EDIT 1: Hi everyone, thanks for the questions so far! Most of the team are currently sleeping but rest assured we will continue to answer questions tomorrow!

EDIT 2: We're back! It's business as usual in the office today but we'll still try to get through as many questions as we can!

EDIT 3: Taking a break for a bit, we will be back to answer more questions soon. Back!

In the meantime this should assist in providing some clarity

Power Ledger is a software company that has developed a blockchain-based energy platform which enables households and businesses with solar panels and batteries to trade their surplus energy with each other. In addition, the platform facilitates the crowdfunding of renewable energy assets whereby contributors receive the revenue stream proportional to their share of ownership.


Today we have the following people here to chat:

Dr. Jemma Green, cofounder, researcher, author and entrepreneur with extensive experience in sustainable development and citizen utilities. Jemma is also chair of climate-KIC australia.

David Martin, cofounder, distribution network specialist with over 20 years in emerging energy technologies, David's passion is the development of a low carbon electricity system.

John Bulich, cofounder, resident tech genius and blockchain specialist, having been a part of several innovative blockchain based tech solutions for artifact provenance including evidence grade photography and medical record management.

Dr. Govert Van Ek, cofounder, a tech enthusiast with over 25 years experience in software and business. Gov's interests are in the interface between computing and humans and in artificial intelligence.

Nuno Martins, a full stack block chain engineer and security specialist with an in depth knowledge of computing, AI and robotics.

Marc Griffiths, a veteran Ethereum engineer with industry experience at Goldman Sachs. Marc's focus is on adapting blockchain technology for use in different fields.

Here’s a short video for those keen on learning more about Power Ledger!

Comments: 295 • Responses: 36  • Date: 

flaghacker_330 karma

There is some shady stuff going on in this AmA. A list of suspicious questions:

  • CryptoDudette, redditor for 1 hour, only activity a single comment in this AmA.
  • crypto_jackson, redditor for 3 hours, only comments are five (!) questions in this AmA.
  • thokkotu, redditor for 1 month, only activity a post about Ledger here and two questions in this AmA.
  • CutShapesHugMates, redditor for 26 minutes, only activity a single comment in this AmA.

Note how all of the questions asked by these guys have complete answers, while the other more critical questions have vague responses.

I call bullshit.

Powerledger-34 karma

Hi flaghacker! Many of the new users are likely coming from our existing community where we have been broadcasting this AMA.

As for the differences between answers, we have multiple team members getting involved and some are newer to Reddit than others but we're working on that.

charonpdx167 karma

"Blockchain based P2P energy trading platform"? What does that even mean?

I watched the video, and it still doesn't really make sense. You obviously are trading "credits", not actual energy - but don't explain how the "credits" work.

JohnBulichPL-34 karma

We are trading energy used. with energy readings and transactions recorded on the blockchain

charonpdx101 karma

How? How are you trading energy? If I have solar panels on my roof, and am hooked up to your system, and my neighbor three blocks away wants to "buy my energy", what actually transfers?

Powerledger1 karma

You will need to be connected physically to your neighbour through either an embedded network (micro grid) or a regulated distribution network (mains grid). Our platform will then oversee the transaction of one neighbour's surplus energy to meet the other neighbour's immediate demand across this network. This is enabled by the data collected by generic smart meters located at each house that's transacting energy.

Powerledger-21 karma

JB: if you are selling and he is buying in the same trading interval, your excess power is assigned to your neighbour

disposable-name78 karma

I'll field this one, John.

What "blockchain-based energy trading" is a means by which a bunch of Silicon Valley wank words are strung together causing gullible VCs to ejaculate funding all over them, raising the brand name to a point where they can cash the fuck out and retire to one of those Libertarian seasteads that creep from Amazon is always going on about.

Powerledger7 karma

As good as a seastead sounds, the idea that anyone is cashing out here is lunacy. Blockchain is not a 'wank word', blockchain is a very real technology that removes the need for an intermediary to verify transactions - simply put, blockchain reduces costs associated with networking and markets and that is why it is perfect for energy trading.

Archiver_test46 karma

Aren't reverse electricity meters supposed to do the same thing? In existing infrastructure

Powerledger2 karma

It depends on the type of reverse metering offered to your household. If selling your excess energy is priced at the full cost of purchasing energy, there is no margin available for our model to make use of.

Our platform aims to benefit jurisdictions with no reverse metering, or a feed in (resale) tariff lower than the cost of purchasing energy. The difference between feed in tariffs and energy costs leads to the ability for a resident to sell their energy at a higher rate whilst still undercutting the prices offered by retailers supplying through the mains grid.

