Coin: The Next Big Thing In Mobile Payments. Maybe.

on Thursday, Nov. 14th

As of this morning, thanks to a rash of buzz on Twitter, Coin is the Next Big Thing in mobile payments. Wheee.

What is Coin? Why it’s a credit card sized electronic device that stores the information from multiple credit cards onto it, relieving the user of the need to carry those cards in their wallet.

Why is it the Next Big Thing?

Well, it certainly didn’t hurt to hire Adam Lisagor to make the intro video for the device, which is now taking pre-orders. He’s kind of the go-to guy when you want to introduce a new tech thing. He even pitched Square back when it was the Next Big Thing in mobile payments. (Check out that link to Lisagor’s work. The client list is a who’s who of the Internet.)

Like Square, the new Coin is dependent on a smartphone for operation. Only here it is more of a smartphone accessory. As Quartz’ Christopher Mims was quick to point out, that would leave users at the mercy of their cell phone’s battery. Which can be a bad idea in a desperate situation.

Here’s an even more fundamental question: should people really be running around with that many credit cards to begin with? If you need a Coin to carry around eight credit cards–the device’s on-board limit–maybe you have a bigger problem than a crowded wallet. Perhaps you’re addicted to credit cards and need to spend the $50 you would use pre-ordering Coin to see a shrink.

Look, I love a good gadget as much as the next tech geek. It is half of why we write what we write. Mobile payments remain a fascinating area: changing the way that people conduct transactions has far reaching effects on supply chains and even on the environment. I’m talking butterfly effect here, people.

Coin doesn’t so much change the system as make the current system a little more convenient for some. It’s neat, but it’s no revolution.

Follow Noah Nelson on Twitter (@noahjnelson)


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