The creators behind a bitcoin-style currency, Coinye, are in trouble with Kanye West – the man who inspired the currency. The company behind Coinye gained followers and became a major interest last week, leading to West’s lawyers filing a cease and desist order.
Bitcoins have hit the media over the last few months, as the currency gains more interest and value. It is an internet currency that allows spending online, anonymously. People gain the coins through ‘mining’ – a process that involves using computing power to solve a series of complicated mathematical puzzles to release said coins – with the value increasing and decreasing with time. They were virtually unheard of by the general public, until a few months ago, when they suddenly increased in value.
There is a finite number of bitcoins, which makes them desirable to many; this is part of the reason for their growth in value. The company will allow people to trade their bitcoins for the Coinye coins to spend online.
The company – who originally called their currency Coinye West – was influenced by the Hip Hop star. The creators insist that the name was due to his originality and ability to set trends. They even used a cartoon version of the rapper on their logo to emphasize the inspiration and brand. However, at no point did the creators ask the star to use his likeness, or a similar name. West only found out about the coins through a Twitter posting.
The fact that they did not ask West, seemingly, led to some ill-feeling. The Coinye creators are now in trouble with their inspiration, and received a cease and desist order on Monday. While copyright infringement has been mentioned, the main part of the complaint is that it will seem like West endorses the company, which is something he does not do.
A cease and desist order comes in the form of a letter. It informs the offending party that they have been caught, and orders the organization to remove the work or item. The offending party is also informed not to place the item or work back up. Failure to meet the requirements set in the letter leads to legal action being taken.
In the cease and desist letter from West’s lawyers, the bitcoin company is asked to remove all likenesses (image and name) from the coins, and remove its website and all social media accounts from the internet.
The company has partially complied. Instead of “Coinye West,” the name of the business is now just Coinye. The image has also been changed from a cartoon version of West. Now, the image is one of a man with a fishtail out of his head and crooked teeth, so it no longer resembles the rapper in any way. The location of the business has also been updated to India.
Despite being in trouble with its original source of inspiration, Coinye still continues to disseminate the new currency to the public. The original launch date was Jan. 11, but was brought forward to yesterday, “due to legal pressure.” According to the company, once the coins are out there, they are unstoppable. However, West’s legal team did make it clear that legal actions would be taken against all businesses accepting the infringing coins.
By Alexandria Ingham