There’s exciting news in the world of cryptocurrency, the exchange medium that uses cryptography to secure the transactions and control the creation of new units. Bitcoin, created in 2009, was the first cryptocurrency and remains the most popular, though numerous other cryptocurrencies, such as Coinye, have emerged in the interim.
Where can you find cryptocurrency? Certainly not at your local bank.
Cryptocurrency is essentially digital money, a virtual medium of exchange that is not issued, backed, or tied to any particular nation or government. Cryptocurrency derives value through a variety of ways, such as buying either from exchanges, or directly from other people selling them, or try your hand at mining, which requires software you download to your computer.
After obtaining cryptocurrency, such as a bitcoin, the next hurdle is finding someone who will accept the currency in exchange for goods and services — which isn’t as difficult as you might think. Analysts estimate that over 65,000 bitcoin transactions occur every day through electronic transactions. What types of goods and services are exchanged, you may ask? Almost anything from the mundane products, such as electronics or dog apparel, to swanky cocktails or a Tesla, or to the illegal, including drugs and guns. Because purchases occur online through user’s virtual wallets, purchasers can remain anonymous and law enforcement can’t freeze their accounts.
Is this legal?
This form of currency is legal in all countries except Iceland, but some restrictions may apply. For example, in Russia it’s illegal to purchase goods with any currency other than the ruble. Even the U.S. Internal Revenue Service weighed in and solidified bitcoin’s legality. In March, the IRS ruled that bitcoin would be treated as property for tax purposes as opposed to currency, making it subject to capital gains tax. That decision clears up some gray area for investors.
What does rapper Kanye West have to do with cryptocurrency ?
The cryptocurrency Coinye which was originally called Coinye West, used rapper Kanye West’s likeness without his permission. The logo originally consisted of a cartoon version of West wearing his signature “shutter shades.” The operators also had a casino-like website named coinyecasino.com, which invited users to play to obtain the new currency.
West’s legal counsel did what any rational lawyer would do: send a cease and desist letter to the operator of Coinye alleging willful trademark infringement, unfair competition, cyberpiracy, and dilution — and requesting that they immediately stop using West’s likeness and name. Coinye sent their own cease and desist letter in response and changed the logo. The new logo included a half fish-half man wearing sunglasses, hailing from the South Park episode, Fishsticks, which mocked West’s lack of sense of humor and tendency to take himself too seriously.
Shortly afterward, West himself filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against the creators of this new cryptocurrency in New York federal court. Ten of the named defendants lost by default by late July. Three more defendants settled. In exchange for dropping the lawsuit, they agreed to be permanently banned from operating or using any website that uses the KANYE WEST mark, COINYE WEST mark, and COINYE mark, or any colorable imitation of the marks KANYE WEST or KANYE.
On Aug. 20, a judge made West’s victory official by entering a default judgment against the defendants. This ruling ensures the new cryptocurrency will not take over bitcoin.