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Kanye West forces Coinye developers to abandon crypto-currency

The developers of the virtual currency Coinye have given up on the project following a legal battle with the rapper Kanye West.

A suit filed by West's company Mascotte Holdings claimed that Coinye was trading on his image without permission.

"Defendants have willfully and admittedly traded upon the goodwill and notoriety of Kanye West, one of the most famous entertainers and brand names in the world," the suit stated, according to the New York Post (opens in new tab).

"Without hesitation, defendants have usurped Mr. West's name and likeness for the sole purpose of propping up the perceived 'value' of the defendants' 'digital coin mine' and its 'cryptocurrency.'"

In response, the virtual currency was abandoned by the anonymous creators and a message posted to Coinye's site read: "Coinye is dead. You win, Kanye."

The Bitcoin-inspired digital currency had been forced to launch early (opens in new tab) due to mounting legal pressure from West, whom the currency derives its name from.

Originally called Coinye West, the currency's creators attempted to distance themselves from the rapper by shortening the name and changing the logo to a cartoon fish.

"The name 'Coinye' is intended solely as a parody, not an indication or implication of endorsement or involvement," the developer's had stated at the time of its launch.

In an effort to involve West, Coinye's creators reportedly offered the star 100,000 Coinye coins if he endorsed the idea, though such an idea seems to have been swiftly rebuffed.

Linking itself with West had proved a successful publicity stunt, drawing media attention to the venture and allowing it to stand out from the many virtual currencies that have proliferated in the wake of Bitcoin's success.