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Santander Bank to Launch Blockchain Challenge

Op-ed - Santander Bank to Launch Blockchain Challenge

Santander Innoventures, the $100 million fintech venture capital fund of multi-billion dollar Spanish banking group Santander, has partnered with startup agency OneVest to run a Distributed Ledger (DL) Challenge for early-stage startups.

Specifically, the bank will be actively searching for blockchain-based startups targeting mortgage processing, trade finance and asset leasing, and technologies which could help the bank bridge conventional payment systems with decentralized payment networks like the blockchain.

“Distributed ledger technologies will create huge value for customers, banks and entrepreneurs who create new businesses around it. The Challenge will spark and accelerate that process for fintech startups,” announced Santander InnoVentures managing partner Mariano Belinky.

The DL Challenge will be one of many financial technology initiatives the bank will direct, as announced during its participation in the tech industry WebSummit event in Dublin.

The winner will receive a US$15,000 grand prize and guaranteed investment from the bank’s venture capital fund. Other promising startups will also receive the opportunity to pitch for potential investment from its partnering venture capital funds and angel investors.

Prior to today’s announcement, Santander Group recently joined other global strategic investors to lead Ripple’s $32 million Series A funding round. The bank aims to maintain close relationships with Ripple Labs and its blockchain-based startups to explore potential use-cases of the blockchain technology in the traditional financial sector.

The blockchain technology could help banks cut between US$15-20 billion annually by 2022, the bank explains. The transparency and solid security protocols of the distributed ledger technology could reduce bank’s infrastructure costs in securities trading, asset settlement and regulatory compliance.