Former film and camera heavyweight Kodak has announced the upcoming launch of its own cryptocurrency, dubbed KODAKCoin. An initial coin offering (ICO) is scheduled to open at the end of January.
KODAKCoin will function as a currency and the cryptographic token used to power KODAKOne, an upcoming blockchain platform that will allow photographers to register archived and new work on an encrypted digital ledger before licensing it within the platform. In essence, photographers can receive payments for selling their work, as well as pay for licensing rights with the cryptocurrency.
Aside from providing a new revenue stream to photographers, Kodak says its blockchain platform will engage in ‘continual web crawling’ to constantly monitor and protect the intellectual property of images registered on the platform.
The blockchain platform and the cryptocurrency are developed by WENN Digital, a firm partnering Kodak for the latter’s crypto endeavor.
The move to create its own cryptocurrency is a notable initiative for Kodak, a 130-year-old company that struggled to transition from a former photography giant focused on film to a digital imaging company. The New York-based company filed for bankruptcy in early 2012 before selling its digital imaging patents to the likes to a number of companies including Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Samsung for over $500 million to stave off bankruptcy. Kodak has since emerged as a company focused on the corporate digital emerging market.
Though just announced this week, Kodak has already begun accepting pre-initial coin offering (ICO) investments. Global Blockchain Technologies Corp., a Canadian firm based out of Vancouver, revealed that it has subscribed for all 8 million KODAKCoins that were made available during the first of two pre-ICO stages, for a reported sum of $2 million. The full ICO will commence on Jan. 31 and will be open to accredited investors.
Kodak launching branded Bitcoin mining rigs in licensing deal
In addition to developing its own cryptocurrency, Kodak has licensed its name to create the KashMiner, a Kodak-branded mining rig.
A two-year lease on the machine will cost $3,400, and the company estimates that it will produce a monthly revenue of $375 worth of bitcoins, or $9,000 over the course of the lease.
There’s a catch, however. In addition to paying the $3,400 lease, users will be required to return half of the profits to Kodak, reducing their estimated revenue from $9,000 to $4,500.
But wait, there’s more! Kodak’s estimates assume that the miners will earn consistent monthly revenue over the course of the two-year lease, which ignores the fact that bitcoin’s mining has lately been increasing at a monthly rate of about 15 percent. Consequently, some industry observers doubt that users will even be able to recoup the value of their $3,400 investment, much less turn a profit.
Kodak’s blockchain pivot has been met with mixed reactions from analysts, with some hoping it could mark the start of a new era for the storied firm while others are characterizing it as a naked cash grab following the firm’s 2013 bankruptcy.
Investors, however, are bullish on the move. Since announcing the news earlier this week, Kodak stock has more than tripled to $10.70 from a previous level of $3.15.