citi mobile challenge

Citi has announced the winners of its Citi Mobile Challenge in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Among the winners, GetGems, a mobile bitcoin wallet and messaging app, received the title of the “Most Visionary Social Media Solution,” while Billon, a peer-to-peer blockchain-based payment solution, was named the “Most Innovative Blockchain Solution.”

Launched in February, the Citi Mobile Challenge in EMEA is a global initiative that seeks to encourage developers from around the world to build innovative solutions. Additionally, these developers will have the opportunity to take their technologies into production with the bank’s support.

The challenge, which gathered teams from 18 countries and 77 working prototypes, ended on May 28, with the announcement of the winners.

“Selecting the top innovations was a challenge,” Heather Cox, Chief Client Experience, Digital and Marketing Officer for Global Consumer Banking at Citi, said in a release. “We invited technology developers to reimagine digital banking and they went far beyond.”

She emphasized:

“The quality of the ideas was exceptional and we saw a tremendous variety of solutions at our Demo Days in Nairobi, Jerusalem, Warsaw and London. These developers can help us transform banking and fuel progress across other industries. We are so excited to work with them.”

The winners, which were chosen from more than 700 registrations from 101 countries, were recognized for “creating a truly distinctive client experience,” according to Jim Cowles, CEO at Citi for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Referring to the booming fintech space, Cowles said:

“As banks continue to redefine themselves, they must work with the broader FinTech community to discover fresh ideas that can help create the client experience of tomorrow. That’s why we’re here and that is what will help determine our long-term success.”

Citi isn’t the only bank to be interested in financial innovations and blockchain technology. Startupbootcamp Fintech, an accelerator backed by Singapore’s central bank and DBS Bank, the largest bank in Southeast Asia, announced in April it has selected three blockchain startups to join its 2015 program.

Similarly to Citi, Startupbootcamp Fintech is offering to its finalists, a significant amount of seed funding, extensive mentorship from industry leaders, exposure to venture capital firms and angel investors, and support to launch their product to global markets.

On the other hand, banks such as Goldman Sachs, USAA and BBVA, had chosen to massively invest in the likes of Circles and Coinbase.