Kodak becomes latest firm to jump into cryptocurrencies

Kodak has announced it will launch its own cryptocurrency intended to help photographers take control of their image rights.

Much has been made recently of the huge boom in interest for cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin’s spike in value has been well-documented, but competitors such as Ethereum have also seen major jumps in their value. And now photo brand Kodak has decided to get in on the act with the launch of its own digital currency.

The resurrected camera maker may not seem like the most obvious candidate for its own cryptocurrency, but the brand believes distributed ledger technology will help photographers take better control of their image rights.

Announcing the plans at this week’s CES in Las Vegas, the firm explained that the KODAKCoin system will allow photographers to receive payment for licensing their work immediately upon sale, and enable both professional and amateur photographers to sell their work confidently on a secure blockchain platform.

The associated KODAKOne platform provides continual web crawling to monitor and protect the IP of the images registered in the KODAKOne system. If it detects unlicensed usage of images, it can take steps to manage the post-licensing process and ensure photographers are rewarded.

This highlights how cryptocurrencies are continuing to capture the imagination of companies and investors, with blockchain technology extending far beyond its original design. Investors were certainly taken with the plans, with the firm’s shares rising by 120 percent following the announcement.

The fact Kodak is moving quickly to embrace this technology has also raised eyebrows among some commentators, as the company has in recent years become a byword for complacency and not moving with the times. The phrase ‘Kodak moment’ has even been used to describe companies – including some in the banking sector – that have become obsolete after failing to keep up with evolving technology.

Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke commented: “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.”

Written by Jack Dougal