After Kanye West filed a lawsuit Tuesday (January 14) to stop production of the satirically titled “Coinye West” virtual currency, the seven anonymous coders behind the product decided that the buck stopped there — they shuttered their website, throwing up the simple message: “COINYE IS DEAD. You win, Kanye.”
The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court, said that the creators of the currency “brazenly admit” that they used Ye’s name and image to promote their product, according to USA Today. The original version of the coin featured Kanye’s face adorned by his famous shutter shades.
“With each day that passes, Mr. West’s reputation is irreparably harmed. … Consumers are likely to mistakenly believe that Mr. West is the source of these digital coins,” the suit says, according to New York Daily News.
The founders of Coinye did not seem to foresee this backlash when they first conceptualized the idea — in fact, they tweeted at Kanye to alert him to its existence, hoping for his approval.
— Coinye (@CoinyeCoins) December 31, 2013
“We’d love if Kanye named dropped Coinye,” the founders said in an interview with Vice earlier this month. “I think he’s gonna love that there’s a CURRENCY named in his honor. We don’t want to pay him off to name check us, but it’d be sick if he does so.”
However, the founders also said that they preferred to stay anonymous “in case kanye gets p — ed off.”
Well, PO’d he got. A few days after their interview with Vice, Coinye’s founders were served with a cease and desist letter dated January 6 from Yeezy’s camp deeming the currency a form of trademark infringement that takes away from Kanye’s reputation. His lawyer, Brad Rose, wrote: “Given Mr. West’s wide-ranging entrepreneurial accomplishments, consumers are likely to mistakenly believe that Mr. West is the source of your services.”
Rose then requested that the coders stop using the name — or any iteration of it — and put the kibosh on their website and social channels.
In an attempt to circumvent the lawyers, the coders changed the name of the currency from “Coinye West” to “Coinye” and reworked the image on the coin to depict a fish wearing shades — they also moved their website to one registered in India. They then pushed up their release date to January 7, telling the Wall Street Journal: “We want to release this to the public before the man can try to crush it…. They’ll still come after us, but that’s OK.”
Well, come after them they did. Not only did Kanye file a suit against Coinye, he also took aim at Amazon.com, which provides hosting to currency exchange websites — among other defendants — according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The defendants responsible for “Coinye West” itself, however, remain anonymous.
When asked for comment by MTV News, they sent this: “@ThisWeeksCoin WE LOVE FISHSTICKS.”