Global banking giant Santander has commissioned a study investigating the potential impact of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on the banking sector.
As the 43rd largest company in the world, the multinational megabank has branches on five continents and upwards of 180,000 employees.
Santander's study, titled Bitcoin's Impact on Banks, is being run by insight network Yegii, which is now recruiting experts in the field. The project's budget is $5,000 and the stage one deadline is 27th August 2014. The report is due to be finalised in late September.
In a company post, Yegii outlined the mixture of candidates it is searching for:
"The dream team would be multidisciplinary: a bitcoin expert, a management expert, a project manager, a data scientist/scientist/engineer, a banker, an academic, and a student with lots of energy, ideally from different continents, and to include both believers and sceptics."
The bitcoin report was commissioned by Julio Faura, head of corporate development at Santander.
Faura told Yegii founder Trond Undheim that the bank is looking for "additional outside perspectives" on the topic of bitcoin. Faura added that acquiring consulting services from top tier firms would be exciting, but getting an independent multidisciplinary perspective would be of particular interest to the bank.
The Santander Group is one of the largest and oldest banking institutions on the continent. It was founded in 1857 and last year it reported revenue of €43bn.
The bank's total assets are estimated at €1.27tn. The group owns dozens of banks in Europe, alongside a number in the Americas.
Banks and bitcoin studies
The Santander Group is not the first bank to commission a study focused on cryptocurrencies.
Last year the National Australia Bank published a brief research paper on the matter which tried to explain the basics of bitcoin. It concluded that it would take "many more years" for the currency to achieve mainstream acceptance.
Dutch banking company ING also released a video report which debated whether bitcoin meets the traditional definition of money.
Just last month, the World Bank published a policy research working paper on Ponzi schemes, which described bitcoin as a "naturally occurring Ponzi". The report found that bitcoin had no characteristics of a deliberate Ponzi scheme, but was a "market-driven bubble" much like gold or real estate bubbles witnessed in the past.
Hat tip to Hashreport