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Today we have the pleasure of interviewing the Rockstar of Blockchain/Crypto space. Government grants, Richard Branson Extreme Tech Challenge Award, 34 Million in ICO, Forbes contributions, big media coverage – and much more. Crypto community endearingly calls her the BRAND behind Power Ledger. CryptoTapas sits with Dr. Jemma Green, the co-founder of Power Ledger.
She is indeed the brand that propelled Power Ledger in the crypto community. She is also an eloquent public speaker. Being one of the most popular figures in the Blockchain and Crypto space – she doesn’t carry an ounce of arrogance.
“I am a normal person,” says Mom of two, who credits much of her success to her amazing team and the great support she receives from her husband.
It was difficult to come up with questions for Dr. Jemma. Having appeared in numerous conferences, interviews, debates, contests, TV appearances – she has practically answered all the questions that came her way. There is something special about her responses – they all are well rounded in technical, business and personal point of views.
A bear market is good for space
Dr. Jemma has a very different take on this bear market. “This bear market has a cleansing effect on Blockchain space, investors are demanding more from the projects beyond a colorful whitepaper and empty promises.”
The projects that survive this bear market and succeed to deliver valuable services could emerge to be “future Apples, Facebooks, and Amazons of the future in a replay of the tech crash of the millennium”, she opined.
Blockchain is not a panacea
Talking about the potential of Blockchain – Dr. Jemma was quick to point out that Blockchain cannot solve everything and that people need to show a healthy dose of skepticism before accepting a blockchain solution.
Blockchain works well in certain industries and for certain pain points but it doesn’t work in all industries and for all problems.
Crypto and Blockchain go hand-in-hand
Dr. Jemma thinks that Crypto and Blockchain will go hand-in-hand, although not all cryptos will have a use case. Commenting on India’s stance of wanting to encourage Blockchain but trying to curb cryptocurrencies, she said “you’re left with something that is about distributed ledger technology as opposed to the blockchain in the biggest sense of the word because the real power comes from not just using it as a record keeping system, but also to transact value.”
Bringing electricity to 1.5 Billion people, and doing it using sustainable practices
Dr. Jemma through the Power Ledger platform wants to unlock capital, recycle capital so that more and more energy projects are funded. “We are really interested in helping the 1.5 Billion people that do not have access to electricity at all.”
She recognizes that while providing electricity access to those that currently do not have it is important but equally important is to do it with help of sustainable energy practices.
Power Ledger will encourage people to practice sustainable energy practices – such as solar power.
Security tokens are coming to Power Ledger
Work-life balance married with lofty societal goals
Dr. Jemma makes it a priority to make time for her 3-year old daughter, Amelie, and 6 months old son, Castiel. She tries to work from home when possible so she can spend as much time as possible with kids. She also makes it a point to switch off her electronics from 6 pm to 8 pm every day to be with the family.
Her commitment to Power Ledger in helping realize Paris climate goals a reality so that she can lead the world into a better place for her kids keeps her forging forward.
“I think if we can have made a material contribution to the Paris climate goals, I will be so proud of myself and the work of Power Ledger and if in doing so, we’ve scaled and commercialized the technology, this would be fabulous for me”, she said.
Below is the transcript (edited) of the interview
CryptoTapas: With the experience you gathered from being in this space for around three years, if you were to start this project all over again, what would you do differently?
Dr. Jemma: Well, I think it’s good to have a healthy dose of skepticism when dealing with the blockchain because there are a lot of projects/companies that have popped up with nothing more than a white paper and an idea. I think blockchain has been used as a buzzword that often comes with a lot of hot, but also skepticism, some of which I believe is actually warranted.
There was a period where companies were putting the word blockchain in front of anything. For example, Long Island Ice Tea changed its name to Long Blockchain Corp and the hype train would go into overdrive. However, Power Ledger was incorporated in 2016 prior to the ICO craze and we had even developed our own technology for energy when there was very little understanding of blockchain being utilized for anything other than financial transactions.
I think what is happening now is that the dust is really settling in and consumers are asking more questions before blindly investing in ICOs and paying closer attention to the real world use cases and the teams involved rather than taking marketing hype and empty promises at face value.
