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 3air update and Q&A.
AMA Duration: 28:53
Anita Mlakar: 00:24
Hello guys, and welcome to 3air’s AMA, it is another 14 days around and we are here back live with you. And I have to say it’s always nice to be here with you. Thank you for being with us. This is AMA, we are going live. And this is the opportunity for you, of course to ask questions and to get the answers directly from our CEO from Sandi Bitenc, who will be with us in a couple of moments.
But first, let me invite you to of course be a part of our communities. We are on Telegram, on Twitter and on Discord. You’re welcome to join us there. There’s always conversation going on there. It’s always interesting, you can ask questions. And then we have great moderators, panelists who are of course asking questions, and you will have a possibility to answer and so the discussion is going on. You’re welcome to join us. And do subscribe to our YouTube channel. If you’re not subscribed yet so that you will get notifications whenever we are going live that is usually every 14 days.
What are we doing? What these three are doing? We are connecting Africa cities with a fast and stable internet connection and becoming the first fully decentralized telecom platform in the world. That is our goal. We are connecting the unconnected and really connecting people in Africa. There’s really bad connection of internet in Africa. And we are giving people of Africa new opportunities. And once people have internet connection, we can provide them with digital identities. Then, of course, we can bank the unbanked. We are giving them a wallet, all through a blockchain. And of course, the next step is providing financial services. We have Fiat onboarding and off boarding ramp and peer to peer cash crypt onboarding, DeFi, we’re working on micro loans and yield farming. And our outside partners will provide additional digital revenue streams.
We have also decided on focusing on 3air global, which has always been a part of the plan. So, we are trying to raise money for a global SIM card which can be used anywhere in the world. And that is what we were talking about in our last AMA. And I’m sure that this will be the discussion also of today’s AMA. So, once we connect people, once we put people through all the steps that I was mentioning, people are connected, they are banked, they are empowered, and also what we’re doing is educating people and that is the real empowerment.
Let me invite our CEO Sandi Bitenc to be a part of this AMA.
Anita Mlakar: 03:10
Hello, Sandi and welcome.
Sandi Bitenc: 03:12
Hello, Anita. Hi! How are you?
Anita Mlakar: 03:16
I’m great. Thank you. You know, the spring is outside and the mood is better as soon as the sun goes out.
Sandi Bitenc: 03:27
Are you sure? Because I heard it’s not so much spring currently.
Anita Mlakar: 03:31
Who is saying that?
Sandi Bitenc: 03:32
I heard that it’s cold again.
Anita Mlakar: 03:36
You have inside information Sandi, I cannot fool you, right? Now this is just a day or two, then again, we are going to 20 degrees and then you know raising to 30 and the summer will come in, I’m always an optimist about that.
Sandi Bitenc: 03:54
Yeah, we already have 30 and above.
Anita Mlakar: 03:56
Yeah, know. Are you in Dubai right now?
Sandi Bitenc: 04:01
Anita Mlakar: 04:02
Sandi Bitenc: 04:04
Currently at home and yeah, thankfully, I’ll be staying here now for a bit less than a month.
Anita Mlakar: 04:13
Okay. It’s your home, but you’re like, just, you know, coming there for a little while then again, going out. But I think nice to be home, right? How is the feeling?
Sandi Bitenc: 04:27
It is. It’s a bit easier to catch up on the work that you just cannot do if you’re traveling around. And I’m trying to get right now, the least amount of any meetings in and to really do the work in the background and to provide all the documentation that we’re gathering currently, this is the current step that we are on and it it’s working quite well right now. So I have been able to catch up with work a lot in the past week.
Anita Mlakar: 05:07
Okay, that’s good. I’m just looking at our conversation. And I see that there’s some discussion going on in Slovene language, if maybe you are not understanding it. We who are from Slovenia, we do understand that. So welcome. It’s great to have you on. But we will, of course, continue this discussion in English because we are going global Sandi, right?
Sandi Bitenc: 05:33
Exactly. And you put it really nicely about connecting people in Africa. And our focus, and our goal is still there. But we do have a bit of a setback, as we already mentioned in a few earlier AMAs. And that is the licensing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. While this is a bit on pause, we are really focusing and shifting all our power and resources towards really getting this global SIM card out. And it’ll just see the light a year or two earlier than, firstly, anticipated and expected. It came also together with a really good team. That’s kind of just going around and talking to people explaining a bit what the goal with 3air global was, people just started coming. And actually, we’re also working on the project. And one of the main persons that will be really responsible for a lot of stuff on 3air global is actually going to be on our next AMA.
