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Applications open for Fintech Challenge Vietnam, focus on blockchain, KYC, e-payments

The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has launched the first-ever Fintech Challenge Vietnam in its efforts to foster innovation in financial services industry aimed at facilitating financial inclusion in the country, Vietnam Economic Times reported.

The launch comes on the heels of the annual conference organized by the SBV, Bank Training and Consultancy Institute (BTCI) and Startup Vietnam Foundation (SVF) with the theme “Banking & Fintech: Opportunities and Challenges.” Last month, the central bank, in collaboration with Microsoft Corporation, organized a Workshop on "Some issues of electronic money, virtual currencies and cloud computing."

The fintech challenge is open to fintech companies both inside and outside Vietnam. Its main focus is on fintech solutions that can help enhance the reach of financial services to the underserved and unbanked. It is particularly seeking companies who will collaborate with commercial banks to pilot and scale solutions in areas such as electronic payments, e-KYC (Know Your Customer), open APIs, blockchain and peer-to-peer lending.

The challenge is being organized by the central bank, in collaboration with the Mekong Business Initiative, a program funded by the Australian Government and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

“The Fintech Challenge Vietnam will create opportunities for Vietnam’s commercial banks to engage with FinTechs and to consider how they might take advantage of the technology and creative new approaches to expand financial services to the unbanked,” said Eric Sidgwick, ADB Country Director.

Applications are open until January 18, 2018. Successful applicants will qualify for a two-month incubation and mentoring program to improve their business models. They would also participate in a competitive “Pitch Session”, where they will showcase their solutions to a panel of banking and financial industry experts, and investors. The best among these will present their products and services at the 2018 Vietnam Fintech Day.

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