The Europas, an annual award show dedicated to rewarding and recognising Europe’s hottest tech startups, will feature a “Best Virtual Currency Startup” category for the first time this year.

The event was founded by TechCrunch editor-at-large Mike Butcher, and includes more than 20 categories.

Speaking to CoinDesk, Butcher explained that the addition of a digital currency category to The Europas is indicative of the rise of the Bitcoin protocol and other virtual methods of payment.

Said Butcher:

“I think you’d have to live under a rock not to realise that digital currency is potentially one of the biggest tech trends in the last 20 years.”

Founded in 2009, the event also includes categories such as “Best E-Commerce Startup”, “Best Founder(s)” and “Fastest Rising Startup.” The event is known for having a special focus on Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Digital currency startups rise in prominence

Butcher told CoinDesk that there are a few key characteristics that define a quality digital currency startup.

This includes a clear message to the market, a robust technology platform and a sign that founders are committed to putting the product first.

As for the future of digital currency startups, Butcher remarked that a challenging marketplace like the one facing today’s businesses is actually good for development.

Butcher explained:

“It’s clear there is going to be growth then some consolidation. But, it’s an unpredictable sector, which is in part what makes it so interesting. Tech startups thrive in that kind of environment.”

This year’s judges

Judges for the event include investors, journalists, entrepreneurs and developers from across the tech industry.

This year, Butcher, Jemima Kiss, head of The Guardian’s tech team; Ben Holmes, a partner at Index Ventures; and Alice Zagury, CEO of tech startup accelerator TheFamily, have all been named as judges.

Nominations for The Europas are still open, with the deadline being this Friday, 11th April.

Image via HeisenbergMedia.com

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