Amazon Coins will be a new way for customers to get apps for their mobile devices (Android smart phones, Kindle Fire tablets, etc.). More importantly, this virtual currency will be a way that mobile app developers can get paid.
What remains to be seen is whether the marketplace will want to use Amazon coins when they are issued later this year. Note that the test market for this virtual currency consists of U.S. customers only.
Any virtual currency issued by a private entity unrelated to government is a tough sell for many reasons, including the fact that governments don’t like competition in this arena and heavily regulate what one can do under the guise of preventing counterfeiting.
Which brings up a larger issue – is there a point where corporations with many assets and minimal debt will be able to use the Internet to provide more stable and credible virtual currencies than the fiat money issued by bankrupt governments? It’s a matter of trust and public perception.
For now, Amazon Coins seems to be merely a gambit to create a more popular mobile app site for both developers and customers. Yet the potential is there for virtual currency to play a bigger role in coming years, particularly if it is backed by precious metals held by the issuer rather than simply a corporate brand or the “full faith and credit” of an insolvent government.
To learn more, go to the Amazon Coins FAQs.
Of course, never issue your own virtual currency without speaking with your Internet lawyer about it first. As mentioned above, there are some government restrictions on issuing private currency that can land an issuer in jail if violated.