Amazon unveiled a new virtual currency on Tuesday that customers will be able to use to purchase games, apps and in-app items on the Kindle Fire. Dubbed Amazon Coins, the currency is yet another way for app and game developers to drive traffic, downloads and ultimately increase monetization from the company's flagship tablet.

The online retail giant said they will hand out millions of dollars' worth of free Amazon Coins to customers once the currency debuts in the US this May. We are told that Amazon will also make it quick and easy to buy additional Amazon Coins directly from an Amazon account. Users will still be able to make purchases as they do today if they aren't interested in fooling with the virtual currency.

Developers will still earn the same 70 percent revenue share that they currently enjoy. Those with games and apps already in the Amazon Appstore won't need to do anything special to take advantage of the new currency. Developers still working on an app should submit it no later than April 25 so it will be ready when the new currency goes live the following month.

Amazon didn't mention any sort of conversion rate or value per coin so we have no idea if Amazon Coins will use a simple 1:1 ratio (seems unlikely) or if coin values will be closer to how Microsoft operates their currency system for the Xbox Live Marketplace. For reference, 1600 Microsoft Points equate to roughly $20.