The United States Federal Reserve has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Bitcoin Magazine, a crypto media publication, accusing it of trademark violations. The letter claims that the publication’s use of the word “FedNow” on merchandise, such as t-shirts and hats, infringes on the trademarked name of the Federal Reserve’s instant payment system, also called FedNow.
According to Bitcoin Magazine, the Federal Reserve alleges that the merchandise featuring the word “FedNow” misleads 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 denying the allegation and stating that the merchandise is undeniably parodic in nature. It was created for the purpose of parody and political criticism directed at the Federal Reserve.
Bitcoin Magazine’s letter pointed to the image of an eye found in the designs as evidence of the parody. It referred to the eye as a “surveillance eye” and explained that it symbolizes the state of total financial surveillance that the Federal Reserve is seeking to impose on the American financial system. The eye is reminiscent of the “Eye of Providence,” a symbol depicted in Jacopo Pontormo’s 1525 painting, Supper at Emmaus, and later featured on the back side of a U.S. 1-dollar bill.
Despite the cease-and-desist letter, Bitcoin Magazine stated that it would continue printing and selling its “FedNow” merchandise, as it believes the items constitute protected free speech under the First Amendment. The publication has been critical of FedNow in its articles and videos, labeling it a “scam” that enables the government to maintain control over businesses and individuals.
FedNow, launched by the Federal Reserve in July, is an interbank payment system designed to enable instant payments between banks and money transmitter services. Unlike the previous automated clearing house (ACH) system, it enables faster transactions. Bitcoin Magazine’s criticism of FedNow stems from concerns about government control and the potential violation of privacy that may arise from the adoption of a central bank digital currency (CBDC).
Presidential candidates Ron DeSantis and Robert Kennedy Jr. have also voiced their opposition to FedNow, claiming that it paves the way for a future CBDC that will compromise the privacy of Americans. However, the Federal Reserve has denied any association between its service and a CBDC.
In conclusion, Bitcoin Magazine has received a cease-and-desist letter from the Federal Reserve for trademark violations related to its “FedNow” merchandise. The publication disputes the allegations, asserting that the items are parodic and constitute protected free speech. Bitcoin Magazine has been critical of FedNow and its potential implications, joining other voices in expressing concerns about government control and privacy in the context of a potential CBDC.