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Kodak’s Blockchain Moment Sees New Cryptocurrency for Photographers

Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:03 PM
Samburaj Das
Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:03 PM

Former film and camera heavyweight Kodak has announced the upcoming launch of its own cryptocurrency, dubbed KODAKCoin. An initial coin offering (ICO) is scheduled to open at the end of January.

With an official announcement  on Tuesday, US-based Eastman Kodak revealed that KODAKCoin will be “a photo-centric cryptocurrency to empower photographers and agencies” to seize greater control of their work’s image rights.

KODAKCoin will function as a currency and the cryptographic token used to power KODAKOne, an upcoming blockchain platform that will allow photographers to register archived and new work on an encrypted digital ledger before licensing it within the platform. In essence, photographers can receive payments for selling their work, as well as pay for licensing rights with the cryptocurrency.

Aside from providing a new revenue stream to photographers, Kodak says its blockchain platform will engage in ‘continual web crawling’ to constantly monitor and protect the intellectual property of images registered on the platform.

In a statement, Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke said:

“For many in the tech industry, ‘blockchain’ and ‘cryptocurrency’ are hot buzzwords, but for photographers who’ve long struggled to assert control over their work and how it’s used, these buzzwords are the keys to solving what felt like an unsolvable problem. Kodak has always sought to democratize photography and make licensing fair to artists. These technologies give the photography community an innovative and easy way to do just that.”

The blockchain platform and the cryptocurrency are developed by WENN Digital, a firm partnering Kodak for the latter’s crypto endeavor.

The move to create its own cryptocurrency is a notable initiative for Kodak, a 130-year-old company that struggled to transition from a former photography giant focused on film to a digital imaging company. The New York-based company filed for bankruptcy in early 2012 before selling  its digital imaging patents to the likes to a number of companies including Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Samsung for over $500 million to stave off bankruptcy. Kodak has since emerged as a company focused on the corporate digital emerging market.

In addition to its cryptocurrency, Kodak will launch an initial coin offering on January 31, currently open to accredited investors in a handful of select countries including the US, UK and Canada. The ICO is compliant and “issued under SEC guidelines as a security token under regulation 506 (c) as an exempt offering,” Kodak added.

News of KODAKCoin and KODAKOne’s impending launch sent the company’s shares soaring following its announcement yesterday. Kodak shares spiked from $3.10 on Tuesday to a Wednesday high of $13.04, data from Yahoo Finance  shows.

Featured image from Shutterstock.