Kodak to ride the bitcoin wave with crypto miner and own currency

10 Jan 2018

Kodak street art. Image: Dutourdumonde Photography/Shutterstock

Not content to miss out on yet another massive online trend, Kodak has revealed its plans to embrace blockchain and cryptocurrency in a big way.

Kodak is known as the company that failed to look into the future and embrace the mass digitisation of photography, but it clearly has no intention of falling into a similar trap.

At CES 2018 in Las Vegas, the company revealed its plans to ride the cryptocurrency wave with the creation of its own coin, KodakCoin.

The intention is to use blockchain technology to build a ledger of copyright ownership of photos online.

According to the BBC, the accompanying KodakOne software would be used to search the web to find photographs that have been used without permission outside of the blockchain, while photos that are used correctly would see the photographer paid in KodakCoin.

“Kodak has always sought to democratise photography and make licensing fair to artists,” said Kodak’s chief executive, Jeff Clarke. “These technologies give the photography community an innovative and easy way to do just that.”

‘Blockchain industry is not a bubble’

Perhaps the biggest talking point was Kodak’s plan to rent out cryptocurrency mining machines, as the thirst for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies rages on.

The Kodak KashMiner will be run by a licensee called Spotlite and is reportedly far cheaper to run than a standard mining rig, at $0.04c per kilowatt hour.

The rig would be rented out for a period of 24 months with an upfront payment of $4,000, which Spotlite’s Halston Mikail said would see the user return a profit of approximately $500 per month.

As of now, the company only has 80 miners already reserved, with another 300 on the way. In response to questions over a long-term lease on a volatile area such as cryptocurrency, Mikail said that the underlying technology will remove much of the risk.

“Bitcoin could be a bubble. But the blockchain industry is not a bubble,” Mikail said. “It’s a solid platform built on mathematics, and it will survive.”

While it remains to be seen if Kodak can bounce back after its collapse in 2012, when it began selling off most of its intellectual property, the immediate reaction from the stock market has been very favourable, with shares trading more than 130pc above the opening price after the announcement.

Kodak street art. Image: Dutourdumonde Photography/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic