Kodak, the legendary photography brand, is revamping its efforts to take the art—and business—of photography into the new age. And it plans to do so by entering a business that has been one of the most discussed and debated topics in modern business: cryptocurrency.
This past Monday, the brand announced that a partnership is in the works with photo asset company WENN Digital to launch KodakCoin and KodakOne, two parts of a “blockchain-based initiative” that will focus on the “empowerment of photographers and agencies to take greater control in image rights management.”
“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,” Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke said in a statement. “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.”
In a world where photographers often struggle to make sure they are fairly compensated for their work, news of this new venture is huge. It aims to provide a means for artists to successfully track their photos across the Internet and get paid whenever their work is used. The new system would allow photographers to register with WENN and quickly receive payment after licensing. It also allows for their work to be securely tracked for unauthorized usage and helps facilitate the process of getting paid.
“Engaging with a new platform, it is critical photographers know their work and their income is handled securely and with trust, which is exactly what we did with KodakCoin,” WENN Digital CEO Jan Denecke said in a statement. “Subject to the highest standards of compliance, 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.”
This move paid immediate dividends for Kodak in the financial world, too, as it was reported that Kodak shares soared to a 120 percent increase right after the announcement of KodakCoin.
The program is slated to launch on January 31 in select countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada.