PayPal's $100,000 Battle Hack competition wants cool social apps

PayPal this week kicked off a global software-coding competition called Battle Hack, challenging software developers to devise on their own a socially useful application that makes use of PayPal payment processing. The grand prize: $100,000.

"The application has to both incorporate the PayPal API and benefit the local community -- anything from charity to improving traffic," says a PayPal spokesperson about the competition, which starts in Berlin on June 8. "PayPal is encouraging developers to get creative with their applications. The winners are chosen by a panel of judges from PayPal in their cities."

[ IN THE NEWS:PayPal denies teenager reward for finding website bug]

Besides Berlin, other cities where PayPal is holding the Battle Hack competition include New York City, Tel Aviv, Miami, Moscow, Austin, London, Washington, D.C., Seattle and Barcelona. PayPal competition expects software coders to appear at a designated site in each city and spend 24 hours showing how they alone or with a team of up to four can program an application that creatively makes use of the PayPal API for a socially useful purpose.

PayPal will award first place to one team of maximum four members at each Battle Hack city. "Each winning team will earn a spot to travel to Silicon Valley to compete in the Battle Hack World Finals," the PayPal spokesperson said, for a chance at the $100,000 prize and other prizes. Participants retain the rights to the applications they enter in the competition. PayPal said this is the first such global "hackathon" it's ever held.

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: @MessmerE. Email:

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