Can Blockchain-Based KODAKOne Help Kodak Get Its Groove Back?
by Jim Lundy
(Aragon Research) – Kodak’s stock went up last week because it announced a new blockchain currency called KODAKCoin. KODAKCoin is part of the company’s bigger news: a new Digital Rights Management platform for photographers called KODAKOne.
This blog discusses Kodak’s new offerings, and if they’re just what the company needs to get its groove back in the digital business era.
Kodak Needs a Win: Is KODAKOne It?
On January 8th, 2018, Kodak announced a new blockchain-based Digital Rights Management (DRM) platform called KODAKOne for photographers. The platform promises to help photographers keep track of who is using their work and to allow them to license their work over the platform.
To us, this is a big promise, but if it works, Kodak can start to get back into the digital game. Part of this announcement also included the company’s new SEC-validated cryptocurrency called KODAKCoin that can help facilitate secure payment when licensing photographs in the KODAKOne platform.
Is KODAKCoin a Renamed CryptoCurrency from WENN Digital?
KODAKCoin sounds great in theory. It launches on January 31st, 2018. That said, in a recent post, web publisher ArsTechnica found a deleted webpage for a cryptocurrency called RYED that WENN had launched but apparently had recently abandoned.
Going further, the footnote of the Kodak press release states that WENN Digital partners with the Deloitte Analytics Institute in Berlin and the Deloitte Blockchain Institute in Munich. So, the question remains: Is Kodak just licensing its name for the rollout of this platform that WENN Digital subcontracted out to Deloitte?
The Challenges of DRM, with Blockchain or Without
While Kodak is pitching KODAKOne as a Digital Rights Management platform, initially, it looks like more of a commerce platform for photographers to sell their work and get paid for it. We highly doubt that Kodak will be able to do much to enforce DRM on photographs or videos that are out in the wild, unless those assets have already been hashtagged by WENN, which has a formidable set of photographs already.
Kodak has claimed that KODAKOne will be able to troll the web to look for images—but we will have to wait and see if it will work. To be blunt, because of poor image analytics today, it is very hard to enforce rights management once a picture gets released.
Is Kodak Invested in the Blockchain Game?
Given all of this, it really raises the question of whether Kodak is getting into the blockchain game or if WENN Digital is and Kodak is just lending its brand name to the effort. We expect more details to come out on this as the launch takes place at the end of the month.
There is no doubt that these launches will help Kodak in the short-term. The question is, can the excitement around these product releases fuel Kodak’s longevity in the digital business era?