Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) unveiled its virtual currency, Amazon Coins, today with Kindle Fire users receiving $5 (500 Amazon Coins) in order to get things started. Amazon is following the likes of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), and Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) with the hopes of bringing in more in-app purchases  to the online giant. Amazon says that this represents a give away of “tens of millions” of dollars, though Amazon will obviously recover a good deal of this “money.”

Amazon Coins

The move is two-fold—obviously Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is trying to generate more revenue, but at the same time Amazon is hoping to draw more app developers to its platform by providing a way for developers to earn more in revenues. Amazon Coins, in theory, should make in-app purchases easier and developers will retain their present 70 percent of revenue generated.

“Today we are giving Kindle Fire owners $5 worth of Coins to spend on new apps and games, or to purchase in-app items, such as recipes in iCookbook, song collections in SongPop or mighty falcon bundles in Angry Birds Star Wars. And with discounts of up to 10 percent when you buy Coins, this is a great way for customers to save money when they buy apps, games and in-app items,” said Mike George, Vice President of Apps and Games at Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), in a statement. “We will continue to add more ways to earn and spend Coins on a wider range of content and activities—today is Day One for Coins.”

While BitCoins might be getting the lion’s share of press when it comes to virtual currencies of late, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has always been looking for ways to grow its online shopping empire.

By initially offering Amazon Coins to U.S. customers, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is acknowledging that the States have lagged behind regions like Asia with respect to in-app purchases using virtual currencies.

Whether people will begin using Amazon Coins remains to be seen, but for those that purchase a good deal through their Kindle Fire the ability to receive up to a 10 percent discount when buying Amazon Coins in bulk should prove a welcome addition into their online shopping toolbox.