Steem Fork Faces Legal Threat From Mining Firm Over 'Hive' Name

A new blockchain called Hive is being told it needs to change its name just days after it was created in a fork from Steem.

Mar 23, 2020 at 3:35 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 8:21 a.m. UTC

When choosing a name for your crypto project, it's a really good idea to Google it first.

The latest to have apparently fallen at that hurdle is a group of Steem community members who recently opted to form a new blockchain over fears that Tron founder Justin Tron would seek to exert too much control of Steem's ecosystem.

The group, Hive.io, dubbed the new blockchain Hive, and it materialized via a hard fork of Steem last week. The plan is to reproduce all steem tokens with new hive tokens on a one-for-one basis. Sun's big pile of steems would not be copied over, leaving him with no power in the new chain's governance.

However, in choosing the Hive moniker, the project has stepped on the corporate toes of a blockchain firm branded with the same name.

HIVE Blockchain Technologies Ltd., a Canadian publicly listed mining firm based in Vancouver, published a notice Monday saying it has sent a cease-and-desist letter from its legal representatives to Hive.io, saying the new blockchain is tapping into its investment in building "goodwill" in the industry.

"In response to multiple shareholder inquiries understandably confused by this Blockchain’s announcement, HIVE clarifies that it has no association with this Blockchain," the mining firm writes. "HIVE believes this Blockchain’s use of 'Hive' and 'Hive Blockchain' is, intentionally or otherwise, confusing with the Company’s brand, which it has used globally over the Internet in relation to its connection with blockchain related goods and services including cryptocurrency."

Frank Holmes, interim executive chairman at HIVE, said the firm has "no issue with the proposed blockchain beyond its name."

"However, for legal reasons, we have no option but to seek to protect our interests, dispel the ongoing confusion and avoid any potential damage to our reputation," he said. "We are hopeful this can be easily resolved with a name change. Any continued usage by the blockchain will only evidence an intentionally predatory, misleading and fraudulent strategy.”

CoinDesk reached out to Hive.io for comment but did not immediately receive an answer.

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