An Australian blockchain-based peer-to-peer electricity trading startup is on the receiving end of criticism for rewarding bounty hunters who used unscrupulous means to drive interest in its crypto token.

According to the Financial Review, Power Ledger has been criticized for allocating free tokens to bounty hunters who made exaggerated or false claims regarding the startup with a view of increasing the uptake of the Australian crypto firm’s tokens.

Some of the exaggerated or misleading claims included stating that the startup had drawn the interest of the renowned clean energy advocate and billionaire founder of Tesla, Elon Musk, who was keen on revolutionizing the retail electricity sector.

Currently, Power Ledger’s token, POWR, is trading around 20% below the issue price and has a market cap of over US$30 million.

‘Not our Fault’

Power Ledger has defended itself, arguing that it only used the bounty hunters because the startup wanted to create “grassroots support for the currency sale.” According to Power Ledger, 1.5 million tokens were set aside for the bounty hunters.

Per Dr. Jemma Green, the chairman and co-founder of Power Ledger, the startup had no way of supervising the behavior of the bounty hunters:

Rewards were offered to community members to share our project with their own networks. The means by which they did so were outside of our control, and we made it clear that our core supporters who believed in the project and the future of renewable energy were the main audience for this program.

The criticisms that have been leveled against Power Ledger have, however, not dissuaded the P2P energy-trading startup from its mission. Earlier this month, a trial for trading solar power in the Australian coastal city of Fremantle on a blockchain-based platform provided by Power Ledger kicked off successfully.

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Australia: Power Ledger’s Blockchain Energy Platform Goes Live in Fremantle https://www.ccn.com/australia-power-ledgers-blockchain-energy-platform-goes-live-in-fremantle/ 

Australia: Power Ledger’s Blockchain Energy Service is Live in Fremantle

Australia’s coastal city of Fremantle has kicked off a trial that will allow some residents to trade solar power on a blockchain-based platform provided by renewable energy-focused crypto startup…

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This enabled about 40 households in the coastal city to determine both the buying and selling price of renewable electricity generated on their rooftops.

A ‘World First’

At the time, the Minister for Finance, Energy and Aboriginal Affairs in the government of Western Australia, Ben Wyatt, dubbed the trial a “world first:”

The trial represents an innovative solution to virtual energy trading that may have implications for energy utilities working to balance energy supply and demand all over the world. These households are believed to be the first in the world to be taking part in an active, billed, peer-to-peer trading trial that allows them to effectively buy and sell solar energy generated by their rooftop system across the grid.

Across the Pacific, Power Ledger also inked a deal with energy supplier American PowerNet last month and this saw the Australian crypto startup deploy its blockchain-based electricity trading platform, xGrid, at the headquarters of the U.S. utility in Pennsylvania.

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Australia’s coastal city of Fremantle has kicked off a trial that will allow some residents to trade solar power on a blockchain-based platform provided by renewable energy-focused crypto startup Power Ledger.

According to the Minister for Finance, Energy and Aboriginal Affairs in the government of Western Australia, Ben Wyatt, around 40 households in Fremantle will participate in the trial that will end next year in June.

Efficient Balancing of Supply and Demand

During the trial, households will enjoy the flexibility of determining the price at which they are willing to purchase and sell solar power for and then conduct the transactions on a blockchain-enabled platform.

“The trial represents an innovative solution to virtual energy trading that may have implications for energy utilities working to balance energy supply and demand all over the world,” Wyatt said in a statement. “These households are believed to be the first in the world to be taking part in an active, billed, peer-to-peer trading trial that allows them to effectively buy and sell solar energy generated by their rooftop system across the grid.”

The trial is part of the RENeW Nexus Project that has brought together various entities including Power Ledger. The RENeW Nexus project was initiated with a view of exploring how future cities can use blockchain technology and big data to integrate distributed energy as well as water systems infrastructure.

Power Ledger in the United States

This comes less than a month since Power Ledger made a foray in the biggest wholesale electricity market in the United States by inking a deal with energy supplier American PowerNet. The deal allowed Power Ledger to deploy its blockchain-based peer-to-peer renewable energy trading platform at the electricity provider’s headquarters in the state of Pennsylvania.

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Aussie Crypto Startup Power Ledger Brings P2P Energy Trading to Largest US Market https://www.ccn.com/aussie-crypto-startup-power-ledger-brings-p2p-energy-trading-to-largest-us-market/ 

Aussie Crypto Startup Power Ledger Brings P2P Energy Trading to Largest US Market

News today sees notable blockchain project Power Ledger launching its peer-to-peer trading product for renewable energy. Power Ledger will launch with American PowerNet at their home base in Pennsy…

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As CCN reported at the time, the initiative enabled the solar power generated on the rooftops and carports at the headquarters of American PowerNet to be distributed to the surrounding businesses using Power Ledger’s xGrid platform.

“Rather than just dump our excess solar power on to the grid, we’re thrilled we can now provide clean, sustainable power to our neighbors,” CCN quoted American PowerNet’s president, Scott Helm, as having said.