Anita Mlakar: 06:55
Yeah, looking forward to that.
Sandi Bitenc: 06:58
Yeah, I mentioned a bit. So, there was a request on the previous AMA. And I said, yeah. But then I said, okay, let me ask him first. So, I did ask him, and we’ll have a guest on our next AMA, we’ll be talking a bit more about the 3air global. And he also coming with me to our next Conference/Summit, kind of, I don’t know how we want to call it, that’s going to be in a really important for 3air global, it’s going to be in a place where we can actually get a really good legal framework for what we’re trying to do. Because, as you can see, the legal part is always a problem. And it’s a bigger problem than anticipated and expected, but this is when you try and disrupt a bit an industry that’s been there for years and decades, and it’s one of the most, the biggest and powerful industries, you can get some setbacks. Then, really, the shame is there that the legal framework should be there to protect the end users, right? It should be there to protect the end users, and everyone is saying, yay, you know, legal and we see this not only in what’s happening to us right now, but also what’s happening to the whole of crypto and the US is just going after, after all the trying to choke out the liquidity from the crypto and they’re going after all the tokens and everyone in the name of doing good things for the people but actually it’s just protecting themselves.
It’s the same in telecoms, the telecoms just protect themselves hiding behind the legal framework. And right now, even in the banking sector, I don’t know how it is in Europe and so on. But in Dubai, you can maybe get still a personal bank account, but for a company, it’s almost impossible to get a bank account and I know that it’s also a problem in Europe, because I had a few companies there, and it’s getting worse and worse. And everything is just because you cannot be compliant anymore with all the requirements that are there. It just is total nonsense, and hopefully we can solve this with partnering up with a really big project that’s doing the groundwork on the legal side.
Anita Mlakar: 09:43
Wow, you know what I like about 3air and not just me it’s also a discussion in our communities is when you come to an obstacle 3air is not just waiting for something to happen and waiting and waiting, but trying to find new ways and setting new goals. And now this is how you’re doing it and it’s really amazing.
Sandi Bitenc: 10:09
I can say that the last two to three, four months were really not easy. And there were a lot of setbacks and fighting going on and but we need to pull it through. It’s either shut everything down and just forget it, or really focus and put everything behind it and I’m all for the second option. And we always have our token holders in mind and our community in mind. And we’ll really do our best to make rights for them and do whatever it takes, really, I’m all in.
Anita Mlakar: 10:55
We were talking about it, the last time we were together on our last AMA, you really did a great presentation of what will be happening. But let’s talk in short terms, what will be going on, let’s say in the next month or two.
Sandi Bitenc: 11:12
So, 3air global is really creating a global SIM card at first so that you can have one SIM card that you can use while traveling all around the world and not really think about how much you’re going to pay for your roaming costs. So, I think this is something that a lot of people will depreciate especially the digital nomads that are traveling a lot like me. So, I know, I would appreciate something like that. So, this would be the first really a tangible product that we think that can gain traction. And once we have this, we actually want to tokenize this portion of becoming a virtual mobile operator, because if we have our own SIM card, we also need to be a virtual mobile operator. So, this is the legal framework that we need to do.
Then on the technical side, we don’t think that will be the main issue. The main issue will probably be the legal part, and we want to tokenize, then this legal part, put it on the blockchain. And this is going to be a specialized blockchain. This is why we’re building also our own blockchain. We looked around, we didn’t find anything really, that would be really suitable for what we’re trying to do. So, we want to tokenize that part. Once we have this tokenized, we can then allow every other project, every other community to come and build on top of our chain and actually become operators themselves. So, they can have their own SIM cards and they can sell it to their community or they can start building a community around it. Whatever they like to do, there’s a lot of marketing opportunities coming in that way also.
So, what we’re trying to do is really abstract away this legal part. And also, this means that you don’t need to have any capital requirements, so you don’t need to acquire an additional license or buy a license on everything. You can just build on top of it, it’s going to be free. But the services that you’re using are actually going to be then kind of commercialized or paid for so this is kind of the idea. We want to have a global SIM card for 3air that everyone can use for traveling. And you also want to allow other projects and communities to actually build their own SIM card and sell it to their communities without having to know anything about the legal part and coming up with huge amounts of capital that usually required to become a mobile operator. That’s kind of the beginning but the bigger picture is far greater.
