An iconic name is joining the blockchain as Kodak announced plans to launch a cryptocurrency as part of a blockchain-based rights-management service for photographers.
The KodakOne service uses blockchain technology developed by Wenn Digital and is designed to allow photographers to track the use of their copyrighted images on the internet. The KodakCoin currency will serve as the medium of exchange on the platform, enabling users to receive payment for their work and pay for the rights to images.
The initial coin offering of KodakCoin will open on Jan. 31, with Kodak selling a set number of coins. CEO Jeff Clarke said the blockchain and the cryptocurrency will help photographers assert control over their work.
“Kodak has always sought to democratize photography and make licensing fair to artists,” he said in a news release. “These technologies give the photography community an innovative and easy way to do just that.”
As Forbes reports, “Kodak is just the latest company to experiment with digital currencies. As the price of bitcoin has soared 1,300% in the course of the last year, many businesses have looked for a way to get in on the action in some way.”
Start-ups raised more than $3 billion with initial coin offerings last year and, in December, shares of Long Island Iced Tea tripled after it said it would shift its primary focus from beverages to blockchain technology.
Investors also responded positively to Kodak’s announcement, sending its shares up more than 117% to $6.80 in trading Tuesday. The venerable company emerged from bankruptcy in 2013 with a focus on commercial imaging but its stock had lost 80% of its value since then.
“Tracking the ownership of artistic works traded and used online could end up being one of the main uses for blockchains in the real world,” Business Insider said, adding, “It can be difficult for collectors to verify the authenticity of a piece of art, especially those bought online, and for artists to restrict the use of their works or ensure payment for their use.”