The United States Federal Reserve sent a cease-and-desist letter to crypto media publication Bitcoin Magazine, accusing it of trademark violations, according to a Nov. 3 post by the publication. Bitcoin Magazine claims it is under attack for its use of the word “FedNow” on “t-shirts, caps and other wearable devices.” FedNow is the registered trademark of the Federal Reserve’s instant payment system.
The US Federal Reserve is threatening to sue Bitcoin Magazine, claiming that clothing parodying its FedNow system is not protected speech, but rather copyright infringement.@markgoodw_in with response from Bitcoin Magazine: https://t.co/PYmeZHBYWO
– Bitcoin Magazine (@BitcoinMagazine) November 3, 2023
Bitcoin Magazine has some products in its store that have the word “FedNow” printed on it, but the “O” in the word has been replaced with an image of an eye.
According to the publication, the Federal Reserve stated that these articles “mislead readers into believing that there is a connection between the publication and the central bank.”
In response, Bitcoin Magazine’s legal team sent a letter to the Federal Reserve denying the allegation. The merchandise is “undeniably parodic in nature,” the letter said, as it was created “for the purpose of parody and political criticism directed at the Federal Reserve.”
As evidence, the letter pointed to the image of an eye found on the designs, which it referred to as a “surveillance eye.” In a separate open letter referenced in the post, Bitcoin Magazine referred to the eye as an “all-seeing eye that symbolizes the state of total financial surveillance that [the Federal Reserve] “It is trying to impose itself on the American financial system.”
The term “all-seeing eye” or “Eye of Providence” refers to a symbol found in Jacopo Pontormo’s 1525 painting, The Supper at Emmaus, and which later appeared on the back of a US dollar bill. American dollar.
In its post, Bitcoin Magazine stated that it would not stop printing or selling its “FedNow” line of products, as it believes the items constitute free speech protected under the First Amendment.
FedNow is an interbank payment system launched by the Federal Reserve in July. It allows banks and money transfer services to make payments instantly, without needing to rely on the automated clearing house (ACH) system used in the past. Bitcoin Magazine has heavily criticized FedNow in its articles and videos, stating that it is a “scam” that allows the government to “continue to control you, your business, and everyone else’s.”
Related: FedNow introduces DLT-based payment system as service provider
FedNow has also been criticized by US presidential candidates Ron Desantis and Robert Kennedy, Jr. They claim it is paving the way for a future central bank digital currency, which they say will violate Americans’ privacy. The Federal Reserve has denied that its service has anything to do with a CBDC.