Table Of Contents
This is a transcript from our weekly YouTube live AMA:
SPEAKERS: Anita Mlakar and Sandi Bitenc.
About AMA: On this AMA, we are giving you our product development update and Q&A.
AMA Duration: 37:32
Anita Mlakar: 00:24
Hello, everybody and welcome to 3air’s AMA. It has been a long 14 days, I must say I have missed you. I hope you have missed us at least live. Because I see that you are very active in our channels, in our communities, on Discord, on Telegram and on Twitter and thank you for that. Thank you for having chat with us. Thank you for asking questions. But also, this is a great opportunity to ask questions because this is what AMA is for. So do use the comment section, write questions. Sandi Bitenc, the CEO of 3air will be with us in a couple of seconds. And we also have a special guest coming up. So, looking forward to that.
My name is Anita Mlakar, by the way, I am the host of these AMAs. And I really enjoy working with the team. And we have or at least they tell me every time when I go live to do a special introduction of the project, of 3air and this is what I’m going to do in the next couple of seconds.
So, connect Africa cities with a fast and stable internet connection and become the first fully decentralized telecom platform in the world is the goal of 3air. What are we doing? We are connecting the unconnected, once people have internet connection, we can provide them with digital identities then we can bank the unbanked. We are giving them a wallet all through blockchain. The next step is providing financial services we have Fiat boarding and off boarding ramp, peer to peer cash crypt onboarding, DeFi. We are working on micro loans and yield farming. Our outside partners will provide additional digital revenue streams and once we put people through all those steps that are connected, they are banked and they are empowered. And also, all this time we are educating people and that is the real empowerment, we are doing that through our channels. And also of course through this AMA. Our plans are getting bigger and bigger. Let me welcome our guest today. Sandi Bitenc is with us. As always Sandi Bitenc, CEO of 3air.
Anita Mlakar: 02:37
Sandi Bitenc: 02:40
Hello, Anita. You’re again breaking up.
Anita Mlakar: 02:45
Oh my god. I’m gonna do it again. From the beginning. I’m just kidding. I’m sorry that I’m breaking up.
Sandi Bitenc: 02:56
I think you’re speaking too fast and then the computer just gets confused.
Anita Mlakar: 03:00
Okay, I will slow down.
Sandi Bitenc: 03:03
I think the deepfakes aren’t working so well yet.
Anita Mlakar: 03:06
Okay, now Leon is writing to us that now that we are both here, we are okay, maybe it’s because I’m too fast. Maybe it’s because I’m alone.
Sandi Bitenc: 03:18
I think we have a guest that might know why that is.
Anita Mlakar: 03:23
Yes. Looking forward to saying hello to Rok Mihailović Krpan.
Rok Mihailović Krpan: 03:27
Anita Mlakar: 03:29
Rok Mihailović Krpan: 03:31
Anita Mlakar: 03:32
We are not breaking up now so that’s great. We hadn’t had you here for some time and we’re really happy that you’re with us. How are you?
Rok Mihailović Krpan: 03:48
Fine. Waiting for warmer weather.
Sandi Bitenc: 03:52
Or you can come over to my place.
Anita Mlakar: 03:57
Okay, Sandi is in Bangkok so yeah, I’m sure you have better weather.
Rok Mihailović Krpan: 04:02
It doesn’t think it’s ever cold there.
Sandi Bitenc: 04:05
No, not really.
Anita Mlakar: 04:08
So, in Slovenia, we are like around 0 or go minus now in then. It’s winter. Rok you are here with us because you will be giving us some updates on development and product development and also to answer some questions. You are of course in a hurry; you have to be at another place in let’s say 10 minutes. So, let’s use you while you’re here. Will you give us some information, give us some product update please?
