The haemorrhaging of investors seen by Bitcoin appears to have done little to dampen the spirits at Kodak HQ. The US tech firm’s shares recently tripled, following its recent announcement of plans to launch its very own cryptocurrency, KodakCoin.
The cryptocurrency is planned for use on soon-to-be-launched KodakOne, a platform on which digital photographers can track photo royalties and rights. The platform will be constructed in partnership with Wenn Digital using blockchain.
That KodakCoin is intended for use on a specific platform may be its saving grace. Bitcoin, Ripple, and Ethereum saw prices plummet in recent weeks due to panic caused by threats of cryptocurrency clampdowns by China, India, and South Korea, a ban on cryptocurrency, initial coin, and binary options advertising by Facebook, and accusations of market manipulation.
With governments considering regulation and values tumbling, the future suddenly doesn’t look so certain for businesses such as cryptocurrency online casinos, e-commerce stores, online traders and other entities that accept this type of payment method. In fact, looming regulations and loss of value may ward people off approaching these entities and steer them back to the well-established online casinos and business platforms that have avoided the cryptocurrency craze, and continued in much the same manner as before.
Kodak Announcement Welcomed
Kodak shares, which sat at US$3.13 prior to the KodakCoin announcement, had already risen by 57 per cent by the following day. They more than doubled a day later, closing at US$10.70.
According to Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke, blockchain and cryptocurrency are technological tools that could offer tremendous help to photographers to exercise greater control over their work and how and where it is used.
More Than Rights Management
The KodakOne platform, the development of which is to be funded by the company’s initial coin offering (ICO), may offer more than just intellectual property rights management. The ICO token sale opened at the end of January.
A Wenn Digital statement confirmed the developer is considering incorporating various services, as well as revenue share, on the platform.
Updating Kodak’s Image
Kodak’s fortunes took a knock as digital cameras, smartphones, and tablets rose to prominence. As the need for photographic film, developing, and printing shrunk, so did the company’s finances.
By 2013, the company had declared bankruptcy, refocused on digital printing and packaging, and managed to recover from said bankruptcy – but only just. It has pinned high hopes on its KodakOne and KodakCoin projects, not least because it expects the move to increase not only its appeal and relevance in an increasingly online world, but its financial growth.
Not Without Scandal
Not all recipients of Kodak’s announcement were supportive. Some critics accused the company of running a cryptocurrency scam.
According to reports, KodakCoin is nothing more than paparazzi photo licensing-focussed ICO RYDE coin rebranded. The paparazzi photo business in question is Wenn Media, a Wenn Digital subsidiary. The reports claim the RYDE project page on crowdfunding platform Start Engine was deleted days before the Kodak announcement.
A possibly even more damning accusation came in reports that claimed several Kodak board members bought derivative securities the day prior to the announcement. Those securities enabled those board members to take advantage of the company’s share growth in the wake of the announcement.
Whether KodakOne and KodakCoin will revive the company’s fortunes and make it relevant in a digital and mobile world or will turn out to be little more than a desperate scam remains to be seen. Photographers might do well to wait before rushing to sign up.