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Kodak announces blockchain-based KodakCoin

Kodak saw its stock price more than double yesterday after it announced a blockchain-based service to help professional photographers keep track of their intellectual property. 

The announcement of KodakCoin caused the company’s share price to surge from $3.10 to more than $7 during trading yesterday, as the mania for all things cryptocurrency continues.  

It’s not the first company to enjoy a big stock price spike with a sprinkling of cryptocurrency pixie dust: The Long Island Iced Tea Company recently changed its name to ‘Long Blockchain’, tripling its stock price in 24 hours.

The new currency, developed with Wenn Digital, will initially be offered to accredited investors from 31 January in the UK, US, and Canada.

“Kodak has always sought to democratise photography and make licensing fair to artists. These technologies give the photography community an innovative and easy way to do just that,” said Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke.

Cryptocurrency and Blockchain have seen a massive surge in public interest (though not always complete mechanical understanding) since Bitcoin started to surge in value, making some casual investors who had bought a few when it launched a decade ago, into overnight millionaires.

Indeed, the shadowy founder of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto (whoever he or she really is) is now one of the 50 richest people in the world, although it’s understood that they haven’t touched their stash since 2009.

The KodakOne site that covers both the currency itself and the rights issues arising, can also search the web for unauthorised use of a photographer’s work, which could mean we see a lot more in the way of takedown orders from people who don’t understand how photo licencing works. 

The idea could also be applied to the music industry, with the Performing Rights Society or similar organisation producing its own version for the music industry. 

Although it belatedly licensed a smartphone last year, Kodak has never really found its feet since photography went digital – something that it dabbled in, but sat on the technology for fear that it would pole-axe the company’s lucrative film-making and processing businesses.

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