Adult entertainment publisher Playboy is suing a Canadian blockchain startup for fraud and breaching a contract the two companies signed earlier this year.
According to a lawsuit filed in early August with the Los Angeles Superior Court, Playboy and Global Blockchain Technologies (GBT) signed a memorandum of understanding in March stating that GBT would help Playboy integrate the Vice Industry Token (VIT) onto its platforms.
Playboy planned to use the token to reward its audience for watching videos, writing comments and voting on content.
At the time, Playboy also announced a token sale, saying it would introduce a cryptocurrency wallet on the company's websites to support various coins for users to spend and earn. In May, GBT also announced it was working with Playboy Enterprises Inc. to integrate the digital wallet for VIT into the Playboy.tv portal.
Under the agreement, GBT was expected to provide technical support "at no cost" for Playboy and pay the company $4 million to license the Playboy brand in its own promotional materials. The payment was due on July 16, the lawsuit said.
Further, GBT was supposed to purge any mentions of pornography from the Vice Industry Token's website and "rebrand the VIT website as more generally video/entertainment-oriented."
Playboy argued that GBT did not provide any services supporting the technology, rebranding the VIT site or pay the $4 million. However, GBT did use Playboy's brand to attract investors, falsely assuring them that all of the company's projects are "on schedule," Playboy said.
Playboy did not specify what it was seeking in damages in the lawsuit.
GBT president Shidan Gouran told CoinDesk in an email that "Playboy's allegations have no merit" and that GBT has "no problem" defending itself "vigorously against frivolous lawsuits," though he declined to provide any details on the current development status of the VIT wallet.
Playboy representatives did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
Read the full lawsuit below:
Playboy image via Faiz Zaki / Shutterstock
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.