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Gifi lets you hide money for your friends to encourage Foursquare check-ins

Payment service Venmo announced today that it has launched Gifi, its newest iPhone app that allows users to leave money at various Foursquare check-in locations for their friends to find. The app is available in the Apple app store now.

The company made the announcement at the TechCrunch Disrupt event in San Francisco.

Users can link their bank accounts or credit cards to Gifi to leave money at any Foursquare check-in location, with the option of writing a clue for their friends to help find the hidden booty. Users can also write a message to the finder after they discover the cash.

Those on the receiving end of the money do not need Gifi. They only need to check in at Foursquare — though the company didn’t make clear how those users would receive the money outside of the Gifi app.

While real money is the only transaction medium available today, Gifi co-creator Andrew Kortina said the app would probably expand into other forms of currency like Facebook Credits. The service is also only configured for Foursquare but will eventually expand to other location-based apps like Facebook Places, he said.

The new app seems like a way to expand the use of location-based services by “game-ifying” them, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case, Kortina said. Gifi users can hide the money without any kind of clue or note, taking the “game” element out of Gifi and leaving it as just another way to surprise and connect friends, he said.

Gifi comes out of Philadelphia, Penn.-based Venmo, which gives users the ability to send money to their friends through a text message and broadcast it to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Development of Gifi began in January, and Venmo has raised $1.2 for the app.

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