EmPOWRing Renewable Energy: Power Ledger, Blockchain, and a Sustainable Future

POWR is the tradable token coming from Power Ledger, a blockchain venture that is democratizing renewable energy.

What is Power Ledger?

Power Ledger enables peer-to-peer energy trading. If your house has solar panels, their platform lets you sell your excess energy to your neighbors, and get paid as soon as your power hits their home. You won’t have to deal with billing them every 60 days like a traditional energy company — chances are, you’ll have no idea who the buyer even is. Hello, passive income.

Power Ledger is all about getting the public more involved in renewable energy growth. As an added bonus, their token holders get to invest in wind, solar, and battery farm development projects.

It’s like if Uber and Kickstarter had a baby, and that baby is saving the planet.

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Why was it created?

Today, households with solar panels can sell their excess energy to a utility company, which then sells it to others at a profit. The energy goes back to the grid, and could travel pretty far before it reaches its final destination.

So the seller is losing money, and the utility company is losing energy.

Power Ledger snips out the middleman and lets solar panel owners sell their energy to the customers nearest to them — so the energy doesn’t have to travel as far.

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Where does POWR get its value?

POWR is the fuel of the Power Ledger ecosystem, and is essential in accessing their platform. The company has an additional token, Sparkz, which has a fixed price tied to the local fiat, and is used in the energy transactions.

As solar panels become more ubiquitous, many homes are becoming energy self-sufficient, leading them to ditch utility companies, their grids, and their high fees. With Power Ledger, utility companies can purchase POWR, convert it to Sparkz, sell Sparkz to their customers, and onboard them onto the Power Ledger platform. That way, they can offer cheaper energy, while keeping customers on the grid. This boosts demand for POWR.

POWR is also the token used to invest in renewable energy development projects around the world. As more individuals and entities get in on these projects, demand for POWR will rise.

How can I buy POWR?

Buy Ethereum or Bitcoin on Coinbase, then exchange it for POWR through Binance.

 

Written by Crypto 101 contributor Roni Rose

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Talking Crypto With Family

Always best to take an attitude of gratitude when speaking with your family, especially around the holidays. May your conversations be full of thoughtful collaboration.

As the holidays are upon us, you’re likely to have a lot of awkward conversations with family and friends who you haven’t seen since this time last year. Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who gets along swimmingly with your entire family, having complementary views on religion, politics, and finance.

But, if you’re like the rest of us, and you are occasionally the black sheep with ‘out-there’ ideas, then maybe these three talking points will help you navigate the inevitable questioning of your bullish, crypto-focused Twitter feed.

Start with what they know: Bitcoin

Bitcoin is the recognizable name in this space. Of course you know that, but you might be surprised at how few people out there actually know what Bitcoin is. They probably don’t know that it’s grown over one thousand percent in less than a year. They probably don’t know that it’s pioneered one of the most influential technological advancements of our time. And they definitely don’t know that their money in the bank may not be as secure as they think.

All that said, start small. You wouldn’t want to jump right into the conversation by talking about the dangers of country-oriented, centralized currencies whose security is built on antiquated technology. You wouldn’t want to tell them that governments printing money without any asset backing is forcing inflation to increase faster than the interest their earning in their savings account. You really should not tell them that the stocks they’ve owned for years also depend on this system and that crypto-currency wants to upend it.

What you should say is that Bitcoin is changing the way we view currency, saving, spending, and digital security. That it’s creation birthed blockchain, the innovative security strategy that is being adopted by nearly every industry that deals with digital assets. What you’ll want to talk about is that Bitcoin currently accounts for a small fraction of world finance and it’s grown leaps and bounds over the last year with plenty of room for additional growth. You’ll want to talk about what creates the value (security) and why your money is safe there (blockchain).

Address the elephant in the room: ICO

The Initial Coin Offering market is a tricky one and there’s a reason why you’ll want to sandwich it between bitcoin and blockchain. ICO’s are crazy and, fortunately, have fallen on a lot of grenades as the selfless crypto victim over the last year. The ICO is a reversal of what many people are familiar with – the IPO. The main difference is a lack of regulation, and this is a huge difference, do not underestimate this point because Republicans and Democrats alike will berate you on it. And, this is most likely because they have been in business long enough to know that people are selfish and corporations are heartless. They will make the valid point that everyday people need protected from these potentially harmful motives and they will likely have an opinion on what this protection ought to look like.

Whether they are a firm believer in the IPO process that is controlled by regulation, or believe that accredited investors should be the only people allowed to risk their money on new ventures – there is a pain point in there that you can hinge a conversation on.

Institutions (governments and state-sponsored actors)

Nearly everywhere money moves there are large institutions determining how it happens. From angel investing to the IPO, banks and governments determine the rules. Centralized institutions that have created the system can be very helpful in establishing regulations to protect you and the overall economy.

Accredited Persons

The second-most empowered group of people are the accredited investors. In the United States, people must qualify as an accredited investor in order to involve themselves in angel and seed investing. Taking place at the founding of a business with equity and option exchanges, accredited investors determine what projects garner dollars and who can take advantage.

Self-Regulation

Transparency has never been more apparent. It is now plausible to know more about a company from the very beginning of its creation than any publicly-traded one from the past. Today you can participate in the conversations within companies across media platforms. The democratization of information allows an open conversation about business practices between the most senior executives and the everyday consumer.

Trust dictates the regulation conversation – ask whomever you’re conversing with; “who do you trust to have your best interest in mind?” Once they answer this question you’ll be able to understand their perspective and play the middle-ground. Ultimately the solution will be some compromising blend, why not work this out right around the dinner table without needing a quorum in congress?

