Coming soon: Kanye West-themed Bitcoin-clone, "Coinye West"

Since the meteoric success of bitcoin, clones have been turning up everywhere. From the well-known alternatives like Litecoin and Namecoin to the more obscure such as Freicoin, Timekoin and Megacoin, dozens of other cryptocurrencies have sprung up to fill the apparent desire for alternative digital currencies.

This is why it should as little surprise that a new online currency called "Coinye West" is set to hit the Internet on 11 January.

Okay, maybe a little surprise.

The website for the upcoming currency, based on the hip-hop superstar Kanye West, claims that Coinye West will have "no screwed up fake 'fair' launches, shyster devs, muted channels, and f**ked up wallets. We will be releasing password protected, encrypted archives containing the binaries and source for the wallet and daemon BEFORE LAUNCH, with the passwords to be released at the specified time."

The creators also claim, "we will work with multiple pools to orchestrate a PROPER and FAIR release."

The new currency will have a maximum number of coins set at 66,666,666,666, with a block time of 90 seconds.

There's even a community on Reddit called Dogemarket where users trade Dogecoin for actual, real-world items — though as of today, a single Dogecoin is worth only $0.00023 – a far cry from the average $854 (£518) that Bitcoin is still wavering around.

While this whimsical approach to creating something as serious as a currency might seem ludicrous, there's actually a lot of good sense behind it. The creators of Dogecoin and Coinye West will likely be looking to how media attention fuelled the soaring success of Bitcoin in the wake of the US congressional hearing on its viability as a currency that took place late last year.

In an increasingly competitive market for digital currencies, anything that will get you noticed is likely to be an advantage.

Still, if the former president of the Dutch Central Bank, Nout Wellink, has said that bitcoin hype is worse than the so-called "tulip mania" of the 17th century, we dread to think about his opinion of the upcoming Coinye West.

It's still unclear whether Kanye West himself is involved with Coinye West, though the use of his name and the extensive use of the video for "Black Skinhead" on the new currency's website suggests that there is at least some level of official acknowledgement. However, the hip-hop star has made no comment in the media or on Twitter, despite being specifically asked by the new currency's creators.

The new coin has been announced just weeks after a record Bitcoin collapse followed Cameron Winklevoss's ambitious claim the virtual currency could expect to one day be worth over $40,000 (£25,000).