Rok Mihailović Krpan: 04:43
Okay, so I think I should start with one of the questions that popped up is about the SKALE. So, I was in the AMA or when I was last explaining it. There were some problems with their chain. We couldn’t like do everything. I mean, you If somebody wants technical details, it was about actually capturing their event because they didn’t fully comply with the Ethereum specifications. I think last week or something like this, we got information from them that they are progressing, they are doing update. So, we are following up on that if that part is fixed, so like we can move forward with their integration and check if everything works with them. So, this is part of that, then… I don’t know, Sandi, if you will later talk about the BUSD scenario, or should I start with it?
Sandi Bitenc: 05:39
Yeah, that was also a question. So that we don’t take time away from you, I’ll explain if somebody does know what actually happened with the BUSD and Paxos, but we will be changing, away from BUSD. So as the stable point, of course, and you can then talk a bit more about what this means technically, and then later when you’re gone. I’ll talk a bit more about that in the details.
Rok Mihailović Krpan: 06:20
Okay. So, like, technically, we are not kind of affected by it really because we like design the market with multiple currencies and everything in mind. So, while the market is like mostly exposed part of the ecosystem, now, like we can change the currency side, so what we are going to do is we can disable the BUSD part of it, so to not allow to do it anymore, and then change the main buying currency to the basically the currency of our choice, we can choose the other stable coin, or we can also add some other currencies. So, to take away part of that.
Sandi Bitenc: 06:58
Nothing really critical, right? We need some redeployments of smart contracts or even that’s not needed.
Rok Mihailović Krpan: 07:06
I even checked it. So, we don’t even need to do that because we can just remove the BUSD as the payment, add another stable coin, replace it. It’s not that much work to do. We can fix it.
Sandi Bitenc: 07:20
Rok Mihailović Krpan: 07:21
So, on the other part in regards to development, to make it fast, we are working mostly on development of the ecosystem and mesh networking, Wi Fi, this part of solution. So, what we did? We did some testing on the radios for the authentication, because it’s kind of the first part that actually needs to be done to get the users online. Because you can’t really connect to the Wi Fi, you can’t really connect to it until we have the radios and the authentication ready. So, this was kind of the first part to get the service up and running, get the connections up and running like middleware service up and running with the connection to the chain.
So, the next part of the testing is then us finishing our lab testing of equipment. Like everybody knows that like lab testing is actually the simple part. Like in the lab, you can just connect everything together, connect to it and say it works because of course it works if you’re few meters away from the equipment. So, we are finishing the lab testing, and we are moving forward to the on-ground testing, which brings another set of challenges. So, once we move to the actual on ground testing way to find out those outdoors sports to test it and have the right conditions to test it, we have to account for all the latency that this will introduce account for the network conditions in it because once we are out on the ground, there you have the net address translations from the network you have. As I said, the latency, you need verification to be fast enough. You need it on the Wi Fi to actually move between the hotspots. You need to Wi Fi roaming enabled, you need central controllers for that. Some vendors support them, some vendors don’t like we want to be independent from the vendors as much as possible. So, this takes another time.
There is also a proof-of-concept thing that we want to test out because like everybody is used captive pages. So, when you go to the hotel you usually get the login page and you need to enter your username and password and then you get into the internet and everybody doesn’t want this anymore. And everybody’s full of that. So, what we have an option to do, which we need to test to make a proof of concept of is the actual authentication through the wallet or though the app. So, once you connect to the Wi Fi you don’t get this nasty page with username and password. But you basically could open the 3air app and like sign a message with your wallet and this would be it. Because everything is connected to this part on the chain. So, this should be quite easy.
Sandi Bitenc: 10:13
It’s funny sometimes where you come into issues, right? So just removing a login and password for something can prove in the end to be a big challenge.
Rok Mihailović Krpan: 10:27
Yeah, most people say okay, it’s just the login and password. But the problem when you get the whole telecom and networking equipment is this is a really specific market, you don’t have the freedom to develop something on your own just like that. Because every vendor has its own controllers, they have their own protocols, they don’t want other vendors in your network, they’ll just want it exactly like they want it. So, changing anything there is like, yeah, we are just changing and login page and it takes hell lot of time to actually do it.
Sandi Bitenc: 11:04
It’s compatibility issues.
