The Amazon Coins digital currency is now available for consumers in the U.K. and Germany to buy mobile applications and make in-app purchases on the Kindle Fire tablet and on Amazon.com Inc.'s regional app stores.

To get consumers started, the company will deposit free Amazon Coins into the accounts of Kindle Fire users in the two countries — 400 coins worth 4 pounds (US$6.46) for users in the U.K., and 500 coins worth 5 euros (US$6.75) for users in Germany. Users will also receive up to 10% discounts for purchasing additional Amazon Coins in bulk.

“We are continuously working to enhance customer benefits and Coins is a great new feature that we know they will love,” says Jorrit Van der Meulen, vice president of Amazon Kindle, in a Nov. 22 press release.

Amazon launched the virtual currency in the U.S. in May as an additional payment method customers can use instead of traditional payment options, providing 500 free coins, worth $5, to Kindle Fire users.

App makers are benefitting from Amazon Coins, the company says, particularly among small, independent developers. In the first three months after the currency's launch, the percentage of Amazon Coins spent on indie developer apps outpaced cash spent on the same segment. For some developers, the currency already accounts for the majority of their revenue, Amazon wrote in an August post on its developer blog.

"These early signs show that customers are willing to use their Coins to try out and explore a new apps, games and in-app items," wrote Peter Heinrich, technical evangelist for Amazon Game Services. "We don’t expect this trend to stop anytime soon."

Amazon has moved in the opposite direction of several technology companies with its announcement of a digital currency. Facebook has been phasing out its Facebook Credits for some time now. And Microsoft confirmed in June that it would be eliminating Microsoft Points, its virtual currency, for pricing in local currencies.

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