Among the glitzy tech unveilings and virtual reality press conferences of this year's Consumer Electronics Show, there was an altogether more mundane reveal from Kodak but one that could be more important than any flying car or AI-powered toaster.
Kodak, alongside WENN Digital, announced that it is to launch its very own cryptocurrency that aims to protect photographer's image rights and ensure they get paid for usage.
Dubbed KODAKCoin, the digital currency will be backed up by a blockchain ledger and image rights platform called KODAKOne, which will allow photographers to securely register new and old work.
Like BitCoin and other newsworthy digital monetary systems, KODAKOne aims to build a global ledger of image rights ownership, which will be constantly crawled and verified by the firm's software.
"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," explains Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke.
"Kodak has always sought to democratize photography and make licensing fair to artists. These technologies give the photography community an innovative way to do just that," he adds.
For both amateur and professionals
According to the company, both amateur and professional photographers will be able to sign up to the scheme, which will handle the licensing side for them and will subsequently lead to users being paid in KODAKCoin 'immediately upon sale'.
However, some critics of the initiative have stated that Kodak's system won't do anything that similar software from Shutterstock or Getty Images already does, and the key difference is that members of said services are paid in offline currency.
Kodak's initial coin offering will open on January 31 and is open to accredited investors from the US, UK, Canada and other select countries.
A landing page is now live that provides more information on the service and invites interested parties to download Kodak's Lite Paper on the subject.
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