he SWIFT Innotribe Startup Competition at Sibos 2014 was won by Epiphyte, a cryptocurrency finance company providing real-world solutions for using existing banking infrastructure to add in cryptocurrency payments.

The prize for the award is a substantial US$50,000, and the technology company won the Top Startup award with its product cBridge. cBridge is a cryptocurrency product for global banking and finance firms, offering distributed ledger solutions for mainstream finance. Epiphyte’s ultimate goal is to link banks with cryptocurrency networks, hence the name ‘cBridge’.

The technology allows banks to allow consumer-to-merchant payments via cryptocurrencies, but keeping cryptocurrencies out of banks by doing the transactions in fiat. This brings the potential for the banking system to participate in bitcoin transactions, with hundreds of millions of customers possibly being offered new options in banking, whilst still not excluding the banks. This means banks and cryptocurrencies can be joined, should it be so desired.

In the running for the award were almost 300 other startups, with criteria for the winners being ‘the startup likeliest to have the biggest impact on the future of the finance industry’. Every semi-finalist was able to pitch their idea to an audience to be considered as a finalist at the Sibos Grand Finale. This event also provided exposure along with the prize.

SWIFT is the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, a member-owned cooperative that connects banks globally. Over 10,500 banking organisations, securities institutions and corporate customers in hundreds of countries use this service for international money transfer. Sibos is a large finance industry conference held in September 2014 in Boston.