Virtual currency to be launched by Amazon

6 February 2013

A virtual currency is to be introduced by Amazon in May for purchasing apps, games and hardware items from the company, such as its Kindle e-reader.

Tens of millions of dollars’ worth of the Amazon Coins virtual currency will be distributed in May to the e-commerce specialist’s online customers’ free-of-charge as a way to kickstart the initiative. The Amazon Coins can be used to buy third-party apps for the Kindle Fire and on other products for their ecosystem, says the firm. Amazon also maintains that long-term it will be quick and easy for customers to buy additional Amazon Coins via their existing Amazon accounts.

One Coin is equivalent to one US cent and Amazon Appstore developers are being targeted to disseminate the virtual currency, while receiving payment in it as well at the ‘one-to-one’ rate. Whether Amazon’s move can compete with more ‘open source’ initiatives in this field such as Bit Coin is of course open for debate and only time will see what virtual currency establishes itself in the online marketplace. Facebook has already dropped its ‘Credits’ virtual currency platform in favour of paying developers and games-makers that bring it traffic in local currency.

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