Coin, The One Credit Card To Rule Them All, Is Finally Shipping
The Coin (promising to let you combine all your credit/debit/loyalty cards into a single piece of tech) has delayed for so long that you might have forgotten that you ordered one. In November of 2013, the YC-backed company blew past its $50,000 pre-order goal in forty minutes, but despite a promise of summer 2014 shipping, the company has yet to ship a product that wasn’t in beta. Until today.
After a six-month beta program, Coin is finally ready to ship a finished product to the 350,000 people who have pre-ordered in the first two months of pre-order.
Allow Coin To Re-Introduce Itself
Coin works by letting you add all of your debit, credit, and loyalty cards onto one piece of technology, the Coin.
After signing into the Coin app with the same credentials used to order the Coin, users are asked to create a unique six-digit tap code. It uses a combination of long taps and short taps, of your choosing, to ensure no one can get into the Coin app or the Coin itself unless they know the code, or have control of the user’s smartphone.
Once the app is set up, users can pair their Coin and add new cards by manually entering information, swiping the card through an included card reader that goes into the headphone jack of the phone, or by taking a picture of the card as you would with Apple Pay.
CEO Kanishk Parashar said that the Coin connects to the smartphone through a secure Bluetooth channel, which is meant to prevent the bad guys from being able to use the Coin or transmit information from it without access to the user’s smartphone.
“Coin has built a custom 128-bit encryption layer for bluetooth that secures sensitive information and prevents man-in-the-middle attacks,” said Parashar. “We use secure Bluetooth to implement the Lock-and-Find feature, which provides a real-time validation that you, the owner of Coin, are present at the time of the transaction. If you aren’t there, Coin will lock itself. And you, the owner, can find Coin’s last known location in the mobile app.”
The Coin remains locked when not in use. As soon as you’re ready to make a transaction, a single tap on the Coin’s solitary button will wake the device, do a quick search for your specific smartphone, and after a couple of seconds it will unlock. If your phone is turned off, on Airplane mode, or otherwise unavailable, you can unlock the Coin by entering the same six-digit Morse-style pin code that you will use each time you access the Coin app.
The Coin stays alive for seven minutes once it’s unlocked (so that a waiter can have the time to swipe), and then automatically locks and goes to sleep. It also remembers its last-known location and alerts the user as soon as it thinks that the smartphone has been separated from the Coin.
Users can save up to eight cards on the Coin at a single time, and they can re-sync different cards stored within the app as long as they’re within reach of their smartphone.