As an industry, it is still largely unregulated. So I think, as I said at the beginning, a good dose of skepticism is necessary. And in fact, I think in the current market in Crypto there is a healthy cleansing effect on the space in general and the companies that emerge from this wreckage could actually be the Facebooks, Apples, and Amazons of the future in a replay of the tech crash of the millennium.
CryptoTapas: I agree with you. We got started in May last year. We were victims of empty promises and shiny things, but lucky for us we learned lessons pretty quickly and we have been pretty diligent about what we post and what we share. The name and fame will follow. We’re not focused on that right now. I think the bear market has only been cleansing this whole space.
The only unfortunate thing we have been noticing is that there were some good projects with good promise but they were wiped because of liquidity issues. Talking about liquidity issues, how are you guys doing with liquidity on your end?
Dr. Jemma: We are very well funded for piloted to continue operating its business and, scale and commercialize our technology.
CryptoTapas: What is your elevator pitch for someone who doesn’t understand what Power Ledger is all about, but they know just enough about blockchain. What is your elevator pitch?
Dr. Jemma: Our technology enables three things: energy trading, energy asset financing, and carbon market. Energy trading involves our signature product – peer to peer trading across the regulated network and power plants as well.
Energy asset financing is a product we will launch this year called Asset Germination Events, which is using the blockchain to fractionalized ownership of energy assets. So, creating a token that’s security which will be a world’s first regulated crypto energy offering and it allows everyday people to invest in and co-own Energy assets which they have previously not been able to do, which has been the domain of sophisticated investors, so far. This will bring liquidity to what’s been fairly illiquid by tokenizing and making it tradable on an exchange.
And then thirdly, carbon markets, that’s around the issuance and trading of carbon credits and tokenizing those credits, which means you can track the provenance of them, also create liquidity where it hasn’t existed before. A lot of carbon markets have traded over the counter, so that’s the business in a nutshell: energy trading, energy asset financing, and carbon markets.
CryptoTapas: In layman terms, let’s say, you have a space for setting up solar panel but they don’t know where to go to sell their energy or excess energy, how would they get to participate?
Jemma: The way that energy works is a bit different.
Energy companies need to offer their customers peer to peer and use our technology to do so. Presently we’re doing peer to peer trading here in Perth and Fremantle. We’ve also got a project that we just announced overnight in Japan. We have peer to peer trading available in Bangkok and also in the American power network, in the US, so it’s not available everywhere.
It’s only available in those places presently, but we are engaged in many other dialogues to expand the offering. But that’s for trading across the grid that anyone that has an apartment building that wants to install solar and batteries can use our platform now immediately, to facilitate energy trading within the building. It’s a long gestation period to scale across the regulated network, but we feel like we’ve made good progress in getting that many projects up in the two and a half years that we’ve been operating.
CryptoTapas: Do you think there will be resistance from incumbent companies in terms of how this technology helps broaden the decentralization of these otherwise centralized businesses?
Dr. Jemma: If you look at disruptive innovations that have occurred in the past, you can say that incumbent players may do one or a combination of three things. They could fight, flight or innovate. And they may fight and innovate simultaneously. They innovate because they want to get a piece of the new action and they may fight because they want to protect their incumbent interests.
Disruptions happen regardless, generally speaking, they may take longer with more fighting. You couldn’t fight against the motor vehicle, for example, with the horse carts forever. I don’t feel like the work that we’re doing is really engaged in a fight at all. I think that there’s healthy skepticism. People need to understand why the blockchain is not a panacea. It can’t be used for everything. There are certain reasons why it works in the energy industry. I wrote an article last week for Mickey.com.au articulating that.
I think it takes a while in big utility for all decision makers to get across that and be interested, and want to take that risk. Studying this market is not a quick thing but I feel like we started to get scaling. We have got just under a megawatt installed capacity trading presently in Bangkok, in Q1 this year – that will add another 4 megawatts and by Q2, 12 more megawatts. So we are starting to state aid projects ramp up in terms of a number of uses, the amount of kilowatt provided on the platform.
CryptoTapas: Is Power Ledger more apt for locations where energy is expensive or really the cost of energy doesn’t matter?
