everyone just thinks that every project needs to kind of get the profitable within a year and launch everything and so on. But no, Apple wasn’t profitable, I think, for 20 years or something like that. The Tesla wasn’t, Microsoft wasn’t. And so, there’s a lot of these things, and blockchain is a bit different, just because of all the tokens in the token economy. And if there’s a lot of interest, it can really speed those things up.
But then on one hand, you kind of try to factor that in. But then the bear market comes and then things are different. And you’re really struggling for adoption. And for sure, right now, I cannot say that we are really satisfied with the 3air adoption that we have. And this is what I would wish for. So just for the markets to kickstart, again, for the people to actually be able to learn about the blockchain technology, because the technology, it doesn’t have a lot in common with the crypto markets. The technology enables the crypto markets, but it also enables far better things. And, yeah, if people will just learn about it, it take some time, and start believing in what it can bring, then I think everyone will have a really bright future. So, this is kind of connected to 3air. And of course, my life right now is 3air still.
Then there’s also in regards to blockchain, it’s also a broader thing. Because what we’re seeing right now with the likes of World Economic Forum, and how they’re forcing some CBDCs, on us, and so on, I think that’s something that we should really be worried about. The bad kind of digital identities that are being forced on us also quite, let’s say silently, and slowly, this is something that can really limit our freedom in the future. So, I do think that blockchain offers a solution to that. Because if we wouldn’t have blockchain, I don’t know what would we be able to switch to. But because there is no other currency, but blockchain has the potential to actually become a currency, a global currency, it has the potential if the adoption is there, the technology for sure is there. So technologically, it’s possible, and it’s doable, and it’s far better. But the adoption needs to come. And I think that can be a solution for our freedoms in the future.
Anita Mlakar: 14:12
Thank you, Sandi. So, let’s just say that we should also have a little more patience that is regarding to what you said earlier, but what we had to admit Sandi is that we have built in this year and a half, a really big and beautiful family around 3air, our community, and I’m really happy that we have some people like for example, Richard, who is with us, let’s say also in this AMA. I think almost every time asking questions interested in the project, and of course there are a lot of people that feel the same way. They feel like a part of this mission and this project. So, thank you for that. And Richard is the one that has some questions. also, for today, and he said that he would like to focus on the roadmap of 2023. So, start of infrastructure building in Ethiopia? And he’s asking, can you explain the steps to make that possible?
Sandi Bitenc: 15:20
So, first of all, our roadmap did change a little bit, because of everything that went on in the last year, I don’t know if you recall, but the raise that we were actually raising, since the beginning was far greater than what we have raised during our token, pre-sales. So, we are not able to actually go and start working in all those countries. So, the first one that we are focusing on is DRC. And that is delayed because we needed to find some funding from outside of what we were doing with the 3air raise. And we did get that funding but because of this, it got delayed a bit.
DRC right now is at the stage that we are actually waiting for the final license to be given to us, and everything is actually sorted out. We’re just waiting for it but that’s Africa, sometimes you really need to wait for some time before this actually happens.
For Ethiopia, well, in Ethiopia, we have made quite big steps. But for Ethiopia, right now, we don’t have the investment funds. So, once we get the funding together, Ethiopia will be going on next. And we already hold some licenses there. But not everything. The radio planning was also done already. So, what would need to happen is we would need to go to the authorities, get everything sorted, get all the licenses that we need. Then the next step is to order the equipment and start the production and then send the team down, then we start to look for employees, and start training them. In the meantime, that the team is down there and training them, we’re also sending the equipment down and start setting that up. Once that is set up, the team is also trained that we are doing it parallel. Once that is done, we can start connecting first clients. That’s it!
Anita Mlakar: 17:55
Okay, thank you, Sandi. Now, 3air’s NFTs give people access to internet subscriptions. And Genex asked in a community, how will the usage of NFTs as subscription work?
Sandi Bitenc: 18:14
First of all, I need to say that right now, the usage of NFTs is limited just to a few schools in Sierra Leone. So, this is where we are right now. It’s in a testing phase, it’s not available to everyone. And the NFTs will be usable within the network that 3air actually support. So be either what we are building out ourselves or when we get some additional partners and it’ll also be available there.
How it will work is that you would need to buy a NFT from our marketplace as there are already the NFT is in our marketplace. So, you buy them and once you have it in your wallet, for each of your devices that has the capability to connect to our towers, you would get also a smart contract, a wallet or it’s actually going to be an NFT that you send this NFT to the device NFT. Once this NFT gets to the device NFT it’ll get activated. Once it get activated, the subscription will start running. So, we have right now daily 10 days and monthly and yearly NFT is out. So once the subscription starts running, it will just deduct the days away from the NFT. Once the subscription is over, you will need to buy a new NFT and send it again to the device but in the meantime, what you can do you can also take the NFT that’s already activated and send it somewhere else. You can sell it, you can lend it out, or you can just gift it away. Whatever device actually that holds this NFT gets the direct connectivity from our towers.