Rok Mihailović Krpan: 11:07
Yeah, if anybody is working in the networking or telecom sector, they will probably find themselves here and just laugh at it. This was the very quick update of few of the points. I think I should mention.
Anita Mlakar: 11:30
Okay. There are just a couple of questions also for you here in the comment section, which you did answer some through what you just told us. The questions are, is some of the developed product already tested/used by K3? What are the main challenges for the development? And how many people are working on the development team? If there is something you would like to add to this?
Rok Mihailović Krpan: 11:57
Yeah. So in regards to the product testes/used by K3, like, everything, with K3 we have the testing grounds, we have the connections with them. So of course, this is the part where we can actually test some of the parts. I’m not really sure how much I can say about what are their internals of the system. But of course, we already on one AMA covered our TV system. On one AMA, we already covered the Telecom Management Solutions that we are integrating. These are the things, we integrate every part with them, we tested with them. So, this is one part and in regards to the development, we currently have eight people on the team working on it. So, I hope Richard, I answered your question.
Anita Mlakar: 12:47
Yes, Richard was asking all those questions about the challenges also, if there are any. I think you covered already.
Rok Mihailović Krpan: 12:57
Yeah, maybe one challenge that not a lot of people know about is the chain part. You can’t really test all the functionality of the public chains. You have public chains, which you don’t want to use because they cost money. You have the Public Test nets, which do most people sound okay. But once you get into technical parts, you can’t really test on them. You need to realize versus you need the real connections, I don’t know, if you want to test integrations with the swaps, you need the real swaps. So, what we actually do in development, like, which is a challenge, and you need to think of it carefully, we usually set up our own private chain in the company. So, we have in-house-chain. So, what we actually do is we take a copy of the whole public main net, which if we count BSC on which we are now the BSC archive know this around, I think six or seven terabytes of data. So, we periodically do the whole snapshots of the public chain and then like start the fork on our own system, and then develop here, so this is usually a challenge that we come to like every few weeks.
Sandi Bitenc: 14:08
Then Rok just resets the chain and then we’re all lost- “What the hell happened right now?”
Rok Mihailović Krpan: 14:15
Yeah, because everything is gone and I say okay, we did the testing part. We want to start from the fresh, remove everything and you’d also need to reset the wallets and reset all the servers.
Sandi Bitenc: 14:26
What is really nice is that you can get a few billions of stable coins in your wallet.
Rok Mihailović Krpan: 14:35
Yeah, of course. So, you have one command, you enter it. We already build the whole scripts of it, like all scripts to get BUSDs, to get other currencies, to get 3air to take things out. We can imitate accounts, we have scripts on everything, we have one chain, it’s called it’s called Anvil Forum Foundry, which actually allows you to unlock some parts. If we have a new chain let’s press a button. Okay. You have 20 billion on the account so have fun.
Sandi Bitenc: 15:01
That’s fun. I wish those were real, that would be nice. There was also a really interesting story. When we were first thinking that node, right, how long did it take for the nodes to actually fully sync?
Rok Mihailović Krpan: 15:21
For the first time, it was a half and a bit more than two months. And now it has grown from that time. So, the last time we had to think it was four and a half months. So, it’s really nice when you need to do it from the start.
Sandi Bitenc: 15:39
It’s only manageable four months to sync a full node.
Rok Mihailović Krpan: 15:44
You can’t do it faster. I mean, it’s on an internal server with server type CPU, it has 128 cores, it has 256 gigs of RAM, and it has like NVME disks in it. It’s not a small server, it’s the most you can get. So, I need to go now, I am already in hurry.
Anita Mlakar: 16:12
Rok, thank you very much for taking time. We did use the opportunity, just to ask you all the questions that we had and please do come back again. Because as you can see, there are a lot of questions for you every time.
Rok Mihailović Krpan: 16:22
Yeah, I’ll write them down from time to time. So, until next time.
Anita Mlakar: 16:28
Okay, have a great day. The rest of the day. Bye. Thank you for being here.
