American banking behemoth Citigroup earlier revealed that it has been looking at the Bitcoin’s distributed ledger technology for the last few years, and has developed three blockchains and a test currency called Citicoin to pass through them in a bid to create a framework parallel to the Bitcoin and the blockchain.
And now, according to South China Morning Post, Citigroup has launched a hunt for the most promising fintech innovators in Hong Kong and APAC with its new accelerator program called Citi Mobile Challenge Asia-Pacific. The registration for the upcoming contest will begin from August 19 and end on September 2.
The accelerator program is a part of Citi’s global initiative to unearth potentially-strong startups to transform the banking operations.
Weber Lo, Citi’s Chief Executive for Hong Kong and Macau, said “Asia is home to a fast-growing fintech community, and this initiative will help accelerate and uncover new and exciting opportunities for Citi to develop transformational approaches to banking.”
About 20 groups will be invited to demonstration events in Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, and Bangalore, where they will be judged by a panel of industry experts. The finalists will receive US$100,000 in cash awards and services from a range of sponsors.
“Citi Mobile Challenge has helped us connect with top developers across the world, and we are excited to bring this opportunity to Asia-Pacific,” said Lo.
However, Citi is a little late to the party. Financial institutions such as Barclays, DBS, and Accenture have already hosted their accelerator programs. Barclays Accelerator program saw Bitcoin exchange Safello partnering with the bank. DBS sponsored a code fest in March called DBS Blockchain Hack wherein participants had to develop products for the banking and the financial sector using the blockchain technology. Accenture’s FinTech Innovation Lab Asia Pacific 2015 selected Hong Kong-based Bitcoin remittance platform BitSpark.
So, the big question is: Will another Bitcoin startup shine above all in the Citi Challenge?