It’s almost too unusual for words, but Kodak, perhaps the name most synonymous with film, publicized that it planned to introduce something called KodakOne, which is essentially a digital-rights/copyright management system for images, and in tandem with that plan to mint its own digital currency dubbed KodakCoin which will be the currency KodakOne users would be paid in.
Just before the announcement Eastman Kodak’s stock (KODK) was trading at around $3, and today around $10.5. For a company that has had a storied legacy only to have existed in a tumultuous fashion over the past few years, the embracing of this new tech is exciting, but also surprising.
Most modern photographers, I’d wager, are probably unfamiliar with Kodak’s pioneering spirit, but the history is there. In fact, that Kodak should be the photography company to take this next step in the digital world perhaps shouldn’t come as such a surprise – Kodak is, after all, the grandfather of digital cameras.
Sure, Kodak brought hobbyist photography to mass market and in some ways bolstered the Hollywood film industry, but it was also one of their engineers who created the first digital photo sensor in the 70s. Later on, in the 90s, Kodak dropped a 1.3 MP CCD into a modified Nikon F3 which became the world’s first DSLR. But the hesitation on the company’s part to give equal or more attention to digital over film essentially cost them their market, and it seems they’re hoping to leverage blockchain with the name in a way a company like Blockai never could.
Creating its own crypto currency is not the only way Kodak is planning on playing in the crypto sphere either, as the company plans on also creating strips of Bitcoin mining rigs at their HQ in Rochester. That program is being called Kodak KashMiner, and customers can effectively rent out mining rigs and whatever coin is mined will be shared between the customer and Kodak.
Interested? Well too bad, because all 80 spots are already sold out with 300 more on the way, also not meeting demand.
Anyone in the digital space who has bothered to look into blockchain tech will see just how awesome the potential is, but the jury is still out (or at least debated) on just how much different blockchain protection will be for photographers when it comes to getting paid for their work if it’s infringed upon. Tracking will be easier, sure, but it will take time. And how much different would it be than registering your images with any other major platform like Getty?
In any case, interesting times, and it only points in the direction that other photography companies will be thinking about an ICO in the near future.
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