Blockchain is has certainly become one of the hot topics in technology in the last couple of years, usually regarding the experience and media coverage of the price of assets transacted on these distributed ledgers, such as Bitcoin or Ether. Despite the emphasis on price, the technology if implemented well could potentially alleviate many of the frictions of digital identity, data provenance, peer-to-peer finance, and many other areas.
On Tuesday, Kodak, the photography and film printing company, announced the KodakOne blockchain platform for photographers to manage licensing and monetization of their works and the KodakCoin cryptocurrency to transact on the platform. Their stock price tripled.
KodakCoin will enter the market through an initial coin offering (ICO) starting on January 31st. According to a press release, KodakCoin is “issued under SEC guidelines as a security token under Regulation 506 (c) as an exempt offering,” making it one of the few SEC-sanctioned crypto-assets.
The KodakOne platform is being developed in conjunction with WENN Digital. However, according to an Ars Technica article that further explored the relationship, evidence suggests that Kodak has licensed its brand to a canceled project/ICO developed by WENN Media (a subsidiary of WENN Digital) called Ryde Coin, a blockchain platform for paparazzi photographers with features not unlike that of KodakOne.
The pattern continues with a mining machine rental service recently unveiled at CES, the Kodak KashMiner. According to coverage by Business Insider, this service by Spotlite Digital Assets requires one to accept a two-year agreement with an up-front payment of $3,400. Half of the profits generated by the miner—which supposedly amounts to $375 each month despite changes in mining difficulty in the Bitcoin network—go to Spotlite. Precise return of investment and cryptocurrency mining are mutually exclusive in the current state of the art.
Branding between Spotlite and Kodak was not coordinated at the conference, with some flyers depicting Kodak’s logo and some not.
While genuine efforts to improve the business model of photographers in an age of ubiquitous images are much appreciated, reality seems to indicate that KodakOne and the Kodak KashMiner are autonomous ventures with a new coat of paint.
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