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Blockchain Energy Trading Startup Power Ledger Raises $17M In Cryptocurrency 'ICO'

GREENTECH MEDIA — Power Ledger, an Australian startup that’s seeking to use blockchain technology to create a peer-to-peer renewable energy network, is in the midst of raising tens of millions of dollars in what may be the first “cryptocurrency” fundraising effort in the energy space.

On Sunday, the Perth-based startup launched its first sale, or "initial coin offering" (ICO), of Power Ledger POWR tokens - units of ownership of the company traded on the Ethereum cryptocurrency network. Within 72 hours, the company sold out of the 100 million POWRs offered in a public presale, in which the price per token was set, for a total of about $17 million.

Power Ledger will be offering another 150 million POWRs on Friday, Sept. 8 in an uncapped public offer, meaning that the tokens’ final price will be determined by the market.

It’s “not unreasonable to expect” that this could bring the startup’s virtual funding to between $20 million and $30 million, co-founder and managing director David Martin told Smart Company. That's not as much as the $100 million the company had been predicting last month, but still a significant crowdfunding event.

These POWRs, in turn, are tradable on the Ethereum blockchain, and can also be converted to Sparkz, the currency that Power Ledger has set up for its users to trade electricity.

According to Power Ledger’s white paper (PDF), these trades can be set up in different ways, depending on the needs of those employing them -- in the case of its current projects, trading units of self-generated solar power or self-stored battery energy. In this sense, Power Ledger’s new raise has seeded the market for its solar trading concept, just now being rolled out in pilot projects in Australia and New Zealand.