Remember Kodak? The legendary photography firm hopped on the blockchain bandwagon on Tuesday, with the announcement of its own “KodakCoin” cryptocurrency to help photographers manage their digital rights. Like many sudden pivots to crypto that came before, investors scrambled to cash in on the announcement moments after it broke.

The stock, which opened at $3.10 on Tuesday, soared by a staggering 147 percent to reach a high of $7.65 during market trading. It wasn’t over yet, though, as the stock continued to soar to a staggering peak of $10 in after-hours trading, more than triple the morning price.

It all sounds a bit like the “Long Island Iced Tea” saga from last month, where the beverage producer changed its name to “Long Blockchain” and sent its stock value sky-high without actually doing anything. Kodak’s plan is different, though, as it’s outlined a cryptocurrency that fits with the business and could benefit the industry.

In partnership with blockchain firm Wenn Digital, Kodal plans to launch the KodakOne image rights management platform. The system will use KodakCoin to license users’ work, allowing photographers to securely receive payment from consumers. Each transaction and license is stored on the blockchain. KodakOne will crawl the web to find unlicensed uses of registered images, allowing photographers to take action and ensure proper compensation.

The company even unveiled a new logo for the service:

KodakOne's logo.
KodakOne's logo.

“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,” says Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke. “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.”

The company also plans to avoid the hassle of getting merchants to accept the coin by hosting its own marketplace, where users can buy and sell photo-focused goods and services like flights, hotels, venues, models and studios. It’s an issue that has plagued bitcoin, with both Steam and Microsoft withdrawing support for the cryptocurrency.

“KodakCoin is all about paying photographers fairly and giving them an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a new economy tailored for them, with secure asset rights management built right in,” says Wenn Digital CEO Jan Denecke.

Kodak plans to host an initial coin offering for KodakCoin on January 31, open to investors from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and select other countries.


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