Sandi Bitenc: 14:00
The white paper has been finalized. So, it’s right now in review with legal and also from the team, we’re still expecting some of the comments on it. And then once this is done, we’ll put it into a nice copy writing and then designing it and we’ll be publishing it. So, until the next AMA, the white paper will for sure be published. And you can then read about it. Also bit more structured and a bit more in length.
Anita Mlakar: 14:36
Okay. Now the market research is also very important going into such project, I’m sure it has been done in a big way Sandi. So, what let’s say is the worst and the best possible scenario and the story?
Sandi Bitenc: 14:53
Well, the worst possible scenario is always that it doesn’t work. That’s the worst possible scenario. But that is really unlikely if we get in the funding that we’re looking for right now. But just to give you an estimate, one of our team members that has built three similar products in the past, they gained over 100 million of users. What was a problem with such because they’re really heavily focused on people that were traveling, and they had, of course, the pandemic that was there, we cannot name it, actually, because I heard that the YouTube shadow bans, everything that begins with the C word. So, people stopped traveling at that point in time. So, nobody was using the SIM card anymore afterwards, we have a bit of a different model. So, we do want to do it a bit differently. But they gained over I think, in the end, they had like 300 million users or something like that. So, it was quite huge. So, the opportunity is amazing. If we do it right, we can really disrupt the industry, I think.
Anita Mlakar: 16:26
That’s great. So, stick around 3air is going global, it’s going big. And I’m really looking forward to that. Sandi, do we have any market update right now? You were talking a little bit before what is going on actually, right now, but something else maybe?
Sandi Bitenc: 16:45
I can talk a bit about it. But the main thing is, I think that the main news is that US is suing Binance. So, they’re going after everything right now. So, I think Choke 2.0 is in full speed. And they really trying hard to get crypto cut off of the banking system. And that actually didn’t work at all.
You know, what’s really funny? In the US three banks went down in the past month or so. And all three were actually the ones that were banking crypto, and, and none of them went down because of crypto. So, they went down because of their, we don’t know exactly, for one we know what it did wrong, but the other two, they didn’t do anything wrong, actually. So, they just went after them and close them down. And now they’re going after Binance. I think what they going after and suing them for is, Binance, I think Binance started in 2017, or something like that. They were quite late to the party. But there are right now the by far the biggest I think they have over 90% of the BTC trading volume, its actually coming from Binance. So, they found some communication from 2018. And then they’re suing them for that, because they were kind of allowing US customers to come on their platform and trade there. This is how the US is actually protecting their citizens, not allowing them to trade what they actually want to trade. So, it’s kind of funny, right? This is now what they’re using to sue Binance.
What was really interesting when this came out, the news came out that was I think yesterday or the day before yesterday, the markets dipped a bit, but they dip for I don’t know 5% That’s nothing for Bitcoin. And now they’re going up again and they are again at almost all-time highs. So, it’s kind of funny, when I look at the previous year, like 2022, whatever bad news came out, and it was really tiny. The market just crashed. And they didn’t react to any good news at all. And now is exactly the opposite. So, it is kind of a feeling that you’ve really entered a new bull market and it is interesting, and it is repeating again, that four-year cycle. We are right now one year before the halving. So, I think the halving is expected, I don’t know 12 to 14 of April next year or something like that. If I’m not mistaking and this has traditionally been the start of the bull market. In crypto, we do have a good time ahead, I think. Let’s see.
The US is rushing towards a recession, I would say. And they’re really doing some really stupid things. They’re raising interest rates. So, I think we did talk a bit on the previous AMA, and after that, just after that there was a 25-basis point rate hike. So, the banks are actually collapsing, and they’re still raising rates, and the banks are going to continue to collapse. So, I would really advise everyone to not keep all the money on the banks. Right now, I think it’s far better to have your money under your bed, or pillow, or at home, then in the bank, because you never know what’s going to happen. There’s a lot of movement right now from the smaller and mid-sized banks towards the bigger guys and let’s see.
What will happen right now. It’s going to be a bit of a different banking crisis than what we’ve seen right now. When a few of the mid-sized banks are crashed, right now, people are not going to be able to afford to pay off their loans anymore. So, this is going to be a bit of a liquidity problem for them, because of the rates going up. And it’s funny, I actually got a question. previous week or I don’t know, beginning of this weekend, it was like, “But how, you know, why are the banks going under, if their interest rates are going up. Aren’t the interest rates, actually, what banks are earning.” And it’s actually not really like this, the problem is that banks are actually taking our deposits that we’re putting in there. And then they’re investing those assets into usually government bonds or anything similar to government bonds. And our deposits are actually short term. So, we can always withdraw our deposit. And then some of the banks really took that money and put it into 10 year bonds, because they wanted to have a bit of a better yield. And those bonds will give them at the end of the 10 years, that will give them enough money to pay back all the deposits, they’ll have something left, right? But because the interest rates went up, if they want to liquidate this today, they’re paying the price from how much the interest rates went up.
