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Coinye crypto-currency launches early due to legal pressure

A new crypto-currency called Coinye has been forced to launch four days early due to mounting legal pressure from Kanye West, whom the currency derives its name from.

Lawyers for the hip hop star filed cease-and-desist papers against Coinye's anonymous creators in an attempt to stop the launch. The virtual currency, originally named Coinye West (opens in new tab), responded by pushing its launch forward to 7 January.

On the currency's website, it stresses: "We would like to make it clear that we are entirely independent of (Kanye West), and there should be no confusion as to the intent or origin of this project.

"The name "Coinye" is intended solely as parody, not an indication or implication of endorsement or involvement."

Despite this, West's lawyers have argued that the seven coders behind the currency are guilty of trademark infringement.

According to the Wall Street Journal (opens in new tab), 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."

Failing to comply with the request, West's lawyers have threatened to "notify the crypto-currency community at large of (Coinye's creators) infringing actions and pursue all legal remedies against any business that accepts the purported COINYE WEST currency."

In response to the cease-and-desist papers, Coinye wrote on its website (opens in new tab): "We are being attacked with fishsticks and must launch sooner."

The new currency is one of a number of emerging virtual currencies proliferating in the wake of Bitcoin's success. The success of Coinye is still yet to be seen, but the hype surrounding its launch may well prove to give it an edge over its competitors.