130-year-old Eastman Kodak joins cryptocurrency craze with 'KodakCoin'; shares surge

Tom Grill | JGI | Getty Images

"The image rights management platform will utilize the new KODAKCoin cryptocurrency to provide photographers with a new revenue stream and secure platform for protecting their work." .

Share value in Kodak popped on the news, climbing almost 120 percent to $6.80 as of writing.

Kodak, based in Rochester, N.Y., is planning an initial coin offering on January 31 for accredited investors in the U.S., UK, Canada and other countries.

The photography company, which went bankrupt a few years back after dragging its heels amid the digital revolution, announced KODAKCoin and an accompanying KODAKOne platform Tuesday: a "photo-centric cryptocurrency to empower photographers and agencies to take greater control in image rights management".

The site, called KodakOne is "a new economy" for photographers to license their work and receive payments, the company said. Picture icon Kodak has chose to take the plunge onto the blockchain and is partnering with WENN Digital to raise funds through a token sale, according to a press release. Further, WENN Digital leverages the market position of its 30-year old subsidiary WENN Media, which works with approximately 2,500 professional photographers. Eastman Kodak believes this new venture, which will be launched via an ICO, will help to address these concerns.

While acknowledging the timeliness of the move, the company said in a release that the move has been planned for a while. The coin will power KodakOne, a new platform created to help photographers with licensing requests.

With the price of Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ripple and other digital currencies skyrocketing, an eclectic mix of small, unrelated businesses has attempted to ride the wave of investor interest by teasing cryptocurrency pivots.

The KODAKOne platform will provide continual web crawling in order to monitor online use of images that have been registered. After exiting bankruptcy protection in 2013, Kodak has had a hard time adapting to new technology. 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", Clarke said. He's skeptical whether this cryptocurrency initiative represents a sustainable business.

The company also announced a website, KODAKCoin.com which they say will have more details in the coming days.

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