Rok Mihailović Krpan: 16:33
Thank you. Bye.
Rok Mihailović Krpan: 16:34
Sandi Bitenc: 16:35
Anita Mlakar: 16:38
Okay, Sandi it’s just us again and it’s very important to have you here because you’re the one answering the questions and of course giving us the update. Sandi, we have to touch the subject because we have talked about it last time, we were together. It was about the update or the roadmap. And where are we heading? Where are we going? You did promise something to say about it this week. Where are we right now?
Sandi Bitenc: 17:08
So, the new deck is right now in design. It’s already have designed. I have on Friday, the first pitch so yeah, the roadmap kind of looks okay, right now. So, I think we’ll be able to publish this at the end of this week, beginning of next week. So, it’s coming soon.
Anita Mlakar: 17:32
That is good news Sandi.
Sandi Bitenc: 17:35
Yes, I do think it is.
Anita Mlakar: 17:37
Will you give us a little market update because we’re used to that now and just tell us what is going on?
Sandi Bitenc: 17:45
It’s so difficult right now, one of the things’ needed mentioning is really the BUSD thing. So, what actually happened is that the SEC sent a letter to Paxos. Paxos is the company a new earth-based company that is issuing BUSD And it’s issuing it on the Ethereum blockchain and then it’s being used by Binance and actually breached over to the by Nance Mar chain and it’s kind of considered Binance stable coin and I really like USD because it’s one of the rare stable coins that is not controllable. So, it cannot be frozen and so on. I think it’s a no it’s done the way it should be done so that everyone can custody it themselves and doesn’t need to worry for anyone to freeze it in their wallet. And also, it’s apparently backed one to one and I’m and I’m quite sure that it is kind of backed one to one with US dollars. So that’s why it was our choice when we when we used it, but the SEC just went after Paxos and they are now they’ll probably go and sue them for issuing unregistered securities.
So, stocks for instance our security so it’s an asset that that’s been kind of sold or bought in connection to generating a profit. You buy something because you’re expected to generate your profit. The main thing how to actually know if something is a security is the Howey Test. And I don’t think, you know, a stable coin is a stable coin. It’s pegged one to one to the US dollar, you don’t go and buy a stable coin to make profit, right? In that sense you might invest, you know, you might buy something else with a stable coin that you think about creating a profit. Stable coins by themselves should not be securities, I don’t see them in any way how they could be securities and the SEC and Gary Gensler, he was asked about it a few times, but he didn’t come out with really some clear guidelines.
This is also why we are right now going away from BUSD because Paxos in response to the SEC threatening to sue them, has said that they’ll stop issuing it. So, for now, on February 21, they will stop minting it. So, there will be no more issuance of BUSD and they said that the redeeming process will still be going on for at least one year but it can also happen that if they really get a lawsuit, just because of that lawsuit, they will need to stop BUSD altogether. Then that can be a big problem.
So, this is why we said that we will not be supporting BUSD anymore. It doesn’t make sense. Its market cap will reduce slowly. I don’t think it will really depack until the redeems are there, I think it will not depack. But it doesn’t have a bright future. At least it doesn’t seem like this. So that’s why we are removing BUSD and what’s happening on that front. But all in all, in regards to market. This is one of the things that’s happening right now and the crypto community is actually calling this Operation Choke Point 2.0. So, what the US government right now is trying to do is get cut the whole financial system away from crypto, so kind of big events after banks. And a lot of banks that are banking bigger crypto projects before have stopped that. The banks that have had connections with crypto got downgraded. So, there is a lot of stuff happening there. We also saw that in previous week, the SEC went after Kraken after their staking. So, Kraken didn’t want to go into a lawsuit. So, they settled for $30 million and they removed all staking from their platform. So, it’s a lot of stuff going on. I’m pretty surprised that crypto is holding so well in light of this.
