One Coin to Rule Them All: Name Review for Coin, Inc.


If you’re an early adopter of technology you may already be aware of—or have even pre-ordered—the all-in-one credit card named Coin, set to launch in summer 2014. Created by a San Francisco start-up of the same name, Coin is a credit card-like device that digitally stores up to eight personal payment cards. Instead of carrying a bulky wallet full of credit or gift cards, Coin is the only card you need.

Coin has generated quite a bit of buzz and easily exceeded its pre-order goal of $50,000 within 40 minutes of posting its launch video. Why the attention and excitement?

The concept behind Coin is to improve and simplify your life without disruption. Using cutting-edge technology (just developed in 2010), the Coin card could potentially have a major influence on an everyday aspect of our lives – making purchases. But it’s done in a way that’s familiar, in the form of a credit card. Your purchase routine is improved, yet undisturbed.

As a name, “Coin” supports the brand positioning in its simplicity and familiarity. It’s most commonly associated with currency or money as a physical object used to make a purchase. It connotes something small (fits in your pocket) and valuable. It’s an easy-to-pronounce, one-syllable word that is well recognized and makes Coin approachable to consumers.

The brand’s straightforward verbal expression (à la Apple), positions Coin as the player in the category, elevating its perceived value. Short, uncomplicated, and limited messaging gives the brand an air of confidence and authority. Coin appears to be a smart company creating useful, easy to understand solutions. Plus, because the card is black like the exclusive “Elite” credit cards (Visa’s Black Card, AmEx’s Centurion), owning a Coin card feels special and exclusive.

Coin, Inc. has filed trademark applications for both the company name and the technology, but it’s too early to tell if the filings will be approved. There are already many trademarks using the word “coin” in the for similar types of virtual currency, so Coin may have a hard time proving that their use of a simple English word is distinctive in the space. Given the amount of press they’ve received so far, a cease-and-desist letter (from, oh, say, a company whose product starts with the word “Bit-“) might be a coin too far.

Grade: A

Final Grade:



The new private label grocery brand follows Target's lead 5 years later
Our take on AI chatbot names and how they reflect our hope for, and fear of, AI