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Amazon to mint virtual coins for Kindle Fire users

The currency will offer Kindle Fire owners a different way to buy games, other apps, and in-app items.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Come May, Kindle Fires users can pocket virtual coins to spend on their favorite apps.

Announced today, Amazon Coins is a new type of virtual currency developed by the retail giant. The coins will be used to purchase Kindle Fire games, apps, and in-app items from the Amazon Appstore.

To kick off the currency in May, Amazon will offer shoppers tens of millions of dollars of free Amazon Coins to spend on Kindle Fire apps. The company will also let customers buy more coins directly through their Amazon accounts.

Amazon sees the currency as a boon for developers, as it will offer people an easy way to spend money on apps and in-app purchases. Developers will also get their standard 70 percent revenue cut.

Developers with existing Kindle Fire apps don't need to do anything to take advantage of Amazon Coins, according to the company. But those looking to submit their apps will need to act fast. Only apps submitted and approved by April 25 will be ready when Kindle Fire users are showered with their free coins to spend online.

"Developers continue to report higher conversion rates on Amazon compared to other platforms," Paul Ryder, Amazon's vice president of apps and games, said in a statement. "Now we have another new way to help developers reach even more of our millions of customers."

App developers can find out more at the Amazon Coins FAQ page.