San Francisco-based bitcoin wallet Coinbase has launched a hackathon contest for developers who want to “create something great” with bitcoin.

The BitHack competition winner will receive a $10,000 prize, while runners up will take home $5,000 and $3,000 respectively. These amounts will then converted into their bitcoin equivalent once the winners have been decided.

Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam said: “Bitcoin is the world’s most used alternative currency, and we want to inspire developers to build exciting solutions around it.”

The company is conducting the contest via its Bithackathon website and encourages developers of all nationalities to take part: “Since our app competition is run online, developers from around the world can participate and use our API for new, innovative solutions,” said Ehrsam.

coinbase

Late last year, Coinbase received $25m of venture capital funding in a round led by Andreessen Horowitz. The company has ambitions to become the Gmail of bitcoin, and its user-friendly interface and US banking partnership give it a competitive advantage over other wallets.

Ehrsam says that Coinbase is specifically looking for unique submissions. The company has interested in “something that is out of the box, both useful and easy to use, and is polished in detail. That’s what we’re looking for,” according to the co-founder.

Contest winners will need to submit, “an app that excels on all three criteria: creativity, usability, and execution,” said Ehrsam. He added:

“We’re excited about great developers all around the world coming up with things no one has ever thought of before.”

The BitHack competition is now open and will close in mid-March. Ehrsam says that Coinbase is leaving open the prospect of running developer contests on a more regular basis: “For now, this is a one-time thing. We’re looking forward to seeing how much interest there is for BitHack and then taking it from there,” said Ehrsam.

However, he added that Coinbase could run future contests focused on specific facets of the Coinbase API if things go well:  “There definitely could be if we run additional BitHacks in the future,” he said.

However, the company wants to foster, not stifle innovation – so Ehrsam is mindful of those implications: “We don’t want to limit developers too much,” he said.

A high-level introduction to Coinbase’s mission is available on the BitHack competition website. There is also a guide to getting started with BitHack, along with an outline of the competition’s rules. The deadline for submissions is 16th March.

Cash Image via Shutterstock

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