As an example, where I live the price of resale is ~7c KWh and I can purchase energy from the mains grid for ~27c KWh. Using the Power Ledger platform allows me to sell my excess energy between these two rates, which saves me and the eventual purchaser money.

wrapcombo18 karma

How does a smart contract work with electricity? I've skimmed your white paper and I couldn't see any specifics

Powerledger1 karma

It's a digital token contract, it can look up things like electricity price via oracles

wrapcombo15 karma

And so it's like a normal contract except everything is automatically done? How do you protect against potential hacking??

Powerledger4 karma

JB- Is your question - how do you prevent a smartcontract from being hacked?

wrapcombo7 karma

Is that possible?

Powerledger2 karma

It's dependent upon the smart contract itself since it is a result of poor coding. Whilst enormous care is taken to ensure that this does not occur, there have been cases in the past, such as the DAO attack. This attack resulted in a large sum of Ethereum being funnelled into someone's wallet and many users of Ethereum decided that they wanted to "undo" this transaction. This lead to a fraction of the Ethereum user base annexing and forming their own ledger with the transactions associated with the stolen ETH essentially being completely undone. This hard fork is now called "Ethereum Classic".

sween_queen_II16 karma

Does the individual need a retail license to trade electricity?

Do the AEMO market rules currently allow for this kind of trade?

How do you calculate loss factors between the source and destination?

How do retailers bill the customer? You can’t buy all of your electricity from a peer - as at night they wouldn’t be producing excess power to sell. You would still have to buy through a retailer. Have you partnered with any retailers to overcome this challenge?

Powerledger4 karma

Hi sqeen_queen_II,

  1. No, not at this stage. The licence to use the network is implied in the retail arrangements that persist outside of the P2P arrangement in the same way PV owners currently "sell" energy to retailers.

  2. Behind the meter, the AEMO (Australian Energy Market Operator) has no jurisdiction. Additionally, across the meter (and with the right retail arrangements) the AEMO isn't impacted.

  3. In the same way it's done now - averaging. But the reality is, given trading is occurring between customers connected to the same elements of the distribution network (co-located, really) with generators, losses are less than what networks are currently experience.

  4. That's the beauty of the blockchain. We can disaggregate every energy transaction to ensure the right group, individual or retailer is paid for the energy they produce and that they subsequently pay the right group for the energy they consume.

Thanks for the questions.

lifecraze9 karma

In your professional opinion, would it be a good idea to install a giant hamster wheel in my house and power my home by running in the wheel?

Powerledger2 karma

That's actually how we power our entire office. Please see our office mouse who heads these operations: Katie the POWR mouse

Side Note: Mice are more efficient than humans if we use a measure of watts produced per gram of feed.

Tangd3578 karma

For any regular consumer with installed solar panels, how much will current infrastructure have to change in order for them to buy and sell their energy on this decentralized energy market? Furthermore, on the individuals' level, would we need to install special hardware? Or will currently installed solar systems be ready to go with just installation of some software etc?

In short, once the POWR blockchain is up and running, what does the individual consumer have to do to connect their panels/batteries/hardware and will we have to wait for electrical companies to upgrade our households/suburbs to do so.

My second question would be: whats the approximate radius that you expect consumers could buy/sell their energy to? In the short term will people be able to trade energy with only their apartment residents? neighbours? suburb? Across towns? Or would this be issue be approached by allowing consumers to be able to price in personal transmission costs in a trade proportionally to the distance electricity must travel? (e.g. sending energy from say, Geraldton to Perth etc) How are you guys approaching this?

Powerledger1 karma

There is no special hardware required, just smart meters. You would need to be registered on the platform by an application host which would generally be a utility. there is no hard limit to the radius you will be able to trade, it will depend on the size of the trading group you are in which is determined by the application host.

Powerledger0 karma

Hi Tangd357, there is no need to change the current installation as long as you have a smart meter. Enrolment is done through an application host. Although transmission costs may increase over long distances, there is no limitation in regards of the distance that energy can be traded other than the local currency, since the SparkZ is tied to the local currency of the country.

Nardee7 karma

Could you give an approximate to the amount of bandwidth required to accommodate the data collection of say a mix of a million consumers/prosumers "trading" electricity?

Powerledger7 karma

There are lots of ways to deal with this. State channels for scaling or other techniques to reduce the bandwidth.

best_of_badgers7 karma


Powerledger2 karma

That question might be more suited for /r/philosophy but I'll give it a go!