Also, yesterday we had the CPI numbers coming out and they weren’t really brilliant. So, they were actually not meeting the expectations. And regardless, the markets went up so it’s really interesting. The markets now look really strong. If it was like just a few months or one month or two months ago, with every bad news, there was like a huge drop. And with any good news, there was no positive impact on the market. It’s now like the other way around. So, we have really bad news going on. And the markets don’t really budge and they tend to kind of pump on any small thing. So, in that sense, it looks really good. I like that but we’re for sure not out of the waters and it looks like that there will be a lot more stuff happening and going on, in regards to regulation. Hopefully, things will move a bit faster and there will come some regulation and some regulative clarity that could happen by the end of the year. And even if it’s not really perfect if we have at least some regulations in place, then the SEC can just not go after anything they want and just claim everything as a security and Sue everything and really wreak havoc. I would rather have bad regulation than no regulation but hopefully we’ll get some good regulation.
Also, the UK has come out with some good proposals for some pretty nice regulation and it doesn’t look like that everyone is following what the US is doing. There are good things, there are bad things I’m pretty sure crypto will make it in the end and let’s see what happens but I think 2023 will be quite bumpy. We’re also expecting still I do expect that there will be a small recession. I don’t think it’s going to be really huge and also the numbers are getting back better and better. I’m quite a bit concerned that there is a record high yield curve inversion never in history has been so highs and every up until now every yield curve inversion what has been followed by recession. Let’s see, maybe this time is different but there are always the words that you never say in investing. They’re really dangerous.
Anita Mlakar: 26:35
Okay. Sandi, thank you for this market update. Let’s say that the Bull has not beat the bear yet but it is certainly going that way. Let’s hope it happens. But there are still some questions. Miran is asking, regarding to that, are you going to replace BUSD for some other stable coin on your portal?
Sandi Bitenc: 26:57
Yes, we will. We just didn’t decide yet exactly what we’ll use. There is ZOOM. I’m not a fan of USDC. USDC has in the past already blocked a lot of wallets. I don’t want to support USDC if it’s only really necessary that it’s the only one left, then I would rather go to USDT. Let’s see what just happens, right? BUSD could be just the first one. Maybe, they’re preparing something for USDC or USDT. The thing is USDT is not under US jurisdiction per se, because they’re actually offshore. The thing is that they could go after USDT just because of their US dollar backings and also some companies that are kind of holding US dollars for USDT. They could go after them. So, there’s still an angle of attack possible and there is nothing to rule out in what the SEC is doing right now. It is just crazy. It’s really crazy. So, I’m not ruling anything out.
So also, USDT right now is a really good choice than what do you have some options of decentralized stable coins, something like Frax or DIE, but DIE is also collateralized actually with USDC and USDT. It’s also not the best choice. So, we are doing our research, maybe we’ll find something else. I would really love to have a good algorithmic stable coin. But in the past, every one of those has just depacked and the biggest one was actually Luna that happened last year and crashed the whole crypto market at that point in time. Yeah, DJED is also one that is interesting. But it’s not on BSC chain yet. At least I don’t think it is. But it is something that’s of interest over collateralized. Yes. But also, it’s not collateralized with a stable coin. If there is a really bad bear market, it can become also under collateralized, right? If the underlying assets just fall below and if DJED grows and grows and demand grows. We need to see so just jumping on a new stable coin also isn’t the best thing right now, I guess. But let’s see. We are doing our research.
Anita Mlakar: 29:59
Are you going to deploy on Tendermint like World Mobile does? is a question from Jo Ga.
Sandi Bitenc: 30:06
No. If we’ll be doing our own chain, I don’t think it’s going to be Tendermint. It’s not really my topic. So that would be more a question for Rok but I don’t think that we’ll be using Tendermint.
Anita Mlakar: 30:33
Okay, Tell us a bit about the BKK Pitch.
Sandi Bitenc: 30:40
So, I posted a picture in Telegram. So, it’s gonna be a Pitch in front of a few bigger VCs. So, we didn’t have a lot of contexts here with the VCs from the Asian region. So, I do hope that will spark some interest here. And it’s going to be for the new roadmap and that one will be revealed in a few days.
