Here’s one way to inject some energy into a 129-year-old brand. Shares of Eastman Kodak more than doubled today after it announced a licensing partnership with Wenn Digital to launch a cryptocurrency aimed at photographers. The currency is called KodakCoin (of course) and will be part of a platform to help photographers and photo agencies track and manage their digital rights.
Here’s how Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke pitched it in a statement:
“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. 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.”
The plan seems to be working: Shares of Kodak were trading at $7.12 in mid-afternoon, compared to an opening price of just $3.13.
Kodak is just the latest legacy company to find itself a crypto niche. Last month, tea-maker Long Island Iced Tea Corporation rebranded as Long Blockchain Corporation and said it would start focusing its efforts on investment opportunities that leverage blockchain technology.