Anita Mlakar: 20:15
Okay, let’s have another question from today’s participants, Richard, how will new funding work in relation towards the 3air tokens?
Sandi Bitenc: 20:28
Well, we didn’t speak about any new funding. So, if we are looking for funding, we will still have… So, we have the option to sell some of the tokens that we did not sell to the investors before so we can still sell some OTC but what we are not doing? So 3air up until now did not sell any of their tokens. It’s just the market is not there. So that we could finance ourselves through that and any deals that will be made will also be announced and if we are doing any OTC deals, we will also lock up the tokens. So in regards to the token and to the current investors, things should not get worse, we are always taking care of that. There are also other ways of financing. We are thinking of doing some equity round or something similar. There are also some other options for financing.
Anita Mlakar: 21:39
Okay, thank you, Sandi, we have a question from Emil. Is the project similar to what World Mobile is building?
Sandi Bitenc: 21:49
I wouldn’t say, it’s similar. I also wouldn’t say it’s totally different. So, what we’re building is a solution for broadband internet and what World Mobile is building is a decentralized mobile solution for calls and mobile data. So, our focus is more or less on at least on highly populated areas where people have really bad internet, or they have really expensive internet, or they have limited data. So, we are providing high speed unlimited data, it’s kind of comparing a decentralized version of your cable to your home, or to your mobile subscription that you have on your phone. So, this is the difference. So, it is different. It’s similar, but it’s also very different. So, we’re both building a decentralized solution for connectivity. Let’s say it like in the telecom space, but we’re focused on different things. So 3air is your decentralized solution of a cable, let’s say to your home, because our technology allows us to work pretty similar to an optics cable to your home. And World Mobile is actually a solution for a mobile operator provider.
Anita Mlakar: 23:31
Okay, another question, when is the monthly update article programmed for?
Sandi Bitenc: 23:39
I don’t know, I don’t think the article was written yet. So, we need to ask Ruba about that when this one is coming out. There wasn’t a lot of things going on in December. So at first, we were still updating UI, I think in December a few times. And then the second part of December, there were only some small things being developed. So, where we were working a lot on is the new roadmap and how to actually, what to do in 2023 in the light of what’s happening right now in the market, and what we were able to build in 2022. We were now doing some changes for 2023. And thinking, let’s say short and midterm what we need to do, and the global vision, the really strategic things for a few years ahead, still stay the same. But what we’re doing is we’re shifting a bit the priorities. Let’s see, I think we still need a few weeks, maybe a couple of weeks before we can announce the new roadmap and the changes that have been made but this is actually the majority where our focus went into right now. We needed to solve some technical things. I think you’ll like it when you see it. So, this is actually coming in. I’m not I’m not promising anything, we still need to figure some things out. But it’s going to be interesting, for sure.
Anita Mlakar: 25:31
Okay, we have another question from our community. And the question is if project is still launching on SKALE blockchain?
Sandi Bitenc: 25:42
Yes, absolutely. So, we are still very much connected to SKALE and as I said a few times already, so we are ready to deploy on SKALE Chain. We can do that once they release their new version. So, they need to do an update on their blockchain, because there was a piece of data that’s missing on their side, that’s not 100% EVM. So, our solution is 100% EVM compatible. There’s a piece of information missing, that actually, we need to for us to operate. If we change this on our side, then it will stop working with the current changes that you are connected to, so we need to wait for them to actually update that. It’s also not so easy to update a blockchain because once you update the blockchain, every node actually needs to upgrade to that version of the of software, and this takes time. Every time, every blockchain actually bundles a lot of things together and then just pushes only a few updates per year, it’s usually kind of something that you would think of as a fork. So, we’re waiting for them. So, they solved that issue already, it was really a minor thing, but we are now waiting for their next update. Once that is done, we’ll also be integrating with them immediately.
Anita Mlakar: 27:24
Miran, has a question, do you already have a DID solution?
Sandi Bitenc: 27:32
Yes, the DID solution actually is functioning in a beta version but it has not been integrated yet into the system, but it is a working solution. It’s right now working, it’s a phone app, it’s working on Android, but it’s still not working on iOS and so it’s a connection so your DID is actually bound to your phone because all the data is stored there and that is functioning actually. I think I have it installed on my phone, let’s see if I can open it up. So, this is it. We actually are already testing it with some apps but it’s up so you can already scan the QR code you can issue the identities and so on so and then do the verifiable claims and then the presentable credentials and everything so it is working. We’re also presenting this to another chain that we are thinking of integrating and maybe they’ll take this solution as their primary DID solution. But our integrated system will actually come at a bit later point in time once we have everything set up and ready to push, also the NFTs live and especially once we start with the access point nodes.