So if you have something that’s going to mature in 10 years, and you want to liquidate it right now, you’re actually need to pay somebody the difference that is going to be in that time, if you want to get the money right now. So I don’t know, if we have something that’s going to mature in 10 years for a million, and you have a 4% interest rate, I think right now you’ll get out only about 600-700k, something like that. So, then you have 30%, you’re 30% almost at a loss. So, this is why the banks were going down. But now we’re going to enter a different type of prices, I believe.
It’s not only about the interest rates, it’s also about the pandemic and how people are working right now. There is a lot of offices that are unused, they’re just empty, and they’re not generating any income in regards to rent and so on. The world is really upside down right now. And what I actually wanted to say is, even though they’re raising rates, they’re still in kind of in quantitative tightening, so they’re trying to reduce their balance sheet. But on the other side, they’re borrowing like crazy. They actually reduced their balance sheets in the previous year. In one week, they actually borrowed I think two thirds of it. So, they almost negated all the quantitative tightening that they’ve done for years. It’s mind blowing. I don’t know what they’re doing. But this is not going to go well. I think crypto is actually the savior currently because nobody can control it.
Anita Mlakar: 24:45
Okay, that was interesting. Sandi, thank you very much for updating us and giving us the knowledge about that. It’s always great to hear you talking about that because you really have an inside about what is going and gone. So, thanks. Just another question about what we were talking about earlier, 3air going global, what will be happening in the field of marketing?
Sandi Bitenc: 25:11
Currently, we’re not thinking about marketing right now, to be honest. First of all, we don’t have the funds to do any new Real Marketing at this moment in time. And right now, we don’t have anything to market. So, we do need to put our heads together and get the product out. And once we get the product out, I do have some ideas. And I think a really good product will market itself. And we have good connections to other projects and protocols in the crypto space with quite a lot of bigger gaming communities and so on. So, I think if we can offer those communities, a SIM card and so on, that’s being backed by crypto that’s going to be able to be bought by crypto. And we’ll put some nice zero blockchain crypto details into it. I think we can get some traction without really spending a lot of funding on marketing.
Anita Mlakar: 26:13
Okay. There was also a question Sandi in our community, because we are answering also the questions in this AMA, what will be the price of internet from 3air? I think this is regarding internet in Africa.
Sandi Bitenc: 26:26
So it is really hard to say because every country in Africa has a huge, huge difference in regards to how much does it actually cost to buy the internet from the actual internet provider. So, from the ones that are owning the undersea cables. There can be like a 10x difference from country to country. It’s really hard to say, but I can say that you will for sure, we’ll be undercutting the average price by probably around 15 to 20%, let’s say something like this, but it’s really impossible to say right now and there will also be different packages. And for the businesses that need for instance, they need dedicated lines, the prices are far higher. The thing is that still the actual raw cost of internet is around three times higher in Africa than in Europe, for instance.
Anita Mlakar: 27:27
Okay, that was actually the only question that we have right now for you. I don’t see any in the comment section. So, I think you have given us all the answers and everything we wanted to hear. I’m looking forward to the next AMA Sandi with the special guest.
Sandi Bitenc: 27:46
Yeah, that one will be a bit more exciting.
Anita Mlakar: 27:49
Yeah, it will be great. So, thank you very much for taking time being with us. And of course, let’s meet again in a 14-day time. Okay. It will be summer in our city, by the way.
Sandi Bitenc: 28:02
Summer already. I think you change the time, right?
Anita Mlakar: 28:06
No, I’m talking about temperatures.
Sandi Bitenc: 28:09
Yeah, but you also did change the time?
Anita Mlakar: 28:12
Yes. You mean an hour? Yeah. Okay.
Sandi Bitenc: 28:19
We have our schedule kind of bounced to the European Time. So, the one that it’s actually changing. So right now, everyone else needs to adapt to you.
Anita Mlakar: 28:31
Yeah, well, this is how it goes. I’m kidding. Yeah. You’re right about that. So, Sandi, have a great day. And let’s meet again, in 14 days. Thank you for being with us, everybody. Bye.