Hello Readers, here is An Interview with “Dr. Jemma Green” – co-founder and chair of Power Ledger
Q: Hi Jemma, Tell us about yourself
Hi. I’m the co-founder and chair of Power Ledger, a peer-to-peer marketplace for renewable energy. Personally I have a background in both financial services and environmental sustainability. My doctoral research focused on disruptive innovation and the role that blockchain can play in solar power and the democratisation of energy markets. I was recently invited to present on this topic at Sir Richard Branson’s Blockchain Summit.
Q: Tell us more about your team! Do they all have background of crypto?
We’ve got an experienced management team with over 80 years’ experience between us. The team has deep blockchain expertise going back to 2013 and international energy market expertise spanning past two decades. Additionally we have significant banking and finance expertise in blue chip banks.
Q: What inspired you to do an ICO?
We’re an energy company first. When we started out, we were looked for a tool that provided a really secure, fast, low-cost transactive environment and the blockchain did that perfectly. We found the solution in blockchain instead of starting with blockchain and going to look for a problem. When it came to fundraising, an ICO seemed like the perfect option. As well as helping to raise funds to substantially accelerate the development of the platform, the ICO has the added benefit of incentivising early users onto it.
Q: How did the idea of Power Ledger come about? Is this something you were doing before?
In 2013, I started a PhD in energy markets and disruptive innovation. One of things I noticed was that hardly any apartments, which make up 30% of the housing stock, have solar panels. Knowing that apartment blocks could operate as an energy retailer without a retail license, I designed an embedded network for an apartment block to generate and trade solar energy. However, I was struggling to find the software to allocate units of electricity. At this point, around the start of 2016, I was introduced to some blockchain developers and realised this could be the solution. My co-founder David Martin, who was looking for a similar solution to trade surplus electricity through the grid, said he wanted to set up a company to utilise blockchain and so we launched Power Ledger with these two main products.
Q: What is the cap for your ICO and how did you come to chose that number? What do you think of unlimited ICO’s? How much money is too much money to be raised in an ICO?
The pre-sale was priced at 8.8c per token and sold in 72 hours. Total pre sales, including strategic investors, was AUD $17m. Our main sale is an auction. It started September 8th and is live for four weeks until 6th October. 140 million tokens will be sold, via an average price. E.g, $ paid / 140m tokens will determine final price on 6th October 2017.
Q: If you successfully crowd sell with your ICO, where will your company be based?
Power Ledger is based in Perth, Australia.
Q: To what level of scrutiny do you feel ICOs should be held to?
One of the problems with ICOs at the moment is that companies think they can just publish a whitepaper and that’s all they need to do. Currently, you don’t need to attach your ICO to a country and that means token buyers don’t have any jurisdictional recourse if the company runs off with their money. We took a very different approach. Firstly, it was the first ICO to be launched in Australia. Secondly, we worked very closely with our lawyers to ensure that our documentations and disclosures were to the standard of a security, even though our tokens are not classed as a security. Thirdly, we did our ICO under our company, so we have a constitution, a shareholder agreement and directors that are all bound under Australian corporate law.
Q: Do you have a background in conducting due diligence on crowdfunded projects?
It’s not something I’ve focused on in my career but I did spend a number of years in finance before I did my PhD. After completing my undergraduate in finance, I moved to London to work in investment banking. During this time, I spent nine years at JP Morgan, the first half of which was in mainstream finance while the second half was covering environmental and social risk management. In this role I was looking at bank lending in developing countries as well as related industries like mining, oil and gas and power.
Q: In addition to cybersecurity, what do you feel must be understood when performing due diligence on cryptoprojects?
I think it’s important to understand what, if any, jurisdiction or country the cryptoproject has attached itself to so that you have some right of recourse if necessary. As with any investment opportunity, it’s also really important to understand the business model that underlies the project. Blockchain, cryptocurrencies and token sales are innovations that allow companies to do things differently, but there still has to be a sound foundation to the company’s mission. In our case, it’s exploiting the differential between the price you can buy and sell energy for at the moment, to the advantage of both consumers and producers of power. So, I’d advise anyone to read a company’s whitepaper, understand what their roadmap is and how they’ll spend the funds raised so that you’re comfortable with it all.
Q: What is your “bird’s eye view” of the blockchain industry as a whole. From what you’ve seen, what aspects of token crowdsales could be improved?
I think the most interesting dynamic in the blockchain industry right now is the growing number of social good projects that are gaining traction. The industry has been dominated by finance applications in its early years but there have been a lot more with an economic, environmental or social sustainability mission to them of late and I think that will continue. The other big issue that the industry will have to grapple with is regulation, as the technology permeates more industries and more consumers are touched by it.
Q: You’re clearly very passionate about the crypto space! Which projects are the most exciting to you?
The most exciting are our own, of course! I’m really excited about a new trial that we’re announced with Australian energy retailer Origin. This is our third major trial and will look at proving the value proposition for customers as well as the regulatory and technical implications of peer-to-peer trading. Outside of Power ledger, I keep an eye on the sustainability-related blockchain projects that I was introduced to at Sir Richard Branson’s Blockchain Summit, including projects covering post-war land registration in Georgia and female entrepreneurship in Afghanistan.
Q: What kind of blockchain projects would you like to see in the future?
More of our own, obviously! Apart from the two projects I mentioned earlier that brought my co-founder David and me together, the other project we have at Power Ledger is called ‘asset germination’. This allows the owners or renewable energy assets, such as solar farms, to sell a share of their asset through the Power Ledger platform in return for a share of the income produced. In the wider market, I’m most interested in the projects and applications that using the technology outside finance. Of course, all business models have a financial aspect to them, just as all industries do, but the way the technology is being used outside of financial markets is most interesting. As an entrepreneur, you want to solve problems and you use the technology that helps you to do that, so I’m always most intrigued by the businesses that do the problem solving first.
Q: What current proof of concepts has Power Ledger completed? What projects are in the pipeline?
We are the only operator in this field that is in beta testing. We’ve conducted a peer-to-peer trading trial in Busselton, Australia. Results showed households can save $600 per annum on their electricity bills. It also showed how easy it was and how much appetite there was for this sort of saving.
We have also tested and deployed a payments system in New Zealand as well, proving the platform’s inter-operability across markets. Banking on and off ramping has also been established, we are the first to do this in our market.
We recently announced a trial with Origin, Australia’s largest energy retailer. The technical trial involves using anonymised and historical customer data to explore the benefits and challenges of peer-to-peer energy trading across the regulated network.
Q: What’s in the future for POWR?
We are coming out of beta testing, looking for commercial deployments by end of 2017, with one being announced this week, and more international deployments also being announced later this week.
ICO name: POWR
ICO starts on: 8th September 2017
ICO ends on: 6th October 2017
Total # of coins: 140 million
Official Website: https://powerledger.io/#intro
ICO Website: https://mainsale.powerledger.io/
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/powerledger/
Official Twitter: @PowerLedger_io
Official Telegram: https://t.me/powerledger
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