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Official logo
Date of introductionJanuary 7, 2014
InflationLimited release, production rate before this limit re-evaluated with the production of every block (at a rate of approximately 1 block per 90 seconds) based on the difficulty with which COINYEs are produced, eventually leading up to a final total of 133,333,333,333 coins.
 Method1 reward is released per block found. Rewards halve every 100K blocks.

Coinye, formerly Coinye West, is an abandoned[1][2] scrypt-based cryptocurrency that became embroiled in a trademark infringement lawsuit for using the likeness of American hip hop artist Kanye West as its mascot, despite West having no affiliation with the project.[3][4] The project was abandoned by the original developers following West's filing of a trademark infringement lawsuit against them.[5]



Coinye was originally slated for release on January 11, 2014, but legal pressure prompted David P. McEnery Jr. and his development team to release the source code and mining software on January 7, a few days ahead of schedule.[6] Early press materials promised a proper and fair release, with no pre-allocation of coins.[7] However, later statements from the developers confirmed that approximately 0.37% of the maximum money supply of Coinye had been reserved for the creators of the coin before launch.[8] The developers claimed that this was to cover unexpected legal and development costs.

Trademark infringement lawsuit[edit]

On January 6, 2014, Kanye West's lawyers sent the development team a cease and desist order on the basis that the then-unreleased currency constituted trademark infringement, unfair competition, cyberpiracy and dilution.[9][10] In response to the legal threats, the development team changed the name of the currency from "Coinye West" to "Coinye" and moved to a new domain name.[11] By January 10, 2014, the development team stated that they had removed all references to West but instead "to a half-man-half-fish hybrid," a nod to a South Park episode in which West fails to realize why people are jokingly calling him a "gay fish."[12] These actions were not sufficient to appease West's legal team and a lawsuit was filed against the creators of the coin, prompting them to sell their Coinye holdings and leave the project.[1]

Developer departure and community takeover[edit]

On January 14, 2014, a representative of Coinye announced on Reddit that "the developers basically dumped all their coins on the one exchange and left the scene."[1] Coinye's official site was replaced with text reading "Coinye is dead. You win, Kanye." and the original website is now down.[13]

Decline of use[edit]

Coinye has been called "defunct" by numerous publications.[14][15][16] Coinye's global block difficulty fell from 78 to 1.012 between January 18, 2014[17] and May 7, 2014,[18] indicating that the network's total processing power fell by roughly 99% during that time. Had West not sued Coinye, some predictions put the hypothetical value at approximately twenty times its original worth, as of 2017.[19] By 2017, no one was trading or mining Coinye.[20]


  1. ^ a b c Newton, Casey (14 January 2014). "Coinye developers say they're abandoning project as Kanye West escalates legal battle". The Verge. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  2. ^ Marc, Schneider. "Kanye West Buries Coinye With Lawsuit Victory". Billboard. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  3. ^ Yannick LeJacq (2 January 2014). "Oh Yeezus! Cryptocurrency gets hip with Kanye-inspired 'Coinye West'". NBC News. Archived from the original on 2 January 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  4. ^ Adam Gauntlett (3 January 2014). "Bitcoin Rival Coinye West To Launch This Month". The Escapist. Archived from the original on 7 January 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  5. ^ Winograd, David (14 January 2014). "Kanye Sues Coinye, and The Cryptocurrency's Creators Back Down". TIME. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  6. ^ Danny Yadron (7 January 2014). "Kanye's Lawyer Moves to Block Coinye". Digits. The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 7 January 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  7. ^ Clark, Liat (3 January 2014). "CoinYe West: a new cryptocurrency for the masses and ode to Kanye". Wired. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  8. ^ Vega, Danny (8 January 2014). "Coinye West: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  9. ^ Rose, Brad (6 January 2014). "Infringement of KANYE WEST Mark and Other Violations" (PDF). Pryor Cashman LLP. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  10. ^ Kyle Chayka (7 January 2014). "Bound 2 Happen: Kanye West Demands Coinye Programmers Shut Down the Digital Currency". TIME. Archived from the original on 8 January 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  11. ^ Danny Yadron (7 January 2014). "Kanye's Lawyer Moves to Block Coinye". Digits. The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 7 January 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  12. ^ Adi Robertson (10 January 2014). "Coinye responds to Kanye complaint, says currency now based on 'half-man half-fish hybrid'". The Verge. Archived from the original on 10 January 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  13. ^ Geffen, Sasha. "How much would Coinye be worth today if Kanye West hadn't sued it to death?". Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  14. ^ O'Rourke, Patrick. "Kanye West kills the Coinye, a bitcoin-like cryptocurrency named after him". Postmedia Network. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  15. ^ McGovern, Kyle. "Coinye West Is Now Out of Print". SPIN. BUZZMEDIA. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  16. ^ Burt, Chris. "Kanye West Sues Digital Currency Coinye, Alleged Hosting Provider AWS". The Whir. iNet Interactive. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  17. ^ "The cryptocurrency who lived twice: Coinye is back [infographic]". Bitcoin Examiner. 18 January 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  18. ^ "Web Archive - CoinyeCoin Alt Explorer". Archived from the original on 7 May 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  19. ^ Sasha Geffen (13 December 2017). "How much would Coinye be worth today if Kanye West hadn't sued it to death?". The Fader. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  20. ^ "Where some of the weirdest cryptocurrencies of the early..." The Verge. Retrieved 6 November 2018.

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