Crypto-finance company Epiphyte has won the SWIFT Innotribe Startup Competition at the Sibos 2014 technology and innovation trade show in Boston.

The company earned the competition’s $50,000 ‘Top Startup’ award with cBridge, its first crypto product targeted at international banking and financial institutions.

Epiphyte CEO and founder Edan Yago said it was “very gratifying” to win the prize at the world’s largest banking convention. He added that banks, bitcoin and other distributed ledger systems have a lot to learn from each other.

Epiphyte specialises in distributed ledger solutions for the mainstream financial system with the broader goal of connecting banking networks with cryptocurrency networks.

Following the win, Yago said:

“We have spent the last year and a half working with banks to help them integrate distributed ledger and block chain based technologies in a low-risk and compliant way. We are building the bridge between established finance and cryptofinance.”

Block chain tech for banks

Epiphyte’s cBridge beat out 280 competing FinTech startups. The criteria were simple: judges were asked to determine the likeliest startup to have the biggest impact on the future of the financial industry.

Each of the semi-finalists pitched their ideas to audiences that would decide which of the startups would be invited to the Sibos Grand Finale at Sibos for global exposure and receive the cash prize.

Kevin Johnson, SWIFT Innotribe Startup Challenge manager, suggested that while his product may have sold itself, Yago’s pitch to the attendees was equally compelling, saying:

“I feel Epiphyte’s pitch at the startup competition was voted by the audience as the winner, due to the connection he made to the audience, showing how they can benefit from this technology and the business model.”

Epiphyte technology allows banks to facilitate consumer-to-merchant payments using cryptocurrencies. Bank customers can perform the transactions in familiar fiat currencies like dollars and euros, and the banks themselves do not have to hold cryptocurrencies.

New payment rail

Jo Lang, Epiphyte’s product lead and co-founder, said as many as 500 million bank customers are now able to make purchases using this new payment rail.

“Epiphyte is helping our banking customers see additional revenue by providing a service that a growing number of customers want,” said Lang.

The solution was designed to offer a low level of risk and compliance. Banks can use Epiphyte software to integrate crptocurrencies with traditional protocols like SWIFT.

The company, founded in 2013, plans to roll out a pilot implementation of its new product sometime in the next few months.

This article was co-authored by Stan Higgins

Images via Epiphyte; Shutterstock

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