On Tuesday evening (January 7) at 7:00pm Pacific Time, the latest " altcoin ," Coinye , is set to hit the Internet. But unlike its predecessor Bitcoin alternatives, this one comes with the cachet of being associated—rightly or wrongly—with Kanye West . That, in turn, has gotten a lot of attention. And West's lawyer is not very happy about it .
"We are in the process of preserving and protecting Mr. West's valuable publicity and trademark rights from willful and brazen infringements," Brad Rose told Ars by e-mail on Tuesday morning.
Rose, an attorney at Pryor Cashman, represents the venerable rapper. On Monday, he sent a three-page cease-and-desist letter (PDF) by e-mail to the creator or creators of Coinye—serving it simply to " [email protected] ."
The letter cites "willful trademark infringement, unfair competition, cyberpiracy, and dilution," as well as violations of "Mr. West's right of publicity under state law." He ordered Coinye to cease and desist, threatening the creators with litigation. One problem? The creators remain anonymous, and they have hidden themselves behind VPNs, privacy services, and other anonymizing tools.
"Fight for the people"
Ars contacted the creator of Coinye via IRC (irc.freenode.net / #coinyecoin), though the developer declined to provide a real name or location and goes only by the online moniker "Coinyewest."
Coinyewest explained that he did take into account some of the changes requested in the letter, such as altering the logo image, removing a Kanye West video from the site, and dropping the "West" part of the name. Other than that, the cryptocurrency appears to be plowing ahead as planned.
Meanwhile, Coinyewest also seems to believe that West is trying to "steal our idea."
"[The cease-and-desist letter] tells us to unlock the domain and give it to them," Coinyewest told Ars. "That's a bit more than 'hey stop this.' More like they want to take it."
"Now [West] wants to crush us and/or take our idea. And we've decided to stand up to the system and fight for the people. Once this is released into the wild it can't be stopped, it's decentralized. That [cease-and-desist] says if we don't comply, they will get a restraining order against us to stay away from Kanye. LOL. Like isn't he some big fuckin' gangster. Restraining order against COINYE WEST is all they have for an identity."
"so if u get a block ur rich"
For months now, the Internet has been awash in altcoins : Litecoin, BBQCoin, and Dogecoin, among others.
Coinyewest claims that he sold a laptop for Dogecoins, then "invested" it and "made more than the laptop was worth."
Do the Coinye-fans even know what one Coinye is worth? Of course not.
Earlier Tuesday, Ars witnessed this exchange on the Coinye IRC channel.
richhomiewhat: How much will coinye trade for?
. . .
trigeek: the real profits are goign to come from selling coin directly to people who have never touched crypto before
So why another Bitcoin-like clone? Coinyewest waxed philosophical.
"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," he said. "A way for people to create their own economies and stop relying on this one we watch failing worse and worse every year. People want something different, that’s why all this sudden interest in cryptocurrency. I've talked with the creators of Dogecoin about the same things. It seems silly but we are just trying to market these ideas to a broader audience."
If Coinye doesn't work, there's always Norris Coin , which is set to launch on January 14, 2014. Representatives of Chuck Norris did not immediately respond to Ars' request for comment.
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