Dr. Jemma: I think it does matter, it’s weird the way margin on the network tariffs work. Thailand has just announced regulation to enable peer to peer trading with consumers. The state of UP in India just announced this as well and so you might see these countries leapfrog to these new technologies quicker than developed countries. I wrote about that in Forbes.
CryptoTapas: I’m surprised that India has taken interest in this kind of project because for the most part of India – the government has been strongly opposing the crypto but has been trying to encourage the blockchain. I think in some instances, especially for a project like Power Ledger, blockchain and crypto abilities will go hand in hand, right?
Dr. Jemma: Yes.
Well, you can do that, but you’re left with something that is about distributed ledger technology as opposed to the blockchain that ended up being a sense of the word because the real power comes from not just using it as a record keeping system, but also to transact value.
The transaction and the payment can be one and the same thing and what that provides is a real-time market trading and settlement and we know that, the more agile the market, the more liquid the market, the more value that can be created in a market. So, I think that they may want to divorce those two things from each other, but I think they may arrive at the conclusion that they need to allow both and regulate.
CryptoTapas: In terms of developing the local ecosystems so that there are people who are willing to trade excess energy and there are people who need and buy that energy. What is Power Ledger and the company as such doing in the space of developing the local ecosystems?
Dr. Jemma: Asset germination product will launch this year and we’re doing it with a demonstration of two assets at commercial scale solar system and a grid-connected battery here in Perth, but ultimately we are hoping that develop as if some of the energy projects can use this platform to unlock capital, recycle capital so that they can fund more energy projects and we’re really interested in this helping the 1.5 billion people that don’t have access to electricity at all presently.
CryptoTapas: Do you think projects like Power Ledger encourage sustainable energy practices and that this is going to be the future of encouraging people to participate in sustainable energy?
Dr. Jemma: Without a question.
I mean for the past century energy’s been at the long line of production, fossil fuel generation, coal or gas, typically transmission lines, distribution lines, bringing electricity to people’s homes and in the past decade we started to see rooftop solar popup and we haven’t got a market mechanism that enables this to really work properly.
For example, if you can put a price signal, people will put batteries in because they’ll get an economic return for it and that will start to add more supply in the peak and drive out the cost. The spikes had previously been the domain of electricity companies who said: ‘we provide electricity in the state and so we’re going to charge you significant multiples of what it costs to produce,’ but batteries could start to do that and payback sooner.
And as a result of this price mechanism, people will increase their installed capacity of batteries. I think that the agile market around the blockchain adds a level of sophistication which can reduce the need for batteries as well through demand response, but also enable citizen utilities.
CryptoTapas: If you’re going into Bangkok or other Asian countries like India for example, the common public doesn’t know what blockchain is, forget about how to use it. How do we bring these folks to use your platform benefit for trading the surplus energy? What can be done in the space to make them aware that there’s this technology that can be used and help them get out of the poverty line?
Dr. Jemma: Well, I think there’s a lot of recognition for this already. The UN sustainable development goals have many of these kinds of objectives in there. For example, in Australia that we have high electricity prices and what can we do to drive out cost from the system?
In places like Thailand and other developing countries, there’s recognition around particular matter in air quality and how fossil fuel generation is really impacting people’s health and wellbeing. I think there’s a recognition on a range of different touch points as to why the energy system needs to change. It’s more about how to do it. You got to bite the elephant one bite at a time ultimately.
Our platform is very simple to use. People don’t have to have an understanding and it’s just a digital wallet, one spark is one cent or the lowest denomination in any currency and they can just convert those to their local currency. They can just set and forget the platform optimized so I can buy the cheapest renewable energy out there or sell my energy at the highest price available in the market and then their wallet fills up with sparkz and they can transfer them back into their bank account. It’s a simple technology to use and we’re seeing that reflected in the feedback we’re hearing from customers that are using it.
CryptoTapas: Interesting. Changing the gears a little bit, being in the media, being in front of the camera, being in front of the big personalities – in your experience and opinion, what are the positive and negative impacts of media on the blockchain and crypto space in general?
