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Amazon introduces its own currency

07 February 2013 - 13:45 by Simon Crisp

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Amazon is one of the world's largest e-commerce companies and so it has a lot of clout when it comes to shaping consumer trends.

As such, the news that it will be introducing a bespoke form of currency, cleverly called Amazon Coins, later this year, is sure to spark debate.

Interestingly the Amazon Coins will be redeemable only via its Kindle Fire tablet device, allowing users to pay for apps, media content and software add-ons.

Americans will be the first to access Amazon Coins from May this year and the firm is planning to give away this currency, free of charge, in order to help get it off the ground.

So although consumers will not be able to buy real world items via safe shopping online with Amazon Coins, they will be able to invest in digital downloads, if they happen to be using one of the retailer's own brand tablets.

The main reason for Amazon investing in a currency all of its own is to help it make a bit more money from the items it sells, as well as recouping some of the costs involved in selling its tablets at such an affordable price point.

For consumers, the appeal is less obvious, although if Amazon is keen to give away the currency in the early days, it might result in some nice freebies.

Amazon's move into the realm of selling digital files via safe shopping online is a sensible one, since content producers are looking at a way to monetise intangible products, which might otherwise be pirated.

Meanwhile, the Amazon Coins will also be a beneficial feature for app developers looking to expand on the Kindle Fire, since they will receive 70 per cent of the cash spent for each download and in-app purchase.