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Snapchat logo.

Snapchat logo.

TechCrunch reports today that photo-messaging app Snapchat has filed two online trademarks for peer-to-peer payments. Although the filings don’t mention bitcoin or cryptocurrency, they do outline a plan to provide electronic funds transfers in very broad terms. The two trademarks consist of “application software for processing electronic payments” and a system of “electronic transfer of money for others; providing electronic processing of electronic funds transfer, ACH, credit card, debit card, electronic check and electronic, mobile and online payments.”

Although it may be a stretch to suggest that bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies are a part of this plan, it’s not difficult to see how such transfers would work. Users could simply connect their Snapchat accounts to a service like Coinbase, or preload a special wallet. By taking a cut of the payments, Snapchat could gain significant revenue. Like many free, popular applications, Snapchat has struggled to find a clear path for monetizing its platform. As TechCrunch speculates:

If Snapchat does get into payments, it might allow friends to send cash back and forth, or buy things online with a credit card registered in its app, similar to Venmo. By taking a small fee on payments, it could earn money without forcing users to watch interruptive ads, buy filters, or have their experience cluttered with Our Stories from brands.

A Snapchat-based bitcoin wallet could be a viable option for micropayments and peer-to-peer payments, particularly among those who are privacy minded. The app’s whole premise — photo messages that disappear after being seen — could provide an interesting opportunity for payment notifications. Or, at TechCrunch suggests, Snapchat may simply have filed the trademark to keep the option open for future possibilities.

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