My Thoughts on the Coin (a Digital Credit Card)

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Yesterday on Twitter, I saw @ugmonk tweet saying he had just pre-ordered his @coin. Curious, I clicked to see what it was. I watched the quick 2 minute video (linked after the jump) and was sold! I pre-ordered mine right then and there. The link spread like wild fire across social networks and everyone chimed in with their opinion. I’ve decided to do the same. So…what is the Coin?

According to their website:

Coin is a connected device that can hold and behave like the cards you already carry. Coin works with your debit cards, credit cards, gift cards, loyalty cards and membership cards. Instead of carrying several cards you carry one Coin. Multiple accounts and information all in one place.

What does that mean? In essence, Coin can reduce your massive, George Costanza Wallet down to a single card. You use a device that comes with the to swipe your cards, and that information is sent via the Android or iOS app to your Coin. You then use the button on the front to select the card you want swiped, and hand it to the cashier like any other credit card.  During the pre-order process, it costs $50+5 shipping, and you can order it here.

Of-course, as this picked up speed, lots of people weighed in on the device; the most common concern is security. What’s to prevent this company from stealing or selling our information? What happens if they get hacked? What if someone uses the Bluetooth device to grab our info? Well, the fine folks at Coin have answered most of these questions in the FAQs section. All data in encrypted using 128- or 256-bit encryption, you can deactivate your Coin if it’s stolen, and it’s no more susceptible to data skimming than a regular credit card. As far as them stealing the data- if it’s encrypted they can’t (depending on when). I know there have been a lot of revelations in the last year that make a lot of people weary of things like this, and I’m pretty skeptical, but these guys are betting a lot on this and screwing it up will be devastating for them.

The reason I ordered it is out of general interest, and $50 is a pretty low barrier of entry for something that could potentially be a game-changer. It looks fantastic and incredibly convenient. I’m glad to say  I’ll be part of the early adopters who get to see how people will first react to it.

If you’re interested, you can read more about it on their website, where you can also pre-order it. Full disclosure: that’s my referral link. Help a brother out!


Why Everyone Would Pay $1 to use Facebook

My brother and I were having a discussion last night about Facebook and how Zuckerburg seems to have a ton of money, but it doesn’t seem like Facebook is generating anywhere near the amount of money it’s getting in venture capital (investor money). My brother cited ads, but ads don’t generate as much income as one would think, even with 500 Million (active) users. See, Facebook has a ton of costs- paying a good sized employee pool (1400*), giving them a ton of perks (that are Google-esque!), massive server farms to keep Facebook up and running and backed up, 8 offices around the world*, and other costs. To make matters more interesting, people are valuing Facebook at $34 Billion. It’s revenue in 2009 was $800 Million*, or $1.60/user. Not even 1/34 of what it’s valued at. There are lots of ways for Facebook to make money. My brother proposed that if they wanted to make a quick half billion, charge everyone $1, one time. And you know what? We’d all do it.