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by Jordan Crook (@jordanrcrook) (for educational purposes only)
YC-backed Coin, the electronic credit card that stores multiple cards on one Bluetooth device, made a big splash last week blowing past its $50,000 pre-order in less than 40 minutes.
Turns out, people not only want to buy more Coins but they want to know more about Coin, too. That said, the company is responding to consumer feedback, announcing a number of features that will be available in the first release.
Most importantly, Coin will be equipped with an alarm that learns how many times your Coin is being swiped and alerts you if it believes there is fraudulent activity going on.
For example, your card may be swiped once by a merchant or waiter to pay for the transaction, and again to steal the information on your card. Traditionally, your bank or credit card company wouldn’t notify you of the fraudulent activity until a transaction was completed in another city or in an odd way using your information.
Coin actually notifies you the moment the information might be stolen, allowing you to make an inquiry about the activity.
You can also lock down one particular card so that friends, waiters, or strangers can’t swap to a different card on their own. The team has also revealed that Coin can work without being tied to a phone.
“When we released Coin we wanted to have a succinct message,” said founder Kanishk Parashar. “We just wanted to let our users know that yes, we understand your feedback and we have been designing these features all along, and that they will be available in the first release.”
Q. Can someone accidentally change which card is selected on my Coin?
A. We’ve designed the button to toggle cards in a way that makes it difficult to trigger a “press” unintentionally. Dropping a Coin, holding a Coin, sitting on a Coin, or putting the Coin in a check presenter at a restaurant will not inadvertently toggle the card that is selected.
Q. What if my phone runs out of power or is in airplane mode? Will my Coin be useable?
A. Yes, but you may need to unlock it if the Coin becomes deactivated due to being out of contact with your phone for too long.
Q. How secure is Coin?
A. Maintaining the integrity of your Coin’s data is critical to your peace of mind. That’s why our servers, mobile apps and the Coin itself use 128-bit or 256-bit encryption for all storage and communication (http and bluetooth). Additionally Coin can alert you in the event that you leave it somewhere.
Parashar also assured us that the Coin will be available throughout the rest of the campaign, for the next 24 days, with no cap on the amount of pre-orders made.
“It actually helps when we have more orders,” said Parashar. “It means that larger manufacturers will be willing to prioritize us and work with us.”
Interestingly, this is Parashar’s first time running a hardware business, previously founding a software payments company called SmartMarket. It asked for both merchants and consumers to change behavior entirely by using a mobile only payments product. This is what led to Coin.
After realizing that the app was getting plenty of downloads, but not very frequent use as a payment method, Parashar decided to build a payment solution for consumer side only.
When asked if Coin would eventually morph into his grander scheme for payments, all digital on consumer and merchant side, Parashar simply said that Coin is currently focused on delivering the first version to consumers.
If you want to get some more information on Coin, head over here.