Present the doctrine: Blockchain

Blockchain is the doctrine of crypto, literally and metaphorically. The technology that created bitcoin is a chicken and egg story. Blockchain is bitcoin and bitcoin is blockchain. And that’s too existential for your audience, keep it simple; blockchain is a way of burying digital data underneath new digital data, like layers of a cake, to make it increasingly more difficult to access without a unique private key.

Blockchain is the underlying tech that will likely be used to secure all of our digital assets in the future. Always come back to this. If the conversation gets heated simply say, with steady breathing, “I agree with you and would encourage you to look more into blockchain.” Then proceed to change the conversation with one of the following.

Cute baby pictures

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A great YouTube video

 

Checking on dinner

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ICO: Scam or Model for Decentralized, Self-Regulation?

The concern for the ICO is in the unknown, that which has little basis for dynamic comparison in the financial model that defined the last century.

The ICO is a very recent phenomena that began with the development of Ethereum. With the advent of this new funding avenue, companies all over the world have the ability to connect directly with individual investors.

FUDThe entire cryptocurrency market is being questioned by the masses – day after day, month after month. More and more fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) shrouds the growth and innovative breakthroughs that blockchain technology is facilitating.

But, is this for good reason?

Are many Initial Coin Offering’s (ICO’s) actually scams, establishing  a story of their company under false pretense?

Companies like International Blockchain Consulting (IBC) Group have formed around the growth of the ICO. Of course everything from legal to marketing is important in a business move such as this. That said, many ICO’s jump in feet first without a great deal of knowledge or much of a plan. This is a recipe for disaster for any company, or person. The intention of pursuing an ICO should be more dynamic than only an avenue for investment, which is unfortunately how many people view the ICO.

What’s actually taking place is great companies are being created by intelligent people who are changing the way you will live your life. Companies bringing blockchain to identity protection, border control, intellectual property, decentralized wealth, supply chain management, health records, and so much more. The ICO is a decentralized funding platform that can encourage enterprise blockchain development. Because of its direct, largely unregulated nature, companies around the world have burst on the scene.

Photo by David Stankiewicz

Hundreds of new ICO’s are happening everyday which is why so many fail and we hear so much talk of that failure. A snapshot into July ‘17 will show that nearly every ICO was fully funded while last month, in October ‘17, less than half received the amount they had hoped.

This could be a good thing, it could be the natural weeding out of the companies not worth their salt. However, it could also be FUD clogging the minds of people otherwise willing to support projects they believe in. As always, it’s most likely a combination of both.

Pete Woodard from the IBC Consulting Group says that working with ICO’s can be so broad, covering industries that you may never think possible to utilize blockchain. Companies end up expressing a fresh point of view with a new product or want to leverage blockchain to innovate in their existing company. Depending on the client’s perception of what an ICO is, the conversation can differ greatly. Woodard’s preference is to work with companies who have clearly outlined their goals and benchmarks to support a ‘go to market’ roadmap essential to executing on an innovative idea. Pursuing an ICO can be a great avenue for investment, but it must come with a plan and lead to a minimum viable product (MVP) and  sales.

ICO’s and Regulation

There are countless stories out there about some young couple who invested a lot of money in cryptocurrency and lost it all. The Libertarian that lives somewhere in my apolitical, independent mind says “their fault” but the realist agrees that regulation could help foster growth. To Peter Woodard’s point, however, if it follows the example of the financial tech (FinTech) space, then we may be in for a bumpy road ahead. In addition, who would be surprised if this ‘regulation’ happened overnight, isolated to certain borders or in a worldwide financial coup?

“[If] bitcoin is a high-risk investment, then ICO’s are off the charts!” – Pete Woodard

One place regulation could positively impact the ICO/crypto space is in the Anti Money Laundering and Know Your Customer (AML & KYC) checks which help to ensure safe sources of funds. The right companies want ‘clean money’ and in order to ensure that’s the case, regulation could be very beneficial.

As the ICO continues to develop, traditionally funded companies purporting enterprise blockchain solutions will likely avoid many of the short-term pitfalls of the ICO market. The concern for the ICO is in the unknown, that which has little basis for dynamic comparison in the financial model that defined the last century. The greater access to information and the encouraged transparency in the market is beginning to become a model for decentralized self-regulation.

“A lot of [individual investors] are a lot more savvy than regulators think they are…The growth [in crypto] hasn’t been from the institutional side, it’s been from normal people who have invested.” – Pete Woodard

When determining the validity of an ICO, it’s important to be on the lookout for scams but it’s equally important to evaluate the business model, team, and progress. To mitigate the risk, look deep into the business plan and roadmap to success. Also look to determine how much pre-token sale investment generated from outside investors or strategic partnerships, and investigate the expertise, and ethics, of those involved.

The ability to put your dollars behind great projects with good business plans, has empowered a new generation of investors. And this new money comes with its own pros and cons. The opportunity it creates for the individual is inspiring but we have yet to understand the impact of the risk-tolerant nature of this new, speculative, money that swings in and out of the market daily.

Diverse forces are affecting the market purposefully and by default. Best to be as informed as possible and only risk what you can afford to lose. The ICO is a burgeoning financial model with an uncertain future but it’s impact has already been vast and more millionaires are likely to be minted on its back. Most importantly is the innovation that can follow this money and business models that execute effectively will always be the winners, difference-makers, and innovators.

ICO’s are helping to bring blockchain technology to the forefront of industries and, that alone, makes them a powerful and important development. With time and transparency, just maybe this new way of funding companies can remain fully decentralized and self-regulated, in direct contrast to most existing financial models.