Yesterday Santander announced plans to run an awards ceremony on July 14 in the Decentraland metaverse for its Santander X Global Challenge | Blockchain. The six winners will receive €120,000 combined and join its entrepreneurship community.
The competition was run in association with Oxentia Foundation. It had 400 entries that have been whittled down to 20: ten startups and ten scale-ups. Projects covered a wide range of subjects, including privacy and security for blockchain networks, DeFi and tokenization, and web3 and the metaverse.
Craig Wright is pitching a CBDC solution
One of its finalists, nChain, is somewhat notorious. Its CTO is Craig Wright, who claims to be Satoshi Nakomoto, the creator of Bitcoin. The irony is that Bitcoin is intended to be trustless money, and NChain is pitching a central bank digital currency solution based on trusting central banks.
Other banks in the metaverse
Meanwhile, Santander is just the latest bank to join the web3 metaverse. The first was JP Morgan in February. Since then, numerous other financial services companies have joined, including HSBC, Standard Chartered, Siam Commercial Bank’s SCB 10X, Fidelity and Mastercard. All of them have either launched in Decentraland or The SandBox.
While Santander may be an early follower in the metaverse, it’s been at the forefront elsewhere in blockchain. It was the second to issue a regulated bond on the public Ethereum network.
Back to the blockchain challenge. The ten startup finalists for the Santander challenge are:
- Salus (Spain) – governance of health data for medical research
- Finteum (UK) – an interbank treasury platform for swaps and repos
- Prosperas (US) – enables lenders to qualify neglected people for credit
- Heimdall Technologies (Argentina) – tracks environmental regeneration
- Agrotoken (Argentina)- stable currency backed by agro-commodities
- Biztribution (Spain) – aims to revolutionize air travel retailing
- Rastra (Brazil) – consumer data NFTs in the form of a digital passport
- Win (Spain) – blockchain-backed investment in the sports industry
- SharpShark (Chile) – blockchain for intellectual property
- Proofmarked (UK) – cybersecurity, anti-phishing solution.
The ten scale-up finalists:
- nChain (UK)- helps central banks issue digital currency for citizens
- Xcapit (Argentina) – self-custodial wallet to invest in DeFi
- Validated ID (Spain) – decentralized digital IDs
- Zumo Enterprise (UK) — smart digital assets for fintechs, banks
- Origino (Argentina) – tokenization to track supply chains
- KornChain UK) – programmable digital currency
- Valora (US) – a crypto wallet for global payments, DeFi
- Almond Fintech (US) – blockchain for international fund transfers
- W2 Global Data (UK) – anonymous sharing of identity, age verification
- WishKnish (US) – an accounting technology platform.