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: 22:11
Anita Mlakar: 00:22
Hello, everybody, and welcome to 3air’s AMA!
Anita Mlakar is my name, and I’m happy to have you here. It has been long, 14 days but we are back to live. And of course, you have the opportunity to be with us today live, to ask questions. And of course, to get some answers.
Let me just invite you first, to be a part of our communities if you’re not a part of them yet, because a lot is happening there. So please join us on Telegram, on Twitter, or on Discord. And also, you can subscribe to this YouTube channel so that you will know when we are live like in this case, and you will get notification of course to join us.
We will invite our CEO, Sandi Bitenc to be with us in a couple of seconds but I will tell you a little bit about 3air. So, to connect Africa cities with a fast and stable internet connection and to become the first fully decentralized telecom platform that is the goal of 3air. So, we are trying to connect the unconnected and bank the unbanked and of course provide people with digital identities, then we are giving them a wallet. And we are using Blockchain to do that. But we have also decided on focusing on 3air Global, which has always been a part of the plan. So, we plan to make it easy to travelers to be able to use the internet easily with a global SIM card which can be used anywhere in the world without waiting to buy a new SIM card to connect. That is something that I could use because I’m going to travel too. I’m sure that Sandi is constantly needing that. And now we will ask him where he is because I know that he’s not in Dubai.
Anita Mlakar: 02:14
Sandi, hello and welcome!
Sandi Bitenc: 02:17
Hello, Anita. Hello 3air fam. How are you?
Anita Mlakar: 02:20
Hey, I’m just gonna say it’s up to you. New York, New York.
Sandi Bitenc: 02:28
Oh, Anita is singing.
Anita Mlakar: 02:32
Something like singing. Sandi, you’re in New York?
Sandi Bitenc: 02:38
Yes. My first time in New York actually.
Anita Mlakar: 02:40
And the first impression you’ve got wasn’t so nice, was it?
Sandi Bitenc: 02:45
No. When we flew in, the first thing that waited for us was a long queue. So, we needed more than two hours actually to go through the security check on the entrance. It’s crazy! the worst experience that I had in all my travels. All the airports, up to date.
Anita Mlakar: 03:08
Okay, but that was just the beginning. Now everything beautiful is beginning. And you will enjoy your staying.
Sandi Bitenc: 03:15
The city seems nice and okay. It is a bit different than what I’m used to, kind of. But let’s see. Let’s give it a try. So yesterday when we flew in, it was a 14-hour flight. So, we just had a short walk around and got something to eat. And today, we are at our computers the whole morning and then after the AMA we’ll go a bit around to see what’s happening here. Meeting also some people here.
Anita Mlakar: 03:45
Okay, how long will you be staying?
Sandi Bitenc: 03:47
Staying here till Sunday and then flying to Honduras for a conference that we mentioned, I think on the previous AMA, that will be quite an important one. We will be for sure reporting with Ricardo together.
Anita Mlakar: 04:04
So, you are joining Ricardo there. And yes, we were talking a little bit about what will be happening. And of course, maybe we will repeat it also today. Sandi, I have to tell all the people that are following you that you and Petra now have a special Instagram account. And that people can also follow you because you’re so much around the world and I have to tell you that I was really enjoying the moment when you were packing things for New York. So, it’s really funny and thank you for doing that. Thank you for sharing.
Sandi Bitenc: 04:42
Well, that’s more Petra’s thinking. I’m just helping her out with being in a video or two.
Anita Mlakar: 04:51
It is great. So, it is a part of what you are doing. And Sandi, of course, the main reason or let’s say the big reason for traveling is also, of course, doing the 3air project, and like you said New York then going on. Sandi, we were talking about what 3air global doing? Let’s just repeat a little bit for those who maybe didn’t hear it yet. So first, it was a project in Africa, there is a little delay on the project in Africa. In the meantime, of course, 3air is focusing on going global, which was actually a plan from the beginning, right?
Sandi Bitenc: 05:31
So, 3air was planned as a global project from the beginning, it was meant to be a global project, we just started a bit more with Africa, because we thought, “Okay, we have presence there already. We had a team that was already working on expanding there.” And we just said, “Okay, the 3air as the decentralization part, we’ll just stick on top of this, and it’ll just help us gain traction,” and then we were focusing a bit more on the Africa side, but the idea of 3air was always to be a global project. And you always need to test things first, before you can go and deploy globally. So, we thought, “Okay, Africa will probably be the best one for this and the fastest one”, but it turned out, it really wasn’t and it isn’t still for our expansion.
