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Interview: Power Ledger’s Jemma Green on Using Blockchain to ‘Power the World’

Last Updated October 1, 2020 1:08 PM
Gerelyn Terzo
Last Updated October 1, 2020 1:08 PM

Power Ledger, whose mission is to deliver peer-to-peer electricity to people through the blockchain, has been knocking it out of the park this year in terms of global recognition. The Australia-based company has thrust the blockchain into the spotlight, scoring a recent win in Sir Richard Branson’s Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) on Necker Island. In addition, the company unveiled a new regulated security token that will give retail investors access to power projects and dividends.

Dr. Jemma Green, Power Ledger’s co-founder and chair, spent some time with CCN.com to discuss how the company is handling so much success. She was quick to point out that “success is where hard work and opportunity meet,” saying it was an “extreme honor” and “very surreal” to win the tech challenge, one that carries with it a great responsibility. Indeed, while many of the contestants were relaxing in the hot tub, Dr. Green was memorizing her pitch word-for-word, saying she “didn’t want to risk not saying something.” It paid off.

She said:

“Branson standing up and announcing he and the other judges chose Power Ledger is an accolade and also a responsibility. He will be working with us now and we feel more inspired than ever to deliver on our mission.”

Power Ledger represents two platforms in which Branson is engaged — the blockchain and climate change. He is the host of the annual Blockchain Summit and was present during the Paris climate talks.

Branson Effect

richard branson crypto blockchain
Richard Branson | Source: Flickr/Jarle Naustvik 

The networking opportunity that Power Ledger is receiving as a result of winning the challenge goes unrivaled, the impact of which is already being felt.

“It has already had a discernable impact in terms of clients that we were speaking to previously that were curious about us but not moving quickly. They are coming back to us, saying ‘let’s do a project,'” said Dr. Green, adding: “Branson offered to introduce us to some companies and organizations doing work in the Caribbean including energy networks there. We’re following up on that now.”

Branson also presented Dr. Green with a copy of his book in which he inscribed: “Dear Jemma, Congratulations! May you power the world.” 

Power Ledger entered the contest on the heels of their $34 million ICO after one of the company’s ambassadors and co-founder of the tech challenge (who was not involved in the judging) suggested they apply for it. To be clear, the year-long process was highly competitive with a group of candidates that was eventually whittled down to the top 25, etc., before Power Ledger was ultimately named the winner.

“Our core mission is the democratization of power,” said Dr. Green, who did her doctorate in solar power as a disruptive innovation. Power Ledger’s Telegram group at one point boasted 15,000 members. “People are impassioned about what we are doing and want to participate. We see ourselves as a movement and our technology can enable low-cost and low-carbon distributed energy markets,” she said.

The competition involved pitching to a panel of judges at the Consumer Electronic Conference in Las Vegas before making it into the top three at which time Power Ledger competed before a completely different set of judges — Sir Richard Branson, Sompo Chief Digital Officer Koichi Narasaki and Bitfury CEO Valery Vavilov. It came down to a trio of finalists — Power Ledger, AI-fueled smart action camera startup Revl, and health platform Owlet. The win reflects Branson’s confidence in Power Ledger to “change the world.”

We asked Dr. Green if there was a particular initiative that Power Ledger is working on that led to the win, in response to which she pointed to several key projects across the three categories that comprise the company — energy trading, energy asset financing, and carbon markets.

  • Thai government project involving p2p trading in Thailand 
  • Osaka, Japan project in which Power Ledger is working with the region’s largest privately owned utility to support the creation of a virtual power plant. 
  • California project working with the carbon regulator and Silicon Valley surrounding the creation of carbon credits and the use of the blockchain as a registry and as a secondary market for carbon credits. 
  • Australia smart city project involving peer-to-peer trading goes live this month for which there is an opportunity for scale and commercialization.
  • Asset Germination Events, a new security token

Renewed Interest

power ledger
Source: CoinMarketCap

Power Ledger is behind the POWR token, which boasts a market cap of $62.7 million. Now the company has launched the Asset Germination Events (AGE) security token, which uses the “blockchain and cryptocurrency projects to provide new sources of capital for funding energy projects.” The new cryptocurrency, which is expected to make its debut next year, will give retail investors the unique opportunity to co-own power assets and earn dividends generated by the projects. AGE will comply with the relevant securities regulations in the countries where the token is sold.

“If digital currencies and the blockchain are to offer alternatives to existing financial markets, they need to replicate their product and services. So a natural evolution should take place and I think traditional financial exchanges, as well as crypto exchanges, are going to gear up to trade tokens,” Dr. Green said.

In yet another win, Dr. Green, a former investment banker, was also the recipient of EY Australia’s National Entrepreneur of the Year award in the FinTech category.

“In relation to both awards and the network effect, we can see there’s been renewed interest. The real skill for us will be around discerning the best opportunities for us to pursue. We can’t do everything,” said Dr. Green.

Featured Image from Power Ledger/YouTube