Remember Coin, the Y Combinator-backed startup that promised to streamline our wallets with a do-it-all credit card-like offering way back in 2013? The device is finally shipping as of today to early backers and pre-order customers following a lengthy delay and a six-month beta.
Coin looks and feels much like a standard credit or debit card. In reality, it’s a connected device that uses Bluetooth low-energy and a custom 128-bit encryption layer to manage multiple credit cards, debit cards, loyalty cards and more (up to eight cards at any given time) using the Coin app on your mobile device.
The card features a small screen and a button used to select a particular card when it comes time to pay for purchases. It’s primarily designed to be used in proximity to your smartphone for authentication purposes although it can be unlocked for standalone use by entering a six-digit Morse code-style passcode of your choosing.
If Coin becomes separated from a paired smartphone, it can alert the user via notification. Using the companion app, the device also records its last known whereabouts which could be helpful should you happen to misplace it.
Coin’s creators told TechCrunch that they were taken back by the 350,000 pre-orders it received within just two months. Manufacturing the device at that scale while keeping quality a priority was rather difficult which led to delays.
Unfortunately for Coin, the delay gave competing cards like Pastc and contactless payment services such as Apple Pay more face time with the public. How that’ll ultimately impact Coin’s success remains to be seen.
If you were among those that pre-ordered Coin early on, keep an eye on your mail box as it’ll likely be arriving soon. For those further back in the queue, your Coin isn’t expected to arrive for another few months.