A new crypto-currency similar to bitcoin but named after hip hop artist Kanye West has been launched, despite lawyers for the singer filing cease-and-desist papers against the seven anonymous programmers behind it.
West instructed lawyers to stop the planned launch of the currency, originally named Coinye West, which features a cartoon image of himself as a logo. The developers have since changed the name to CoinyeCoin to weaken links to the singer and moved their website to an Indian-registered domain name.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the legal filing said: "Given Mr West’s wide-ranging entrepreneurial accomplishments, consumers are likely to mistakenly believe that Mr West is the source of your services.”
The letter reportedly said that West would resolve the matter without litigation if the developers stopped "development, sale, distribution, and promotion" of the currency.
But the founders, who had originally planned to release CoinyeCoin on January 11, reacted to the legal demand by bringing the launch forward to late last night. “Due to legal pressure we will be launching today,” says the website.
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, a spokesman said: “They’ll still come after us, but that’s OK.”
A twitter account named CoinyeFaucet – a faucet is a common service for crypto-currencies where tiny amounts of currency are given away for free, usually financed by advertising – says that 0.37 per cent of CoinyeCoins were “pre-mined” or created before the public release of the currency. It also claims that the creators intend to use this amount to pay for any upcoming legal fees.
No existing crypto-currency exchanges have yet agreed to deal in CoinyeCoins, but the founders say they are currently in talks with three smaller websites. The lack of active exchanges means that there is no clear price for CoinyeCoins yet, but users on forums were offering to sell 40,000 for 0.04 bitcoins, which would give them a value of fractions of a penny.
The currency is mined, just as bitcoin is, with a finite limit of 133,333,333,333 coins. Although the branding of the currency is whimsical, its creators have said that they intend it to be a mainstream competitor to bitcoin.