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Amazon Coins launched as site’s own digital currency

Amazon has launched its own digital currency, Amazon Coins, with which Amazon Kindle Fire owners can buy apps and games.

Amazon Kindle Fire owners were given 500 Amazon Coins worth $5 (£3.30) for free to mark the launch of the currency, which is initially only available to US consumers.

Each of the coins is adorned with the image of a lady aiming a bow and is worth $0.01, but anyone buying Amazon Coins in bulk will receive discounts of up to 10 per cent as an incentive.

“Today we are giving Kindle Fire owners $5 worth of Coins to spend on new apps and games, or to purchase in-app items, such as recipes in iCookbook, song collections in SongPop or mighty falcon bundles in Angry Birds Star Wars,” said Mike George, Amazon’s Vice President of Apps and Games. “And with discounts of up to 10 per cent when you buy Coins, this is a great way for customers to save money when they buy apps, games and in-app items.”

Currently, Amazon Coins are exclusively for US customers wielding a Amazon Kindle Fire tablet, but seeing as consumers still have to pay tax on any item bought with coins, the concept seems a little null and void.

“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,” added George.

Amazon says Amazon Coins are another “opportunity to drive traffic, downloads and increased monetization” for developers, the Amazon Coins will function in a similar way to the Xbox Live points and Facebook Credits.

The only decentralised digital currency that has had any sort of success is Bitcoin. The only way Amazon Coins will succeed is if the online retailer manages to convince consumers that it is easier than paying with real money.

Not keen on the Kindle HD? See how it compares to Google’s slate in our Google Nexus 7 vs Kindle Fire HD comparison.

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