Streamed live from Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island, Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) has announced the 2018 winner of its fourth annual competition. This year’s crown has gone to Power Ledger, the Aussie startup using blockchain to offer a unique approach to renewable energy access.

The challenge is intended to provide “visibility, resources, and gives competitors the ability to grow exponentially in scale and knowledge at a low to no incremental cost”, giving entrepreneurs a chance to bring their innovative ideas to the attention of the general public.

As well as having the opportunity to publicly pitch their ventures at The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the world’s largest technology trade show, the three finalists were invited to Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands Necker Island for the XTC Finals on October 19th.

The winner is founded by Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson, along with a panel of judges, including Bitfury co-founder Valery Vavilov, United Arab Emirates’ Prince Zayed Suroor and head of marketing at Zoom Communications Janine Pelosi.

How Power Ledger uses blockchain to transform renewable energy

Narrowed down from hundreds of ideas, Power Ledger is a software company from Perth, Australia, that uses blockchain technology to enhance the adoption and accessibility of clean energy worldwide.

Using crypto tokens, Power Ledger has developed a platform through which households can trade the renewable energy that they generate (for example, through solar panels or wind farms). This means that rather than relying on energy companies or a national grid, consumers can buy and sell renewable energy directly, thus creating a decentralised system.

The other finalists were Owlet Baby Care, which has developed a device that tracks babies’ oxygen and heart rate while asleep, and Revl, an video editing company that utilises artificial intelligence to edit footage automatically.

Previous challenge winners have included Vantage Robotics, which has now brought drones with safety cages around their propellers and a structure designed to breaks apart in the event of a collision to prevent injury, to the market. Last year, it was the first drone to be granted permission to fly up to 150 feet above crowd people, which was used by CNN to gather news.