Speaking to Fintech Business, US-based Snapcard co-founder and chief executive Michael Dunworth said his company allows people to make payments that interact with the blockchain.

Mr Dunworth, an Australian who left his job at Midwinter to move to Silicon Valley and found Snapcard in 2013, said his company is a direct competitor with the payments service SWIFT.

While Snapcard allows people to make payments in bitcoin, the company's most popular product is MassPay, he said.

According to the start-up's website, MassPay can "instantly send cross-border payments to a phone number or email address".

Snapcard works with publicly traded companies in North America and China, and is also licensed in Europe and Brazil, Mr Dunworth said.

"Swift takes 24-48 hours for the funds to hit the recipient’s bank account and they usually get charged about 2-4 per cent in exchange conversion fees," he said.

"With Snapcard it will probably cost you on the higher end about 25 basis points and your money will be there usually in a couple of hours."

The biggest stumbling block so far for Snapcard has been convincing financial services players of the legitimacy of the blockchain, he conceded.

"[They tend to say] 'We’ll see what our bank says about it', or 'We’ll talk to our compliance team. Because they’re really really nervous about this new technology," Mr Dunworth said.

"Now the really smart guys get into it really quickly. The best in the business will be throwing resources at it.

"You look at companies like Paypal that made very public announcements of their support of bitcoin and the blockchain. Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Bank of America – these guys are pouring money into blockchain technology," he added.