Erik Voorhees on why Bitcoin and Amazon Coins have nothing in common

In a “rant” posted to the Bitcoin forum, Erik explains why Bitcoin and Amazon Coins, Amazon’s new ‘virtual currency’, are “as different as bumble bees and blueberry muffins.”

“They are not both virtual currencies, of the same ilk, but fundamentally separate things entirely.”

“1) Bitcoin is actually a currency, while Amazon Coins are just US dollar tokens, spendable only with Amazon. Amazon Coins are a proxy of the USD, meaning they are USD with a different name, not a unique currency at all. They are dollars, but less useful. “

“2) Amazon Coins are non-transferable. What kind of ‘currency’ is non-transferable? Transferability should be a prerequisite for the term ‘currency.’

“3) Amazon Coins are 1-way, meaning you buy them, then you use them for stuff. You cannot resell Amazon Coins back for dollars or any other currency.”

“4) Amazon Coins are territory and content restricted. Only useful where Amazon permits, and only usable to buy Amazon stuff.”

“5) Amazon Coins offer no privacy whatsoever. They’re linked to your identity via your Amazon account.”

“6) Amazon Coins bow down to all US regulation. The moment the US Gov says no, they will vanish.”

“7) You have no claim of ownership over Amazon Coins. Amazon can remove them from your account with a click of a button and they are likely never legally your property whatsoever.”

“Amazon Coins are not a currency in any proper sense of the term, and provide no interesting utility whatsoever. It’s a marketing ploy to get customers to provide interest-free float capital to Amazon (customers buy coins, then spend them later, meaning Amazon holds that balance as capital upon which it can operate and profit). There’s nothing wrong with Amazon doing this, but it’s not a currency. “

Amazon Coins are just Amazon Gift Cards, but they’ve renamed them Coins and made them less versatile.”

“Ironically, Amazon Coins will generally be welcomed and trumpeted by the public as a legitimate Virtual Currency while Bitcoin remains marginalized for “not being real money.” But we know the public has little understanding of money in the first place, so this should come as no surprise.”

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