We're not trying to change the laws of physics, but we are trying to change the laws of the market. Ultimately we want to bring the power back to the people who invested their money in solar. This should provide better economic incentive for the installation of more distributed renewables, such as rooftop solar, which will be critical for the future.

tmo7935 karma

On behalf of Edie Ooi on telegram:

Hi admin, just wondering, how many full time staff PL has?

Powerledger3 karma

JB - Today in the office we had about 15 staff present

Nardee5 karma

What prevents larger utility companies (or Application Hosts in general) from manipulating the market value price of POWR?

Powerledger1 karma

Supply and demand of POWR. If they tried to conrner POWR like the Hunt brother did to Silver the price of POWR would soar.

mbeh4sh4 karma

Hi, how will the storage of the token work ? Will there be any wallet or is it stored just an ERC20 token. Did not see anything about this in roadmap.

Powerledger4 karma

JB - Yes just as an ERC20 token

Powerledger3 karma

POWR is a standard ERC20 token. Sparkz currently exist on EcoChain, and will be transitioning to a consortium Ethereum blockchain

apotheosis2473 karma

When I hack my meter and sell a bunch of power I didn't actually generate, who's going to do anything about it? The local utility won't give a shit because they're no longer the ones getting ripped off.

Powerledger1 karma

Hi apotheosis247. This is the reason why we need smart meters that are certified and sealed by your local energy provider. These meters themselves will have their own form of security to prevent this these types of attacks.

kybe_3 karma

It was quite a let down realizing I payed higher price in the presale as opposesd to those in the mainsale. Any plans to "fix" that?

Powerledger2 karma

You probably did the calculation early in the mainsale. It goes for 4 weeks. Have you checked it lately? the price is almost the same.

ditchthisaccount37492 karma

In regards to renewables and being energy friendly, have you considered using a proof of capacity (PoC) block chain technology like Burst? It uses far less power in the mining process.

Powerledger1 karma

Hi ditchthisaccount3749, We have considered PoC, but we believe a proof of stake algorithm is most suited for the project. We aim to implement this at some point because it provides an eco-friendly method of validating the ledger which is an important goal for our company.

TheHappyEater2 karma

What are the transaction costs of such a contract? Will it become harder over time to add stuff to the blockchain (like with bitcoin currently)?

Powerledger1 karma

Hi TheHappyEater, At the moment the transaction costs and blockchain capacity are not a problem since we are running the platform on a consortium chain (which is essentially a private chain). When we migrate to a public chain this could become a potential issue, although with new technology developments such as state channels it can be overcome. Good question!

cool_enough1 karma

How do you ensure that power is forwarded without the need for a trusted third party in a 0-trust system? Since that would be the only thing that would distinguish this from a less generalized craigslist.

Powerledger1 karma

Hi cool_enough, If I understand your question correctly, the need for a trusted third party can be overcome through the use of smart contracts, which rely on a set of conditions to be met before it is executed. This is one of the key benefits of basing our platform around a blockchain technology that has smart contract capabilities included.

breakfastismyfav1 karma

Hello Team, Particularly intrigued with the 'crowdfunding of renewable energy assets ' Is this crowdfunding done by users acquiring a unique token? Is the intention to create solar farms that investors will receive proportionate revenue from?

Powerledger3 karma

Yes users will acquire a unique asset token and they will receive a portion of revenue

thokkotu-5 karma

Are you close to a trial in sydney or melbourne? Can we as investors take part if we own panels

CutShapesHugMates-6 karma

Hey guys, I am relatively new to this all, but I was hoping you could answer a few questions!

Why did you decide to use crypto instead of regular currencies?


Could you still trade energy the same way without crypto?

Thanks guys!

Powerledger-2 karma

Hi CutShapesHugMates, we decided to use the blockchain technology, crypto currencies just came along with it. Yes, it can be traded without blockchain or crypto but if falls under outdated system designs that do not offer what blockchain can provide.

crypto_jackson-7 karma

Are transaction fees the main method in which SPARKZ are converted back to POWR? Are there any other ways?

Powerledger3 karma

JB- not transactoin fees. Sparkz are returned and the POWR tokens are then released from the smartbond (escrow)

crypto_jackson-3 karma

Does the supply of Sparkz just keep increasing? Is there a mechanism to remove Sparkz out of circulation?

Powerledger2 karma

JB- yes they are removed from circulation after they are returned by the application host. and only created when an AH submits POWR tokens

CryptoDudette-10 karma

I see you are transitioning to a consortium eth network. I recognize this might be commercially sensitive, but where will the nodes be held? Do you foresee application hosts holding them?

Powerledger4 karma

Yes nodes will include application hosts