A month prior, Power Ledger had won the 2018 edition of Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC), a competition organized by the billionaire founder of Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson, to equip techpreneurs with the necessary tools required for their success. The startup, which raised approximately AUD$34 million in an initial coin offering last year in October, received financial endorsements totaling millions of dollars after winning the XTC 2018.

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Rick Klink, a top fintech executive from Melbourne, is now heading up the Malta Digital Exchange, a company that is about to launch a security token exchange.

 

Rick Klink, a top Australian fintech executive, has joined Malta Digital Exchange (MDX), a security token exchange which is about to launch, as its CEO, MDX said in a statement. Klink, who has founded Paritech, which develops stock market brokerage systems, and Open Markets, the largest independent trading platform in Australia with an annual trading volume of over A$50 billion, will integrate the technologies from his companies into MDX.

Malta Digital Exchange plans to become a preferred security token exchange by both investors and token issuers, aiming to ensure a higher degree of market efficiency, liquidity, accessibility, and transparency.

Security tokens represent a digital form of securities, generally stored on a type of distributed ledger technology (DLT), of which blockchain is the most popular. The tokens can be backed by ownership of private equity, real estate or other real-world assets.

Besides security tokens, Malta Digital Exchange intends to operate with virtual financial assets (VFA), thus becoming a multi-asset digital exchange. The company picked Malta as the location for its headquarters and business operations given the countrys blockchain-friendly legal and regulatory framework.

It’s a very exciting time in the digital assets space with the rapid emergence of security tokens. Malta Digital Exchange is at the forefront of the current Capital Markets 2.0 wave, Klink commented.

The crypto and blockchain industry noticed an impressive expansion last year. Today, the markets are moving towards regulation, which should ensure a safe ecosystem for both retail and institutional investors.

Some countries, such as Malta, are speeding up blockchain adoption by developing favorable laws. The Maltese government is working on three crypto and blockchain laws.

MDX will use the technology provided by Paritech, which develops and integrates low touch and affordable stock market brokerage systems. Some of the exchanges features will be instant order matching T+0, limited and unlimited orders, minimum and partial executions, and adjustable and special fees.

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A blockchain developed by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, in collaboration with the University of Sydney, has completed a global test on Amazon’s ubiquitous cloud computing network to process 30,000 transactions

As reported yesterday, the ‘Red Belly Blockchain’ – developed jointly by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Concurrent System Research Group (CSRG) at the University of Sydney – was put to use in a successful trial on Amazon Web Services (AWS), a popular cloud infrastructure provider.

While the blockchain has previously been tested to scale substantially – up to 660,000 transactions per second– on a single localized network of 300 machines, the full scale of its trial on AWS has now been revealed.

Deployed across 1,000 virtual machines in 14 of 18 geographic regions serviced by AWS, “a benchmark was set by sending 30,000 transactions per second from different geographic regions, demonstrating an average transaction latency of three seconds with 1,000 replicas”, a CSIRO announcement confirmed.

The geographical locations of the nodes running the blockchain include North America, South America, Europe and the Asia Pacific (Sydney).

Fundamentally, the experiment was to showcase the Red Belly Blockchain’s scalability while retaining the technology’s core characteristics in security and speeds, the agency said. Their blockchain relies on a unique consensus mechanism that performs and scales without adhering to the ‘proof of work’ mechanism used by popular public blockchains like bitcoin and ethereum.

“Real-world applications of blockchain have been struggling to get off the ground due to issues with energy consumption and complexities induced by the proof of work,” Dr Vincent Gramoli, senior researcher at CSIRO’s Data61,” Dr Vincent Gramoli, senior researcher at Data61 and head of the university research group said.

He added:

“The deployment of Red Belly Blockchain on AWS shows the unique scalability and strength of the next generation ledger technology in a global context.”

Concurrently, the CSIRO is also part of a data consortium with technology giant IBM that is actively developing a large-scale, cross-industry blockchain platform dubbed the Australian National Blockchain (ANB). The nationwide blockchain platform will be powered by smart contracts.

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Just like has already happened with the US Dollar and the Euro, among others, Australia is about to get its first Aussie-backed stablecoin.

This will be made possible by a partnership between Bit Trade, one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges in Australia, and blockchain employment platform, Emparta. The two firms will collaborate in designing and launching the stablecoin which is expected to be launched next year.

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We’re partnering with @Emparta to launch Australia’s first currency-backed ! Find out more. https://btrade.io/site/blog/partnership-announcement/2018/09/21/partnership-with-emparta-first-australian-dollar-stablecoin/ 

We’re partnering with Emparta to build and launch Australia’s first Aussie dollar-backed stablecoin

Learn about our partnership with Emparta to build and launch Australia’s first Aussie dollar-backed stablecoin along with their blockchain infrastructure for a Smart Employment Platform

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According to the managing director of Bit Trade, Jonathon Miller, the AUD-backed stablecoin will fill a gap that exists in the market as it will act as a buffer against the wild fluctuations associated with cryptocurrencies.

