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Interest in Coin is Dying – Should You Still Get One?

Towards the end of last year we were introduced to Coin, a company that was working on card to hold all of your credit/debit cards. The company was all over the news for a few weeks and we hadn’t  heard much from them until now. Here is the company’s story (directly from their website) in case you want some background:

The people behind Coin have a passion for building products that simplify, improve and fit seamlessly into your life. We believe that even a minor change in thinking can reap big rewards.

At Coin we know there is plenty to worry about, too much clutter and not enough time. For some it’s a fact of life. For us it’s inspiring.

The Coin team is comprised of consumer electronics experts, designers, software engineers and a former NASA engineer to boot. Something we mention at parties all the time.

We believe Coin is a substantial improvement on how you interact with, and use, cards that have a magnetic stripe.

Whenever you use a card we want to be there. Or whenever you’re having a good time. Or flying in a helicopter.

coin untrustworthy The company recently sent out an email to people who pre-ordered Coin since it was announced, the email stated the backers would not be receiving the final product and would instead receive a “beta” device that they could help test until late next year when an improved/final version comes to market. The part that really got some people was the fact that they would have to pay another $30 to receive the final product when it actually came.

Today Coin sent out another email, here is a copy of it:

An apology and an update

Dear Coin Backers,

First and foremost, we want to apologize to each and every one of you. We are building Coin for you and are extremely disappointed with ourselves that we made some of you unhappy with us.  We want to earn your trust again.

We apologize for our lack of transparency and clarity in our communications to you. You, as our valuable backers, should have been the first to know about all product updates. We honestly thought we could make our timeline. We were overly optimistic. The San Francisco Bay Area Coin Beta made it evident that we should conduct a larger nationwide Coin Beta.  We need your help with testing nationwide, but realize that this is not a cost for you to bear. Therefore, we will run a nationwide Coin Beta for no cost to Coin Beta Backers ($0) and increase the number of Coin Beta devices by 50% to 15,000.We’ll do our best to grow this number over time.  To clarify, your spot in the Coin Beta program is determined by your pre-order date, regardless of whether you opt-in with the iOS or Android app. We feel responsible to the commitment each of you has given to us by backing Coin and so we haven’t spent even one dollar of the crowd funding campaign. All our efforts and production has been supported by equity dollars.

Coin Beta was a hard decision but important step as we want to deliver the device we all expect and nothing less. Getting Coin to work with thousands of different card readers of different makes, models and regions is not easy and that’s why we need the help of an extended beta team.

We are truly sorry that the first generation Coin is not ready when we said it would. Our team has been working hard day/night and weekends since May 2012 in an attempt to deliver Coin to you on time and while we are close, we are not at the finish line.  We have achieved ~0.84 mm form factor with e-ink screen and bluetooth low energy.  We even found a button that has a tactile touch so you can feel feedback every time you press the button on Coin.  Coin swipes successfully in 85% of the locations we visit.  Our hardware team is focused on the remaining 15%.

With Coin Beta, we will validate compatibility nationwide and improve usability.  Meanwhile, we’ll keep a focus on growing our manufacturing capabilities and are confident that we will deliver high-quality first generation Coins to you all.

We promise to do better with our transparency and updates to backers. We promise to keep working hard to deliver you a great product. We value your honest feedback, good or bad; and we are always listening.

After reading that email I feel more displeased than I was when reading the email from a few days ago. This, to me, shows signs of a weak company that at one point in the past couple of months was misguided and sent down the wrong path. Most startups care about consumers only until they are handed some checks worth millions of dollars. I know that companies experience hiccups, especially in the manufacturing process, but this could have been handled much differently and could have been prevented if Coin had taken a different approach from the start.

While I still find Coin very interesting, I don’t feel safe giving my money and access to all of my credit cards to a company that seems lost and unsure about what to do next with its customers/backers. They essentially played around with peoples money until the investors came in and that, to me, is pathetic. I highly advise you to stay clear from this product until others have tested it for sometime and until there is something that is really worth it.

Hello internet I'm Daniel. I've always had a passion for gadgets and gizmos. My life took a turn for the best when I bought the First Generation iPod Nano the day Apple released it. I was amazed at how technology was becoming part of our daily lives and how fast new products were being developed. Since then I have grown to love technology related products, how they work, and how these products can be improved. I love providing my thoughts on companies latest products so consumers can make up their mind on whether or not they want to spend their money on them.