Venmo is an increasingly popular app used to transfer money between friends. What sets Venmo apart from other banking apps is its focus on the social aspect of making payments - the app displays a feed of recent transactions between your friends. This unique feature can reveal surprising insight into social structures. Many of us have noticed new friendships or relationships based on Venmo interactions.
Our web app seeks to delve further into the social structure behind Venmo, and present it in an interesting and user friendly way. We want to let regular Venmo users see the interesting connections revealed by their data. There are three main parts to our app: a visual network of your friends based on recent transactions, a "who are you dating" function, and a "predict your next payment" function.
The visual network displays Venmo transactions as links between people, with thicker lines representing more transactions. It is able to display a large number of interactions succinctly, giving it power to illustrate the social structure that is hinted at when scrolling through a Venmo feed. The visual network is based on a set of vertices and directed weighted edges between the vertices. It is displayed using an open source visualization tool from http://bl.ocks.org/mbostock
The "who are you dating" section is a fun way of highlighting Venmo's ability to find people that spend a lot of time with each other. This function displays the person with whom you have had the most transactions. In many cases, it has correctly identified couples!
The "predict your next payment" function uses your transaction history to predict who you will pay and for what. The person is chosen based on transaction frequency, but at random. The reason for the payment is created randomly from words in your memo history. The hypothetical transactions created in this way are often humorous, and illustrate the rich information stored in your Venmo history.
These three functions rely on a back-end interface through Venmo's API. This allows users to log in to their Venmo (through a secure portal) so that their data can be analysed by the app.