Coin: The Virtual Wallet, Finally?

Author: Notre Dame ESTEEM


It has been said that simple ideas are usually the best ideas. This maxim of wisdom can and should be applied to any new piece of tech innovation we find ourselves confronted with. San Francisco startup Coin may have come up with a product that circumvents some of the traditional complications of the virtual wallet. If you've been on social media in the last week, you've probably seen it making the rounds.

Coin’s introductory product is, according to the Wallet Hack blog on The Verge, is…

“...a credit card-sized device that digitally stores up to eight credit, debit, gift, or membership cards, and lets you switch between them by pressing a circular button on its surface. You can then swipe the Coin in any conventional reader or ATM machine as if it were the original card itself.”

The man behind the product, an innovation whose existence plans to lighten the weight of wallets and handbags worldwide, is Kanishk Parashar, who, before he began working on prototypes for Coin, which will ship in Summer 2014 but is available for preorder now, was working on another payment app called SmartMarket, which allowed you to patronize local businesses by means of geofencing, which is, as defined by TechTarget...

“...a feature in a software program that uses the global positioning system or radio frequency identification to define geographical boundaries."

He found that people weren’t generally interested in the idea of SmartMarket and instead began tinkering on what would become Coin. His first models plugged directly into his phone but since then, the cord has been cut, although your phone is still an integral part of how Coin works.

According to The Verge...

“The device ships with a small reader you use to scan cards into the Coin mobile app, which then syncs with the device itself over Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), the same power-sipping protocol used by many fitness trackers and smartwatches.”

While this means if your phone dies or is lost, Coin will stop working, Parashar has said, though, that…

“...he hopes to develop a way to let users activate Coin even when a phone’s not around.”

Parashar has kept the device simple by limiting the number of cards you can “plug in,” but it still remains to be seen if the public is yet ready to fully ditch the plastic. While practices like paying with one’s smartphone have taken off in recent years, people are still nervous about things like identity theft, though Coin is hardly different from using one’s smartphone to pay for something or ordering something off the internet using one’s old fashioned credit card. Your money, after all, is still coming from one of your bank accounts, it’s just getting into the hands of the businesses you frequent in a simpler and more streamlined form.

Coin. A simple idea. What do you think? Is it a good idea? Are you ready or would you be willing to ditch your plastic and just have “one” card?