“Stablecoins solve one of the principal issues that may drive investors seeking steady returns and merchants that currently accept traditional currency away from digital currencies: volatility,” wrote Miller in a statement. “We believe that stablecoins will boost trust, accelerate wide-spread adoption, and could function as the backbone of blockchain-based financial applications, especially here in Australia given the favourable regulatory environment.”

Prototype Phase

The two firms are currently working on a prototype which will be completed in a period of a little over a month. Per Emparta, full redeemability on demand will be one of the key differences that will exist between the AUD-backed stable coin and the world’s best known stable coin, Tether. Emparta also revealed in a Medium blog post that the stablecoin’s initial treasury will be located in the continent-cum-country.

“The first treasury will be based in Australia to support the first partner platforms – Bit Trade and Emparta Payments – and deliver the first Australian Dollar backed stablecoin,” wrote Emparta.

The AUD-backed stablecoin comes less than a fortnight since Gemini, a cryptocurrency exchange started by the Winklevoss twins announced a USD-backed stablecoin. While making the announcement Gemini made it clear that it was aiming to supplant Tether by offering the very qualityTether has been accused of lacking – a ‘trusted and regulated digital representation of the U.S. dollar on the blockchain’.

Stablecoin Naysayer

However, stablecoins have not been greeted warmly in all quarters despite serving as a bridge between fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies. For instance, soon after the announcement by Gemini, Barry Eichengreen, a professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, questioned the viability of stablecoins.

According to Eichengreen, stablecoins which are fully collateralized involve a great deal of expense for the issuing firm since every unit of the stablecoin has to be backed by an equivalent of the asset that it’s pegged to. The semi-collateralized ones, on the other hand, are prone to the equivalent of a bank deposit run in the event of loss of faith and trust in the issuing institution.

Despite these arguments, it is highly unlikely that the AUD-backed stablecoin by Bit Trade and Emparta will be the last one the crypto world will ever hear of.

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A top Australian financial regulator has indicated it will take a new approach when regulating cryptocurrency exchanges, as well as tighten scrutiny of initial coin offerings (ICOs),.

In its a corporate plan for 2018–2022, released Friday, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) outlined its areas of focus for the period. Top of that list is to continue “monitoring threats of harm from emerging products” such as ICOs and cryptocurrencies.

Further, for 2018 and 2019, ASIC said it is developing a new framework that will apply “the principles for regulating market infrastructure providers to crypto exchanges” and will intervene where “there is poor behavior and potential harm to consumers and investors.”

According to the ASIC website, its current market infrastructure principals include a licensing scheme, via which it seeks to supervise financial market operators, settlement facilities, derivative trading and market participants.

The planned framework follows cross-department efforts the ASIC has been taking to implement supervisory approaches, such as dispatching staff onsite in financial institutions related to emerging tech including cryptocurrency, ASIC indicated.

Currently, cryptocurrency exchanges in Australia are required to comply with know-your-customer and anti-money laundering standards enforced by Austrac, the country’s financial intelligence agency.

ASIC, however, has not issued any pertinent regulation for crypto exchanges, but did published guidelines last year for businesses wishing to conduct ICOs.

The plan appears a timely one, as the country has already seen one public firm seeking to raise capital via a token sale to fund the launch of a cryptocurrency exchange.

As CoinDesk reported this week, an IT firm called Byte Power Group has already started selling its proprietary tokens to private investors in Australia and Singapore in an effort to raise a total of $15 million.

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The Australian government has granted A$2.25 million ($1.7 million) to the Sustainable Sugar Project, Foodnavigator-Asia reports July 30.

The Sustainable Sugar Project, led by the Queensland Cane Growers Organization, will use blockchain technology to track the provenance of sugar supplies to Australia. The initiative known as the Smart Cane Best Management Practice (BMP) is part of a sugar industry push for better sustainability and traceability.

Blockchain technology will purportedly allow buyers to clearly see where sugarcane comes from and prove the provenance and sustainability of the farm. Canegrowers told Foodnavigator-Asia:

“Blockchain’s main attribute is that it’s a secure database in which all transactions are recorded and visible… the quality sugar produced from the sustainably-grown cane can be traced back through the chain, giving consumers confidence in what they are buying.”

For the initiative, industry experts and sugarcane farmers collaborated on best practices and industry standards based on productivity, sustainability, and profitability.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources stated that large buyers of sugar could pay more in the future for sustainable sugar, as customers increasingly demand sustainably-sourced products. Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said:

“This technology would provide assurances around the sustainability of our sugar and ensure cane farmers using sustainable practices can attract a premium for their product.”

Blockchain technology has proven to be a boon for logistics and supply chain applications, and is widely regarded as a cheaper and more efficient way to track complex supply chains globally.

Today, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia announced that it completed a successful trade of 17 tons of almonds to Europe using blockchain technology. The platform, which was part of a collaborative effort of five “supply chain leaders,” is underpinned by distributed ledger technology (DLT), Internet of Things (IoT), and smart contracts.

Earlier this month, U.S. computer technology firm Oracle released its blockchain platform focusing on transaction efficiency and supply chain authentication. Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service uses Hyperledger Fabric as its basis and launched following a series of trials with banking, business, and government clients.