On Kodak's Blockchain Moment
- Last week Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke said, “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 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.”
- A Kodak press release said, “Utilizing blockchain technology, the KODAKOne platform will create an encrypted, digital ledger of rights ownership for photographers to register both new and archive work that they can then license within the platform. With KODAKCoin, participating photographers are invited to take part in a new economy for photography, receive payment for licensing their work immediately upon sale, and for both professional and amateur photographers to sell their work confidently on a secure blockchain platform.”
- WENN Digital is a partner in this effort. The firm’s CEO Jan Denecke said , “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.”
- Notes: 1) News of this initiative moved Kodak’s stock from $3.10 to $9.20, during the week. It traded at $36.88 on January 10, 2014. 2) The firm filed for bankruptcy in 2012, 3) The “KODAKCoin” initial coin offering (ICO) opens on January 31, 2018. The offering complies with SEC guidelines under Regulation 506 (c) as an exempt offering.
- Managing digital asset rights, including photographs, are among the opportunities where digital ledgers, such as blockchains, are likely to address value to content creators and users.
- The chances of successfully executing blockchain solutions are likely to increase when an organization can leverage pre-existing brands, distribution challenges and customer bases.
- Since its bankruptcy filing, Kodak has focused on licensing its brand name to other organizations that are bringing products to market. If this is the case with KODAKOne, it is unclear what the revenue potential is for Kodak for the use of this blockchain solution.
- Regarding the KODAKOne ICO, the relationship between Kodak and WENN Digital needs additional clarification. It is less clear how a KODAKOne coin would be used.