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Amazon introduces virtual currency for Kindle Fire apps and games

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In May, Amazon (s AMZN) will roll out its own virtual currency, Amazon Coins, for purchasing apps, games, and in-app content on Kindle Fire in the U.S. To entice users, the company will hand out “tens of millions of dollars in Amazon Coins” for free.

App developers will get their standard 70 percent revenue cut on content purchased with Amazon Coins.

This isn’t Bitcoin: Amazon’s not creating its own decentralized digital currency (yet). Amazon Coins primarily seems like a way to promote Kindle Fire games and get customers to try them for free. The company has recently rolled a number of other features for game developers, including in-app purchases of physical goods. For now Amazon Coins can only be redeemed for Kindle Fire apps and games — though an FAQ notes that “apps and games that are available for sale on both Android (s GOOG) and Kindle Fire will also be purchasable with Amazon Coins.”

Amazon Coins are also not discounted over regular dollars: “One Amazon Coin is worth one cent, so if an app costs $2.99 it will cost 299 Amazon Coins.” It’s unclear how Amazon will sell the coins to users (and how many they’ll have to buy at once) when the free giveaway period is over, though the release says the company will “make it quick and easy for customers to buy additional Amazon Coins using their Amazon accounts.”

5 Responses to “Amazon introduces virtual currency for Kindle Fire apps and games”

  1. richard-boase

    This is silly, but smart. There’s no reason at all to use a virtual currency other than to pilot the technology you might need to support bitcoin. Amazon coins are nothing more than book tokens, but the infrastructure amazon creates will add value to the company if it can be altered to accomodate bitcoins.

    If amazon accepts bitcoin in the near future for it’s apps, the value of BTC will skyrocket, same for ebay, google, apple, etc. etc. If one big one goes, the others will follow, and as soon as that happens: ‘BANG” – new economy.

    Watch this space carefully. The revolution is coming.

  2. SixSixSix

    A lot of people are predicting the end of central currency. It’s a bit early but clearly the meaning of money is rapidly evolving. Sorry Milton, it’s a new game.