Dr. Jemma: Well, I would revert back to my original comment, which is that I think a healthy dose of skepticism is a good thing and that sometimes incumbent players may be trying to undermine the sector and you see a little bit of that going on with the investment banks kind of criticizing whatever price of Bitcoin is, but this happens every time there’s a bear market around bitcoin and ultimately the proof will be in the pudding longer term.
I’m just thinking how am I articulating this. If you think about what a currency is, it’s just a belief, whether they’re printed on paper, bars of metal or electrons on screens and it makes sense that faith is waiting after a big speculative brand that is buried.
People in this time of year people will be tax loss selling and generally, so far down there’s no reason to hold. The selling will beget more selling and the traditional voices will feel right for a while. When the world’s debt load, which is currently $270,000,000,000,000 and growing at 20 percent per year with growth in underlying GDP at three percent has to resolve. There should be a relative shift in value and I think it could be significant, time will tell on this.
CryptoTapas: Does bear market have any impact on the team dynamics within power ledger?
Dr. Jemma: I don’t think so.
I don’t look at the price of the token. I’m really focused on the projects which are going to drive the fundamental value of the POWR token and our team is really, really passionate about the blockchain.
Democratization of power, low cost, low carbon energy market, so that’s a big project and you need a mission like that to want to get out of bed every morning and make a market, but the people in Power Ledger are super motivated around these things.
CryptoTapas: What does it take to be part of Power Ledger’s team?
Dr. Jemma: We’re not hiring anyone at the moment, but the people at Power Ledger are really motivated around the mission. I don’t think working in a startup is for everyone. There was a phrase in the military, it’s called VUCA: volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, and it was profiled in the Harvard Business Review and it was first used in 1987 to describe general conditions. I think it was strategies for leadership in an unsteady world. I think that’s a bit like what it is to work in a startup and certainly in Power Ledger.
There is a lot going on. We’re working on short-range projects, long-range projects, different countries, different time zones. You really need to be passionate and high energy to want to work in Power Ledger and to enjoy it.
CryptoTapas: Makes Sense. Moving onto your personal life. In one of the interviews, and I think this was 11 months old interview, you said you just had a baby a month ago at that point in time. So, my question is, how do you find work-life balance while managing all the responsibilities that you have on your shoulder?
Dr. Jemma: It’s a struggle every day, to be honest with you. I have a three-year-old daughter Amelia, and now I have a six-month-old son Castiel and I love them so much. I want to be around them and I bring them on trips with me and I work from home as much as I can. I have a nanny that helps, husband obviously is very involved in parenting. It’s a loosely ordered chaos and I try my best to set a good example for my kids and to lead the world into a better place for them.
CryptoTapas: How do you keep the digital noise away from your personal time when you’re with the family?
Dr. Jemma: It’s hard as well. I tend to do a lot of work in the evening after the children have gone to bed. Between 6:00 and 8:00 PM, it’s family time, so we have to really switch off all these things and I ended up doing a lot of conference calls at 6:00 or 7:00 in the morning, with other time zones and then going into work later, having spent some time with my children in the morning. You’ve got to constantly try and keep yourself in check and get the balance right.
CryptoTapas: Before we wrap up, I do have one question about where do you see Power Ledger in five years, both in terms of success from every sense of the word and also from a social impact, what is your vision of the Power Ledger and its social impact Five years down the line.
Dr. Jemma: I think if we have made a material contribution to the Paris climate goals, I will be so proud of myself and the work of Power Ledger and if in doing so, we’ve scaled and commercialized the technology, this would be fabulous for me.
Awesome. Thank you so much. Thank you for taking the time.
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About the author
RK Reddy holds two Masters degrees, one in Accounting and another in Business Administration with over 15 years of experience in the financial services industry.
RK Reddy is an ardent fan of Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies. You can see the excitement about this new blockchain technology in every article on Cryptotapas.com. Sometimes this excitement leads to an overly optimistic view. Guilty as charged. RK Reddy says “what may seem like an ‘overly optimistic expectation’ today may become an everyday norm in 5-10 years; look at the history of cars or airplanes, Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies belong to a similar frame of reference.” Of course, that is just his opinion.