After lawyers sent a cease and desist letter to Coinye, Kanye West will now sue the crypto-currency creators. The company refused to take the website down and simply made minor changes after the letter.
Coinye had decided to use West’s image and name as a way to build its following. The first logo was a cartoon version of the rapper, but that was changed to a head with a fishtail sticking out of the back. It was still clearly meant to be West. The name was also originally Coinye West, which indicated that the rapper supported the brand.
West declared that the link was damaging to his brand, and that damage is irreparable. His lawyers gave the company every chance to take the site down and rename the currency without legal action at the start of the month. However, the seven anonymous coders decided to push the release date of the currency forward by four days.
The idea behind Coinye was similar to that of Bitcoin. All the money was virtual but it could be used to buy items online. Bitcoin has gained a large following recently as it increases in value. It is possible that the Coinye creators were piggy-backing off that success to make their own. Looking at the Twitter feed it seemed that there were a few people excited about it and it could have been a huge success.
However, West put a halt on that when he made the decision to sue the Coinye creators. His lawyers have not stopped there, they are looking at all involved. Amazon.com is named as a co-defended due to giving the anonymous coders the hosting for the websites. There were a few websites linked to the company, but all have since been taken down. Other companies have been pulled into the lawsuit. One of the issues is that West and his lawyers do not yet know the full identities of the Coinye creators.
Coinye changed the website after the lawsuit was filed in a federal court in Manhattan. It is now simple a cartoon person smiling at the user with “You win, Kanye” written in bold underneath “Coinye is dead.” All other websites are temporarily unavailable or lead to the page timing out.
Coinye creators have chosen to stay anonymous in previous interviews, like the one with Vice. They were worried that West would be angry with their decision to use his likeness and name as inspiration. However, they did tell the Vice interviewer that having a currency in his name was an honor.
The creators knew that West’s lawyers would continue with the legal proceedings, according to an interview with the Wall Street Journal the day after the cease and desist letter. That was the reason for the earlier release, so that it would be harder for “the man” to take them down.
The lawyers argue that too many people believe that West is linked to the crypto-currency and have used a number of tweets to back up this claim. Despite Coinye now taking down the website, the damage has already been done so West will sue the creators and others.
Editorial by Alexandria Ingham