Amazon launches its own ‘Coins’ currency for Kindle Fire app purchases

by David Needle

May 13 2013

Amazon is now offering an ambitious new virtual currency called Coins that’s designed to simplify the purchase of apps, games and in-app items for Kindle Fire owners.

To help spark use of Coins, Amazon deposited 500 Coins (worth $5) in the accounts of all of its U.S. registered customers. The ecommerce giant said that means tens of millions of dollars’ worth of Coins have already been distributed for use.

Amazon customers will also be able to save up to 10% on bulk orders of Coins, so there is, for example, a slight savings on the 500 Coins bundle ($4.80 instead of $5). You’d save $10 on a 10,000 Coins bundle, paying $90 instead of $100).

“We will continue to add more ways to earn and spend Coins on a wider range of content and activities—today is Day One for Coins,” said Mike George, Amazon’s VP of Apps and Games.

However, there are some limits on the purchase of Coins. For example, Amazon is only selling them in bundles of 500, 1000, 2500, 5000 and 10,000.

One advantage for parents is that Coins could be a simple way to issue an “allowance” of how much purchasing a child can make.

From a developers point of view, Amazon said nothing has changed in terms of being able to collect the same standard 70% revenue share when customers make purchases using Amazon Coins. Developers won’t need to incur any additional charges to accept Coins or receive payments, Amazon said.

(App distribution and discovery will be one of the key themes under discussion at the Tablet Ecosystem conference in San Francisco on September 12).

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