Even with the current volatility of the cryptocurrency market, Kodak is looking to make its mark. The company recently announced that it’s joining forces with Wenn Digital to launch its own cryptocurrency for photographers called KODAKCoin.
Using blockchain technology, KODAKCoin will not only help photographers get paid more efficiently, but aid in blocking copyright infringement.
Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke said in a statement: “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.”
KODAKOne is the distribution platform for the cryptocurrency that targets both individual photographers as well as agencies. It’s supposed to make it significantly cheaper—and faster—to register, move and sell digital images. Kodak’s cryptocurrency allows photographers to register images, track photo usage, and take advantage of post-licensing image enforcement. KODAKOne will be constantly searching the web to seek out possible infringement; assisting photographers in recouping expenses in these instances.
Kodak planned to host an initial coin offering (ICO) at the end of January, however its release was delayed. A public sale was to follow their pre-sale, during which 8 million KodakCoins were sold. And while the public reacted positively to the new currency, per a statement, the delay is being attributed to an extended process of verifying that those trying to invest are actually accredited in the US; meaning they have a net worth of more than $1 million or an income of at least $200,000.
According to Bloomberg, initial shares surged 119% at the New York Stock Exchange the afternoon of the announcement. However, in the wake of the delay announcement, Eastman Kodak Co. share prices fell more than 15%.
There has been mounting criticism that companies are taking advantage of the current trend to invest in cryptocurrencies and the underlying platform, blockchain. The US Securities and Exchange Commission said that it was looking closely at the trend of public companies that announce investments in blockchain.
Kodak’s interest in crypto-currency has raised eyebrows among those that follow the 130-year-old photography company, with some calling it a cynical attempt to revive its fortunes.
Kodak is not the first company to take a surprising leap into the cryptocurrency market. Long Island Iced Tea Corp. said it plans to change its name to Long Blockchain Corp., as it wants to focus more on blockchain technology, while continuing to make beverages. Its shares nearly tripled on the announcement.
What are your thoughts on Kodak entering the cryptocurrency market? Is this good for the company or just a money grabbing scheme?