Report: Australia’s Blockchain-Based Energy Startup Draws Flak for Paying “Spruikers”

Power Ledger’s community and marketing manager Aimie Rigas sets the record straight regarding certain inaccuracies and misconceptions reported by the Australian Financial Review on December 27. She clarifies that the Community Advocate program is not linked to the bounty program of Power Ledger’s token-production affair way back in 2017, indicating that the two programs also use two different models. Australian Financial Review has earlier reported about what they call bounty hunters or “spruikers.” These spruikers are never part of the Community Advocate Program and that Power Ledger no longer pays them. Rigas explains that the bounty program “was audited to ensure no fake, duplicate or misleading accounts received rewards.”

According to the December 27 report by the Australian Financial Review, Blockchain-based and crypto energy trading platform Power Ledger has received much flak for rewarding spruikers, an Australian term for people who exaggerate in order to sell products. The so-called spruikers have purportedly “made misleading or exaggerated claims” online regarding the energy-trading company’s digital currency, POWR.

Community members are paid to promote Power Ledger on social media, including activities like answering questions, rectifying misinformation, spotting scams, initiating worthwhile discussions concerning the company’s initiatives, and offering useful feedback in the Community Advocate program. Each month, Power Ledger selects a Community Advocate “champion” since its launch in July.

Unfortunately, a number of the members appear to have decided to fly solo and participate in spruiking, a regulated activity in Australia. New South Wales-headquartered Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has released an “information sheet” that serves as a guideline for parties that provide initial coin offerings (ICOs) and other crypto-based ventures like digital currency promotion. The ASIC underscores:

“Care should be taken to ensure promotional communications about any crypto-currency or ICO do not mislead or deceive potential consumers and do not contain false information.”

In addition, ASIC states that spruikers like the former Power Ledger supporters “should disclose they are being rewarded by the company.” While Power Ledger’s Community Advocate is publicly released, it remains uncertain if participants in the project are required to reveal their connection with the company.

John Price, the commissioner of ASIC adds:

“We are very focused on disclosure in this area.”

Even though the worries expressed by ASIC are quite logical, Power Ledger states that it basically does not have control as to what manner its advocates promote POWR. Power Ledger chairman and co-founder Jemma Green points out:

“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.”