Sandi Bitenc: 06:24
So, DRC, the Democratic Republic of the Congo should be our first country to deploy 3air on. And yeah, we’re still struggling with the politics and the licensing there. And nothing much has moved since last time. And so, nothing much has moved for a since a few months. I wasn’t expecting this to go a bit a bit quicker, a bit faster, and a bit easier, but it just it isn’t. So, we’re following the path of all the other projects trying to do anything in Africa. I remember the thing, when we were still working together with Cardano. They were present in Ethiopia for years. And I think it took them two years to actually get a deal together. An MOU for their digital identity there. They actually got the deal after two years signed, and they’re still not able to really deliver on that, because it’s again, a lot of political stuff going on. So, it just seems that Africa is really particular.
Sandi Bitenc: 07:36
What we’re trying to do right now there is just getting in from another angle. We have a lobbying team there. That was just pursuing one angle of approach. And now we’re going to the second one. And usually, it’s not good to mix them together. But it looks like the first one isn’t working really. So, we need to go on that trying to do something else. But in the meantime, we’re just focusing now on the global part. And we’ll just be testing it in another jurisdiction and that’s it. As for 3air, in the beginning, the idea was to go global, the Africa part was so close to my heart, because I do want to connect people there because I think they are the ones that need it the most than we thought that just it will be the quickest and easiest way to go.
Anita Mlakar: 08:34
Thank you, Sandi. Actually, you answered just one of the questions that James was asking in our community, updates on Africa. So, this is what it is right. Now. Is there something else to add? Or is this question answered?
Sandi Bitenc: 08:52
I think that’s it. So, it’s nothing much to add there. We’re working on it. So, it’s taking longer than I thought. So, I would really not want to say anything about any timelines, because I was wrong in the past, and I don’t want to be wrong again. And it literally doesn’t make any sense and there is no logic to apply to it. So, it’s really hard to make any real predictions. It could be tomorrow, but it could also take another six months. So that’s really hard to say.
Anita Mlakar: 09:25
Okay, the next question that we have, because this AMS is, of course, also for all the community members to ask questions, and it’s connected to what we are talking about here today. Any new developments since last AMA and now we are talking of course about 3air Global?
Sandi Bitenc: 09:46
Just to give you an idea 3air Global right now what we’re trying to do is we try to get together a global SIM card that you can use anywhere in the world. It’s going to be a data SIM card only and we’re starting in now with a bit of a smaller approach. And it’s going to be a SIM card with local connectivity in one jurisdiction, and then everything else just going to be roaming. And we’ll try to get the best affordable roaming as possible. And then afterwards, we want to get more local connectivity and expand that way and add additional mobile telecom providers.
While we’re doing this, we actually want to take this contract this MVNO licensing part and put it on the blockchain. And with that, any other projects could literally come onto our layer one, so it should be layer one, and they could build their project, that would mean that they are getting their own kind of telecom. So, they will get their own branded SIM card that they can then also sell to their community or gift to their community, or whatever they want to use it for. So that’s the basic idea of what we’re doing right now with 3air Global.
Since last time that we spoke, we actually made quite a nice progress. So, I have now a contract for a global SIM card actually on the table. So, it’s more or less making the final negotiation. I could sign it right now if I want to. But it’s not there yet. So, I do want a few other things in, but let’s say it like this, if really needed, we can start with that.
The 3air global white paper is finalized and it’s also been already designed. And we’ve sent it out already to some investors, and of course, also to telecom provider that we are making the agreement with right now. So, it has been sent out. But we decided not to make it 100% public, as of now. But anyone from the community that would like to see it is invited to write us a message and we’ll send it to them in private so they can see it, they can read it. But we don’t want to share this publicly right now. But anyone from the community, of course, in personal or request, we’ll send it out that’s not an issue at all.
We made some progress on the layer one chain. And we have now the developers ready and waiting, we have the structure what we want to do, we have the timelines for that. We are waiting for the funding and to really say, “Okay, this is now starting, we’re now starting to build this.” And I think looking at all the timelines right now, once we have the funding acquired, it should not take more than three to maximum four months to have the SIM card ready and that one will be even faster. And actually, the first testing version, so the MVP from the layer one. That’s kind of the timelines we are seeing right now.
Anita Mlakar: 13:24
Great. Another question that came in is do you expect investors on board once white paper is published? Or going public?
Sandi Bitenc: 13:33
Yeah, that would be strange, if I would answer “No”, right? So, if I didn’t think that this would be a good opportunity for investors to come on board, I probably wouldn’t be pursuing it. So yeah, I do think that we’ll be able to get the funding.
Anita Mlakar: 13:50
Okay. Can you say something about fundraising? It is also among the questions.