Anita Mlakar: 31:13
Okay, a question from our Telegram channel. Any partnerships happening in Thailand?
Sandi Bitenc: 31:20
So, no real partnerships right now, the event hasn’t started yet. But I’ll for sure be meeting some new people, some new projects. I’ve been meeting here with some of new team members that will join the team if we get the new roadmap funded. And they will be quite high level. So, some really cool people coming from potentially some other high-level projects and jumping over to 3air if we get the funding needed for the new roadmap.
Anita Mlakar: 32:03
Okay, Sandi, we did to give some updates and also answered some questions. And we are looking forward to what will be happening at the end of the week. Of course, getting more information about the new roadmap, is there something else that we should talk about today? add something?
Sandi Bitenc: 32:23
Nothing really special from my side. I really hope that this thing takes off. And I think when you hear it, you’ll like what we are trying to right now. So unfortunately, the current 3air roadmap is delayed. It’s just delayed, because DRC is just not progressing as we thought and hoped it will. So, we’re just pulling up front some of the other things that are not connected directly to expanding throughout Africa. This is where we’ll put our resources until we actually get the DRC on track. And that’s for the most part, it’s on K3 side right now that they get things there right.
Anita Mlakar: 33:30
Sandi, how long are you staying in Bangkok? And what is the next destination?
Sandi Bitenc: 33:33
I’ll be here for another week. So, if anyone is here in Bangkok, just let me know. I won’t be traveling around like, I know that there are a few of community members are in Thailand, but more on Koh Samui and on the islands. So, if anyone is in Bangkok let me know. Hopefully we meet on event or anywhere else, then afterwards, back to Dubai. Some meetings are also in Dubai, I think I’ll be in Dubai only five days, then we’re going to Egypt. But the event in Egypt is going to be postponed but I have some other things there that I need to do. So, I’m not postponing my Egypt trip. So, it’s going to be like going from Bangkok to Dubai and then to Egypt and from Egypt back to Dubai just for the AIBC. We will be on the AIBC from 13th to 16th of March. And if you have the time, I think AIBC Dubai will be probably one of the bigger events and the events to go to. So, if you had the chance, it would be nice to meet there. If anyone needs a ticket. I do think we have some tickets left, but I need to check. I’m not 100% sure. So I’ll be there from the 13th till the 16th of March on the AIBC Dubai and then just afterwards on the 16th, I need to fly back to Egypt for another event.
Anita Mlakar: 35:20
Great. Maybe I’ll get back to you for the tickets. But let’s just answer this question, because we’re here. When do you expect news from DRC? Governments?
Sandi Bitenc: 35:30
It’s so hard to say. We’re expecting it any day. We expected it in November and December already. So, it’s really hard. It’s not what I’m working on. So, we have the lobbying team that’s working on that. And apparently, there are some difficulties there. I don’t think it’s something that’s unsolvable. So, it will be solvable but it’s just Africa. I know that a lot of the community members are also coming from Cardano side and just remember when Cardona was doing the Ethiopia deal, it took them actually two years to make it happen. So, it just takes time. Africa is sometimes so unpredictable. But I do think it’s solvable.
Anita Mlakar: 36:36
Yes, of course. Sandi, thank you very much for being with us. It’s always nice to have you here to get new information. And of course, we will be back in a 14-day time on Wednesday here. Live on AMA, of course, also, with your questions and Sandi your answers, looking forward to that. And in the meantime, stay tuned. Stay a part of our channels, our communities, on Discord, on Telegram, and on Twitter and of course, do subscribe to this YouTube channel so that you will know when we are going live. Sandi, have a great time in Bangkok. Enjoy.
Sandi Bitenc: 37:16
Anita Mlakar: 37:18
Be successful, and we’ll be back in 14 days, right?
Sandi Bitenc: 37:24
Yes, absolutely. I’ll try to send some pictures from the event and the pitch.
Anita Mlakar: 37:29
Thank you for being with us and have a great day. Bye.