Kodak, the ex-giant of photography, that completly missed the digital revolution, saw its stock soar by 120% in one day. This followed the announcement of a blockchain and a cryptocurrency for photographers worldwide. Trying to surf on a new technology or answer a real need of photographers? Decoding in progress.
While reading the titbit, one could smile as this looks downright opportunistic. Estman Kodak used to be the leader in analog photography equipment. A 130 year-old company, gone bankrupt in 2012 and back from the dead, sees its stock soar.
“Blockchain” + “Cryto-currency” = killer combo
And soaring it did: +120% in one day. It’s odd to think this happened to a venerable institution that missed the digital photography revolution. That and 21st century technologies. How did it manage that? Two words. Two magic words. “Blockchain” and “cryptocurrency”. The killer combo. It brings immediate surge to any company uttering them.
Is KodakCoin the new cryptocurrency on the block? One to top off the 1400 cryptocurrencies already in service while hoping to make it like Bitcoin? But offering nothing new… Some hasty deduction could give that impression. Kodak trying to follow the trend, desperately trying to get attention.
KodakOne, “a crypted ledger of property rights” for photographers
But what if it was slightly more complicated than it appears? This cryptocurrency will be linked to a rights managing platform. It is called KodakOne and relies on blockchain. Its aim is straightforward as dispayed in the press release. Offer an “encrypted, digital ledger of rights ownership for photographers to register both new and archive work that they can then license within the platform”.
To say the least, such a platform truly meets a need. The ledger would be forgery-proof. It would allow photographers to be payed immediatly with KodakCoin while making sure no photos are used without authorisation. The status of photographers has grown insecure these past years. Never have so many people used photos without worrying about copyright.
The solution to an unsolvable issue?
Jeff Clarken CEO of Eastman Kodak puts it very accurately. “To many in the tech world, “blockchain” and “cryptocurrency” are trendy words. But to many photographers struggling to keep some control over their work and how it is used, these trendy words could mean solving an unsolvable problem”
The KodakOne blockchain was developed with Wenn Digital. The KodakCoin, the associated crytocurrency, will help sell their work. Blockchain and crytocurrency help make smart contracts that trigger automatically when conditions are met. No need for a third party.
Kodak, the next digital phoenix?
For instance, a company participating in this blockchain could use a photographer’s work. That photographer would immediatly receive payment in KodakCoin. No one else would take part in the transaction.
“Kodak has always tried to make photography accessible to all and to make licenses fair for artists. The blockchain gives the photographers’ community a new way to achieve that” adds Jeff Clark
Shall we will see a phoenix, old king of analog photography, rise from the ashes under a digital sky? We hope for it. For the Kodak stock holders as well as for the worldwide community of photographers.
Translation: Lisa Korrigane