Because the world in 2018 has gone completely, absolutely nuts, here’s something for you: Kodak – yes, the camera brand – are launching their own cryptocurrency, called KodakCoin. And it caused stock for the company to soar by upwards of 60 percent.
So, there’s potentially a use for the blockchain in this context, as hard as it is to separate from the flood of fraudsters and snake oil salesmen who have seized on the current crypto craze. According to Kodak, Kodakcoins will work as ‘tokens’ inside their new KodakOne digital rights management platform. It will operate as a distributed digital ‘ledger’ of rights ownership, which will “empower photographers and agencies to take greater control in image rights management”.
Kodak’s press statement is… somewhat confusing. One thinks this is going to be a particularly hard sell to those unacquainted with blockchain tech:
Utilising 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, sell their work confidently on a secure blockchain platform. KODAKOne platform provides continual web crawling in order to monitor and protect the IP of the images registered in the KODAKOne system
In the same press statement, Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke seemed to try and address concerns that this is just a way of cashing in on the Bitcoin craze:
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.
So, in short, the KodakOne platform – and KodakCoin, by extension – are supposed to be means by which photographers can establish ownership of their photos and monetise them. Of course, there’s no real reason why they should use the blockchain for this rather than… well, any other method, really. So that does raise eyebrows about why they’ve chosen to jump on the bandwagon. Curiouser and curiouser.
Whether or not you reckon cryptocurrency and bitcoin are Ponzi schemes or not, you’ve certainly got to balk just a little at the number of companies mankind abrupt pivots into blockchain technology. Remember the dotcom crash in the late 90s? Something to ponder, in my humble opinion.