As many geocachers know geocoins are popular items for discovery and trade. When opencaching.com lauched it seemed like a bit of a miss that they did not have this functionality. It probably made sense to Garmin to leave this functionality out as there focus was on maximizing the value of their devices. It makes more sense for Garmin to do something like the Chirp which leverages their hardware. There isn’t much value added to a device when a cacher finds or discovers a geocoin. Garmin’s launch of the Opie Pathtag might be recognition that geocoins are a popular aspect of geocaching that opencaching.com does not support (Yet?).
I have one Pathtag that I’ve never actually logged. I received it at last year’s Geowoodstock. The idea of an open geocoin standard is something I would like to see. We might never see that though. I suppose that might like letting you track your UPS shipment on the Fedex website.
For a while now I’ve been running a script in my browser that adds Geokrety support to my cache listing pages on geocaching.com. In this way it is “kind of” open in that I can see if a cache has a Geokrety in it or not while on the geocaching.com website. Geokrety is similar to Travel Bugs and are more popular in Europe. I inquired about buying a list of numbers from Geokrety for use in the minting of a coin but that is not a service they offer.
As of now there is no way for an independent operation to produce products that are trackable on geocaching.com. It makes sense for Groundspeak to get paid for making that service available. There are costs associated with offering the tracking service. Right now every geocoin you buy that is trackable at geocaching.com pays a fee to get a tracking number from Groundspeak. Depending on the minting cost of the coin the fees to Groundspeak can represent 20-50% of the cost of the coin. Starting at $2/coin Pathtags offer a much cheaper alternative to geocaching.com geocoins. At those prices I can see them being price competitive as a signature item. Geocachers still want to be able to track geocoins on geocaching.com.
Maybe I should ask Pathtags if they would be willing to sell some tracking numbers but let me mint my own coins?