Kanye West has demanded that CoinyeCoin, the Bitcoin-duplicate he inspired, should immediately end “development, sale, distribution and promotion” or else face litigation.
On January 6, the creators of the cryptocurrency, who have capitalised on the media’s recent fascination with Bitcoin, received a cease-and-desist letter from West’s law firm, Pryor Cashman.
The rapper’s attorney, Brad D Rose, accused Coinye West, as it was known at the time, of trademark infringement, trademark dilution, unfair competition and cyberpiracy.
“Given Mr West’s wide-ranging entrepreneurial accomplishments, consumers are likely to mistakenly believe that Mr West is the source of your services or [had] endorsed the cryptocurrency,” Mr Rose wrote.
Despite Mr West’s threat that he will sue any business that accepts the novelty currency, Coinye launched last night, 4 days earlier than it had originally intended, and posted on its website, “We are being attacked with fishsticks and must launch sooner.”
The altcoin’s developers have responded to the rapper’s attempts to shut it down by changing the name from Coinye West to Coinye, altering the logo image and launching the currency early.
On the forum bitcointalk.com, CoinyeCoin developers also explained that “The name ‘Coinye’ is intended solely as parody, not an indication or implication of endorsement or involvement.”
Interviews given to the Wall Street Journal and ArsTechnica indicate that the anonymous creators of Coinye hold anti-establishment and anti-capitalist beliefs, having been quoted as saying that “anarcho-capitalism is coming, it can’t be stopped. Whether it has a symbol that looks like a dollar, a dog, or a cartoon picture of a rapper, it’s all the same thing.”
The creators, who identify themselves “just a few guys who want to take cryptocurrency to the mainstream,” tweeted the rap icon in December to ask him his thoughts on the project, and more recently told Vice they “hope he loves this.”
With this development, the creators probably have their answer.