Sandi Bitenc: 13:57
Yes, we are talking to a few Chinese investors right now. We haven’t approached everyone yet. So, it’s not something big that we’re looking for right now, for the MVP. We are literally missing around 3-400k. To have that one up and going. And I think after that a bigger series, a raise will be in order to get everything settled and done till the end. And I think once we have a product and MVP out and a product that actually is generating at least a bit of revenue, and that’s the Sim card actually, that we’ll be able to get a bit of a bigger funding and so we know exactly who we want to approach but we’re just taking it step by step and seeing if we can get some investors in that don’t offer only the funding but also some strategic support. That is what we’re targeting right now. Let’s see. We have quite a lot of connections and we’ll just go step by step.
The thing is right now, on the fundraising side, it’s not really easy. And it’s also not becoming easier. Even in the traditional markets right now, it’s getting harder and harder. And the crypto market has been beaten down by the bear market. Majority of VCs and investors have not recovered yet from that. There is actually the banking crisis going on right now. Silicon Valley Bank really slowed down the liquidity in the VC space. And we do see it harder. And also, I was talking to quite a few PCs that I know, and they’re saying, “Look, we see everything slowing down.” And right now, it’s not that it’s impossible to get funding it’s just that the bar has been raised far higher. And it’s just not that everyone’s throwing money after. So, we’ll need to make an extra effort to get this done. But I do think that we can get it done.
Anita Mlakar: 16:24
Okay. Let’s just say hello to Juels, Richard, Mr. Moh, Francisco. Thank you for being with us. And of course, if you have a question, just write it down in the comment section. Sandi’s here to answer it. Sandi, that was all already a little market update. What is actually going on right now, because we’re used to you giving us the update?
Sandi Bitenc: 16:49
To be honest, right now, I haven’t been able to follow the markets as I usually do, it was too much work. So, I don’t want to say anything really, that’s kind of outdated, but I don’t have the recent data for you right now./
Anita Mlakar: 17:07
Till next time. Okay? But the James also has a question, what are the hopes for Central America Economic Zones?
Sandi Bitenc: 17:19
We’re currently not. So, we are going to Roatan, to Honduras. Let’s see what’s going to happen there. And the thing, what we are trying to do, there is actually a bit on the legal side, on the regulatory side, and on the licensing side. So, we have good contacts there with a project called Prospera. And they’re kind of, let’s say, a project that’s building up new regulatory frameworks for startups. And they’re doing it now for the banking, they’re doing it for medicine, and they also want to do it for telecom. So, let’s see, it is a major thing. So right now, let’s say what we’re trying to do, I think, technically, it’s almost 100% clear how we can do it and how we want to do it and what we want to do. The thing is that the legal side is not so clear, and there is regulatory perspective is probably going to be the at least half of what we’re trying to do, if not more. So, this is why the conference in Roatan we’re going to next week is so important for us. And of course, let’s see, what happens then with those countries and those areas there, but we haven’t been looking for any Latin America or Central America or anything actually right now in America to get involved 3air with but this Prospera conference that we’re going to, and let’s see, maybe this is a good starting point for the Americas markets.
Anita Mlakar: 19:17
Okay, besides the conference that is coming up, and that you will be attending also with Ricardo, what will be happening in the next 14 days till we meet again.
Sandi Bitenc: 19:30
The major thing is what I was explaining you. Our major thing right now is to really get the funding in to finalize the contract for the global SIM card. And yeah, then get our hands a bit dirtier on the development side. So that’s it and then in the meantime, also the conference is going to be really important. We actually have on boarded one new adviser on the legal side, because this is what we were missing. And we are working on building up the legal part. This is also why we’re a bit reluctant to put out the white paper to the public right now, because it hasn’t been checked by any lawyer yet. So, we want to do that before we actually put it out. It’s going to be really important for the global markets to have everything in order legally. We’ll, for sure, face big headwind once we once this picks up. And we want to have everything sorted out so that we don’t have the problems where we don’t need them.
Anita Mlakar: 20:50
Okay, see seems like a reasonable and of course, a very busy plan. Sandi, do let us know what is going on also in our communities. And that is why you have to stay with us or of course, be a part of our communities on Telegram, on Discord and on Twitter, where everything is happening. Sandi will also be answering your questions there. And of course, he will be giving us reports about what is happening. Sandi, I think we have covered all the questions. And it is time for you to go exploring New York. What do you say?
Sandi Bitenc: 21:29
Yes, I will do that. Let’s see my first time in New York. Let’s see how the city feels actually. And the next AMA will probably be a bit more exciting in regards to us being able to share some information, the news from the conference.
Anita Mlakar: 21:46
And looking forward to that. What is the time in New York right now?
Sandi Bitenc: 21:50
Anita Mlakar: 21:54
Lunchtime or brunch time. Do enjoy your time. Looking forward to see you again in 14 days. Okay?
Sandi Bitenc: 22:04
Okay. Enjoy yourself also.
Anita Mlakar: 22:07
Thank you. Bye, nice holiday.
Sandi Bitenc: 22:10