Kodak has announced the launch of its KodakCoin cryptocurrency utilising blockchain security technology, which it said is aimed at enabling image rights management for photographers.
"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," Kodak said.
The camera company's "photo-centric" cryptocurrency is being launched under a licensing partnership with Wenn Digital, and will also involve a blockchain-backed image rights management platform called KodakOne.
"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," Kodak explained.
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KodakOne protects the intellectual property of images registered in its system by constantly web crawling for the purposes of monitoring and detecting unlicensed usage of images.
Following the announcement, Kodak shares had risen by 133 percent by the time of publication.
According to Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke, photographers have "long struggled to assert control" over their intellectual property rights, with the blockchain and cryptocurrency buzzwords "the keys to solving what felt like an unsolvable problem".
"Kodak has always sought to democratise photography and make licensing fair to artists. These technologies give the photography community an innovative and easy way to do just that," Clarke said.
Calling it a new economy tailored for photographers, Kodak's initial coin offering (ICO) will open on January 31, and will be open to investors in the US, the UK, Canada, and "other select countries".
The UK Treasury had previously announced its intention to crack down on cryptocurrency, however, in early December saying it would examine the regulation of Bitcoin following money laundering and tax evasion concerns.
A European Union-wide plan for online platforms trading Bitcoin would require due diligence on users to be carried out, with any suspicious transactions to be reported. The move is aimed at ending the anonymity associated with cryptocurrencies.
"We have clear tax rules for people who use cryptocurrencies, and like all tax rules, these are kept under review," a UK Treasury spokesperson said at the time.
"We also intend to update regulation to bring virtual currency exchange platforms into anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regulation."
The Australian government in May announced that it would align the GST treatment of digital currency with regular money as of July 1, 2017, in an effort to promote the growth of the fintech industry, and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) said those participating in ICOs should err on the side of caution in ensuring they are following the nation's laws.
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