Santander Group has launched an innovation competition for early-stage blockchain startups.

The event will help it identify, encourage and potentially support young companies using distributed ledger technology for financial services' internal processes and operations, it said in a Tuesday news release. It also aims to highlight areas with potential for improvement like mortgage processing, trade finance and asset leasing. Santander InnoVentures, the Spanish bank's $100 million venture capital fund, is hosting the challenge with Onevest, a crowdfunding site.

"Distributed ledger technologies will create huge value for customers, banks and entrepreneurs who create new businesses around it," Mariano Belinky, managing partner of Santander InnoVentures, said in the release. "The challenge will spark and accelerate that process for fintech startups."

Santander also highlighted distributed ledger technology as something that banks could implement to streamline centralized clearing processes earlier this year.

The winning company will receive $15,000 in funding. Santander market and technology experts and Onevest advisors will also mentor the winning company as it prepares its funding pitch to private angel investor community.

A panel of blockchain technology experts will select the participants from a shortlist of the total entrants. The event is set to take place in New York in January.