Anita Mlakar: 29:46
Okay, Sandi there was some discussion in our community about why 3air is not doing a project to provide internet on a rural areas in Africa. Of course, there are also some thoughts that urban areas do have internet. But the truth is that they don’t. And this is also the reason that 3air is working on providing internet to actually urban areas. Right?
Sandi Bitenc: 30:18
So, it’s both to be honest, I do think that the rural areas are the ones that are in the most dire need of it, because the connection there is far worse. And usually there’s just like no connectivity at all. In urban areas, they have some connectivity, but it’s usually not good enough for sure, it’s not good enough. And it’s something about the just about the how many people we can reach. And we can reach far more people in the same amount of time, with less cost if we go into the urban areas first, because we have two towers, we actually cover with two towers. If we have like a 50-kilometer radius, we put up two towers, they’ll crossover a bit, you can usually with two towers cover a big city. So usually, it can be a few million people that you can cover with two towers. But once you go out into rural areas, usually one tower will just cover maybe a village or two and that’s a few 1000 people. And that might it not really economically feasible for sure. But if we want to grow exponentially, so we need to think also about how to finance ourselves, and we are financing ourselves is actually through selling our services, and to sell the majority of the services and drive the costs down, we actually need to look into urban areas first. Once we establish ourselves there, and we have a good cash flow, they’re also looking into the rural areas. Absolutely. We do want to cover rural areas.
Anita Mlakar: 32:08
Okay, Sandi, before we end this AMA, and since there are no more questions from the participants of this AMA.
Sandi Bitenc: 32:19
I think there is one more question that was on the GitHub and our last update was actually in August. And if our source code is closing, yes, so we are developing, actually on our own servers. So, we have our own GitLab are not using GitHub. We’re using GitLab since forever since years and years. And everything is there, actually. So, our developers are there. So yeah, we’re not publishing a lot on GitHub. We just published on GitHub, what really needs to be disclosed and open source and that’s the contract of the source code for the contract for the token. That’s the most important thing. There will be just the final versions of the contracts that need to be public, just for to really be trustworthy. This is what we are publishing there.
Anita Mlakar: 33:26
Okay, Sandi. So, my question was, what will be the first steps? Right now, let’s say, in the next month or two. What are the plans?
Sandi Bitenc: 33:39
So, the first plan is, as I mentioned, is to get our roadmap in order to get our priorities in order, because we do need to switch a few things around. We’re still doing the same things. We’re just pulling some stuff that is already in the white paper, we’re just building it up front. While the things in Africa are still developing, and may be getting a bit slower on that, as we expected. And we’ll start doing some other things. And you’ll understand when we present the roadmap, but there were some really good developments in the last part of 2022 that actually allows us to put foot forward a bit of the things that we wanted to do at a later stage. So, this is what the first steps are, and then of course, also getting some additional funding for that part of what we’re trying to do and yeah, that’s the first steps.
Anita Mlakar: 34:57
Okay, will we still be connecting with people also through our AMA every week?
Sandi Bitenc: 35:06
Yes, absolutely, we will. I was thinking if we should maybe do a monthly, ama or maybe bi-weekly AMAs. But the community just said, no, we should stay at the weekly. So, we’re still thinking, if we should kind of reduce it to two times per month or once per month. So, please let us know if you want us to continue doing this every week, or we should just reduce it a bit but I’m ready to do it every week. I don’t mind. I actually like this.
Anita Mlakar: 35:45
As if you don’t have everything else. But yes, it’s important, of course, to stay connected with community. And this is something that actually they said that it was maybe different from also other projects, transparency, being here every week talking to people. So yeah, thank you, of course, for being with us. And for asking all the questions here and also in the community. Please do join us. If you’re not a part of our communities yet. We are on Telegram, on Discord and on Twitter. And of course, do subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you will know when we are going live. Sandi, thank you very much for being with us today. Thank you for answering the questions. Looking forward to everything that is awaiting us in this awesome year. And I know that 3air is here for the long term and here to stay. So, thank you again.
Sandi Bitenc: 36:45
Yeah, thank you. Thank you, Anita. Thanks for being here every time and we will for sure take off last Wednesday next year. You’ll get one free Wednesday end of next December.
Anita Mlakar: 37:07
Okay, Sandi. Bye. And of course, bye to everyone who was with us today. Have a nice day, evening, morning, whatever.
Sandi Bitenc: 37:20