Pokémon Go Coins is the game's premium currency to buy new items and upgrades in the game.
Though you can earn many consumable items through regular play, some things - such as clothing items for your Trainer, to permanent storage upgrades - are only possible through acquiring Pokémon Go Coins.
There are two ways to get PokéCoins. One is through paying real-world money (the means of which the game is monitised) and the other is by interacting with Gyms.
In May 2020, it was announced there will be changes to how PokéCoins would be earned - giving them out for completing activities as well as defending Gyms daily. This has seen several updates throughout the year as it was rolled out to more regions, before being cancelled in October 2020, meaning Gyms is currently the only way to source Coins for free.
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How to get free PokéCoins in Pokémon Go
To get PokéCoins without paying real-world money, you must interact with Gyms, which are available from Trainer level 5.
These are towering, spinning monuments (not to be confused with regular PokéStops) that can be taken over by one of the game's three Teams and be defended by placing Pokémon inside.
From 2017, this is how defending Gyms works:
- You earn six PokéCoins per hour defending a Gym (a rate of 1 PokéCoin per 10 minutes).
- There is a cap of 50 Coins per day regardless of how Gyms you are defending.
- Your earnings will be delivered to you automatically when your Pokémon has been removed from the Gym. If your Pokémon remains in the Gym at the end of the day, you won't earn any PokéCoins.
This is different to how Gyms worked in the game's first year, where placing a Pokémon in a Gym would get you a flat rate of 10 Coins per creature (with a 21 hour cooldown period whenever you cash out) so in theory, you can now easily earn 50 PokéCoins in the same period.
In short, the longer your Pokémon is in a Gym, the more PokéCoins you will earn. However, you can only earn a maximum of 50 PokéCoins per day, even if all Pokémon are removed from all the Gyms you are defending at once.
Additionally, if your Pokémon has been in a Gym for several days, they will only provide 50 coins in total when they come back to you. This also means that, if other Pokémon come back to you on that same day, you won't receive any more Coins - as you've already hit the cap for that day.
As such, it is probably better to have your Pokémon return from Gyms on a regular, staggered basis, rather than over long periods and all at once to maximise your gains.
It's also worth noting you can only have one of your Pokémon in one Gym at a time. Though can still have Pokémon in multiple Gyms, there is a cap of 20 Gyms you can place creatures inside.
How the Pokémon Go Coins update was due to work
In May 2020, Niantic announced earning PokéCoins will be adjusted away from defending Gyms and towards other activities. This was amended again in June and August 2020 in response to community feedback and general testing, before being cancelled in October 2020 - rolling back to the existing Gym system.
"We appreciate Trainers' participation in the test, and we'll continue to look for ways to improve how players can earn PokéCoins," said Niantic.
So how did it work? The following ways to get Coins was tested in Australia, Germany, New Zealand and Taiwan as part of an initial phase, before being scrapped. It's unknown whether Niantic will take some of these for a possible revamp in the future - but for now, Gyms continue to be the only way to earn Coins for free in the game:
- The cap of the free number of PokéCoins you can earn is 50 per day (initial tests raised this to 55 per day).
- There is a cap on the number of PokéCoins you can earn from various sources - 30 from Gyms per day, 20 from featured activities per day.
- PokéCoins earned from defending Gyms will remain at six PokéCoins per hour (up from two per hour in previous tests).
- Featured activities include:
- Make an Excellent Throw
- Evolve a Pokémon
- Make a Great Throw
- Use a Berry to help catch a Pokémon
- Take a snapshot of your buddy
- Catch a Pokémon
- Power up a Pokémon
- Make a Nice Throw
- Transfer a Pokémon
- Win a raid
- Team Go Rocket-related tasks
To clarify how this worked - you could still earn PokéCoins by defending Gyms as before, but they were capped at 30 per day as opposed to 50 currently. From there, you can add to your daily PokéCoins total by completing highlighted activities, up to a total of 20.
This was better than it was when the coin changes first cap into place (which slowed Gym earnings significantly). Ultimately, the aim appeared to be diversifying the source of PokéCoins for players, giving them more freedom based on their circumstances - useful for those who aren't near Gyms, for example - but for whatever reason, Niantic has scrapped the system.
The Season of Heritage continues in 2022, along with the XP Challenge and a refreshed Go Battle League. Ongoing are Arlo, Cliff, Sierra counters and Giovanni counters. The major updates in the previous year include a level cap increase, the introduction of XL Candy, boosts to some XP sources and the addition of Platinum Medals.
What can you use PokéCoins for?
When you have started earning PokéCoins - or bought them from the shop - you can use them to purchase items. Highlights include:
- Premium Raid Pass or Remote Raid Pass (100 PokéCoins for 1)
- Max Revives (level 30 required, 180 PokéCoins for 6)
- Max Potions (level 25 required, 200 PokéCoins for 10)
- Poké Balls (100 PokéCoins for 20, 460 PokéCoins for 100, 200 PokéCoins for 800)
- Lure Modules (100 PokéCoins for 1, 8 PokéCoins for 680)
- Egg Incubator (150 PokéCoins for 1)
- Lucky Egg (80 PokéCoins for 1, 500 PokéCoins for 8, 1250 PokéCoins for 25)
- Incense (80 PokéCoins for 1, 500 PokéCoins for 8, 1250 PokéCoins for 25)
- Bag Upgrade (200 PokéCoins for 50 PokéCoins extra item slots)
- Pokémon Storage Upgrade (200 PokéCoins for 50 extra Pokémon slots)
Before you splash the cash, it's worth noting:
- Some of the above (PokéBalls, Revives, Potions) can be received from PokéStops
- Revives, Potions, Poké Balls, Lure Modules, Lucky Eggs, Incense and Egg Incubators are given out as level rewards
- Bag Upgrade and Pokémon Storage Upgrades are exclusive to the shop
- Sales for select items do take place, usually doing seasonal events such as Solstice and rock event, so if you can be patient before you buy a set of
- Lucky Eggs or Egg Incubators, then do so!