business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Eastman Kodak - the same company that years ago hastened its own near-obsolescence by putting its pioneering digital photography research into a closet lest it hurt the company’s legacy film business - said yesterday that it is getting into the cryptocurrency business.

According to CNBC, Kodak said that “it has used blockchain, the technology underpinning popular digital currencies such as bitcoin, to create a new platform for digital photography with its own digital currency, called KodakCoin. The site, called KodakOne is ‘a new economy’ for photographers to license their work and receive payments, the company said.”

Because I’m not particularly good at explaining stuff like blockchain, I’m going to let CNBC do it:

“Blockchain is a secured, online ledger of transactions that doesn't need a third party to act as a go-between. It is an emerging area of intense interest for banks and other financial companies as well as technology developers, with potential uses in a range of financial transactions including securities settlement and payments.

“Embracing the relatively new phenomenon of digital currencies and blockchain has become a sure-fire and controversial way for companies to remake their images — and boost their share prices.”

While improving its image may be one goal of KodakOne, there’s also another, more tangible goal - the New York Times points out that Kodak, which has been in and out of bankruptcy, needs to find ways to pay down $845 million in debt. “A blockchain platform could give photographers a better way to license their images and receive payment,” the Times writes. “But it’s hard to see how that will reverse Kodak’s decades-long decline.”

That may be true. But at the very least, what Kodak is trying to do is an Eye-Opener.
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