Last week, Amazon.com announced plans to introduce Amazon Coins — a new way for Kindle users to pay for their purchases — starting in May. Vera Soliman notes that by adding its own centralized payment method, Amazon allows for all currencies to compete for ease of use by customers and developers alike.
Apparently others have tried this to varying degrees of success: Nintendo Points and Microsoft Points. Or think of credit card reward points.
The question is – will people go for it?
Jeff Bezos is betting they will: and he plans to give away thousands—actually millions—of these coins for people to spend on books, goods, and Kindle Fire apps as a way to launch the currency.
“When Amazon Coins launches in May, we will be giving out tens of millions of dollars worth of Coins to customers to spend on Kindle Fire apps, games, or in-app items.” – Jeff Bezos
Some see this as a possible way to denationalize currency, so it is not subject to the whims of any one nation-state. Bitcoin is one such current example. But Bezos is linking his new coins to the dollar – in fact, the penny. One coin will equal one cent.
At a time when inflation makes the penny nearly irrelevant, is this the right call? Time will tell.
Will this help Amazon increase market share on eReaders and online purchases? Should you buy extra stock in Amazon? Maybe the smart money is to grab a cache of Amazon cash.
Perhaps, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
Are a few Amazon credits going to inspire you to click the buy button? Can you give them away to sell cheap Kindle books?