Amazon has managed to capture a huge portion of the ecommerce pie in the U.S., so it only makes sense that the company has now decided to introduce its own form of online currency. Today, Amazon announced Coins, a virtual currency that consumers can use to purchase apps and games on the company's flagship device, the Kindle Fire tablet.
Launching in May and only available for U.S. customers, Coins will also allow users to purchase in-app items. Amazon plans to give away tens of millions of dollars worth of the Coins for an upcoming promotion to spur adoption of the virtual currency. And while the company's illustration of the virtual coinage has a kind of Greek Empire aesthetic, the company has confirmed that consumers will not be compelled to use the Coins, and will still have the ability to pay for items in the Amazon Appstore store using their credit cards.
According to the company's explanation, one Amazon Coin is worth one real currency cent, so, at least at this point, the reason to use an Amazon Coin would be more related to convenience rather than any kind of discount. However, if the aggressive tactics employed to promote the adoption of Amazon Prime are any indication, Amazon will likely offer some seriously hard-to-resist incentives to get people using Coins.