Coinye was a crypto project named after hip-hop artist Kanye West. He didn’t like the idea and tried to kill the project in a lawsuit – but it hasn’t entirely disappeared.
They probably meant no harm. When the development team launched Coinye West in 2014, their goal was to create a cryptocurrency for the hip-hop industry.
The altcoin was named after the famous rapper Kanye West, in an attempt to tap into his humongous follower base. The developer team reached out to the hip-hop legend and tweeted news about the coin’s development to the rapper in the hope he would find the idea just as exciting as they did.
“We chose to represent Kanye because he is and always has been a trendsetter, and he’s always keeping things unique,” said one of the currency’s developers in an anonymous interview. “We’d love if Kanye named dropped Coinye. I think he’s gonna love that there’s a currency named in his honor.”
Well, he didn’t – the result: Beef in the crypto hood. Kanye West sued the developer team and won a copyright infringement lawsuit.
The coin had been declared dead
Kanye went to war with Coinye in July 2014, when he unleashed his lawyers against the coin’s creators. As a first response, the dev team changed the visual design of the coin which first featured a portrayal of Kanye West, depicted as a fish.
But that was too little and too late. Kanye’s lawyers dragged anyone involved with the project to court. In the end, the coin creators declared the project dead, and three of them ended up settling with West in court.
Lies. Coinye is alive and never stopped
But Kanye West’s lawyers seem to have underestimated the power (and sense of humor) of anonymous blockchain networks. Coinye appears to be alive. It’s not called Coinye West anymore, but simply “Coinye” and it still shows the fish-like image of the rapper’s head.
The official Coinye website reads:
I heard about Coinye and that it died after Kanye sued it?
Lies. First of all, Coinye is alive and never stopped. Secondly, nobody actually got sued; some angry letters were sent by Kanye’s lawyers. The original Devs left after the first week and still remain anonymous to this day. Some other people signed some agreement never to get involved in or talk about Coinye again in exchange to not get sued.
The website also explains that while Kanye West has “clearly inspired” the original Coinye, there is no involvement whatsoever.
While Coinye supposedly traded as high as $1,000 near its launch date, according to the dev team, it’s not listed on any exchange today. Of course not, who would risk it? But the website is still online.
The Coinye Team said on Bitcointalk: “Newsflash, you can’t kill a cryptocurrency.”
They might be right. The anonymity of cryptocurrencies could enable Coinye to survive forever. The same could not be said for fiat currencies. What do you think why the U.S. Mint Factory has stopped producing 50 Cent coins?
The other question is, could Coinye have been a success? Yes, maybe, but only with Kanye West’s support. He could potentially have made a handsome amount of money by providing his brand. But he probably didn’t like the fish-like representation.
So, two lessons for future ICOs: Firstly, if you ever involve anyone in your project, ask for permission first, no matter how funny you think it may be. Secondly, if you don’t ask for permission, at least don’t display anyone like a fish, maybe a lion or a tiger would be more flattering.