back to article Good lord, Kodak's stock is up 120 per cent. How? New film? Oh. It launched a crypto-coin

Camera film relic Kodak is trying to reinvent itself in the most 2018 way possible: by launching its own cryptocurrency. The imaging company says its new make-believe money, named KODAKCoin, will be pitched as a way for photographers to issue and collect royalty payments. The idea is that shutterbugs will use the KodakOne …

  1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
    Pirate

    Professor of Cunning

    I actualy think there is the germ of a good idea here. One of the earliest and unremarked casualties of the Internet was photographic copyright becoming very difficult to enforce and fairly monetise, with even big media organisations like the Beeb using them without permission and compensation.

    They could get that woman who took the Xmas HarRy and Meghan photo to promote it as an early adopter, alternatively the PETA monkey photographer might work too.

    1. inmypjs Silver badge

      Re: Professor of Cunning

      "photographic copyright becoming very difficult to enforce"

      and how is some cryptocurrency bollocks going to make the slightest difference to that?

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Professor of Cunning

        It isn't, but at least it gives them a good story for why they are introducing a cryptocurrency instead of just "we are trying to benefit from the hype". So better than what NETJ.COM did back in the day, at least.

      2. elDog Silver badge

        Re: Professor of Cunning

        Doesn't the blockchain that accompanies the photo need to have verifiable antecedents? Meaning that every transaction recorded on the chain can be pointed back to a source.

        Could the blockchain (I hate there KodaKKrypto - KKK?) be encoded within the .jpg? That would serve a couple of important aspects of identification.

        1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

          Re: Professor of Cunning

          Could the blockchain (I hate there KodaKKrypto - KKK?) be encoded within the .jpg? That would serve a couple of important aspects of identification.

          No more than encoding a standard copyright notification.

        2. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: Professor of Cunning

          "Could the blockchain (I hate there KodaKKrypto - KKK?) be encoded within the .jpg? That would serve a couple of important aspects of identification."

          Would that work any better than a pgp signature?

          Photographers generally use digimarc, which has been around for about 20 years now.

      3. Blank Reg

        Re: Professor of Cunning

        The cryptocurrency just amps up the hypometer and makes the s̶u̶c̶k̶e̶r̶s̶

        investors happy. It would have been better for photographers if they were just paid in real currency.

        I've use TinEye to find some of my photos that have been used without permission. Though that's a manual process as I couldn't be bothered to write something to use their API to automate things. For some I got paid, and for others I had them take them down. And a few I gave them permission since they were not for profit.

    2. elDog Silver badge

      Re: Professor of Cunning, and useful for audio?

      Just like pixels, voxels need their fair representation.

      We could call it The Professors Cunning-Voxels.

      However it seems like we should make this much more I18N and replace Voxel with something that implies that it works in many languages. Any thoughts?

    3. MyffyW Silver badge

      EktaChrome Blockchain

      I've got this idea of using individual EktaChrome slides as proof-of-work. All that is required to run in steady-state is for my Mum to draw the curtains, my Dad to get the projector down from the loft and one of us to load up the carousel with the blockchain of images. To "mine" a new coin it will, of course, be necessary to take a picture of something notable (family member in shot optional), send the film off for processing (1 - 2 week) and then carefully insert the new slide into the carousel trying not to burn your fingers and also making sure not to put it in upside-down or back-to-front.

  2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Um... Thanks. Now can you take a picture with my phone?

    Is Kodak trying to make amusement park photography a big thing again? That's what this sounds like to me. Wow.

  3. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Zombie brand

    Don't forget Kodak is a zombie brand, with the name sold to a shell company and having nothing to do with the former business that sold cameras & film & stuff and which now no longer exists.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Zombie brand

      I think you might be thinking of "Polaroid" - which is now just a name for cheap tat to stick on earbuds etc.

      Kodak do still make film, especially for movie and industrial applications - they just don't do much domestic photo stuff

      1. Dave Bell

        Re: Zombie brand

        I don't care what Kodak still makes film for. All I know is that they took MY Kodachrome away

        1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Zombie brand

          I don't care what Kodak still makes film for. All I know is that they took MY Kodachrome away

          Isn't there an Instagram filter for that?

        2. I'm Dugly

          Re: Zombie brand

          I thought that is the name of their new browser.

        3. Michael Strorm

          Re: Zombie brand

          @Dave Bell; If everyone who referenced that bloody song back when they discontinued Kodachrome had actually bought a roll in the previous year or two, I've no doubt they'd still be making it!

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Zombie brand

          they took MY Kodachrome away

          Haven't they promised to relaunch it this very month? And if they do, you'll be able to complain that its not as good as it used to be.

          1. Michael Strorm

            Re: Zombie brand

            @Ledswinger; Kodak announced a year ago that they were "looking at what it would take to bring that back" while they also noted that "Ektachrome is a lot easier and faster to bring back to market".

            Regardless, I can say with 99% certainty that Kodachrome will not be back in anything but name. Compared to almost all other slide films (which are E6 compatible), the development was completely nonstandard, complicated (numerous steps and temperature sensitive), used toxic chemicals and was unsuited for home processing.

            The only people who *did* process it were Kodak and a handful of other companies, and the number of labs were reduced to *one* by the time it was discontinued!

            They wouldn't have discontinued it if that burden was worth it, and now that final lab is long shut down- along with the machines required- it will be much harder to get it going again. It will not happen, regardless of how much noise a few enthusiasts make.

            I could see them trying to launch a "reformulated" version "Kodachrome" which will be a standard E6 process film (like Ektachrome) in all but name, possibly attempting to mimic the original. But that would be Kodachrome in name only to most people.

            Even though I wasn't aware they'd mentioned Ektachrome at the time, I could quite believe it was plausible they'd bring it back, and indeed, they do appear to be doing so later this year.

            Kodachrome, though? Nope.

            1. LDS Silver badge

              "Kodachrome will not be back in anything but name"

              I don't think so - or it will be back in a form alike the old Kodachrome, or it won't be back. Many of the features of it depended exactly on the film design and development, and can't be easily replicated in an E-6 film.

              BTW, the development (the K- processes) were standard, and there were other films with other different processes, i.e. Anscochrome, which was one of the first to be inverted chemically (in the beginning Ektachrome required re-exposure).

              The K- processes were just far more complex than E- processes. The last version of K-14 AFAIK replaced the toxic chemicals with others.

              E-4, later replaced by E-6, used toxic chemicals as well.

              Many of older development processes used toxic and even deadly chemicals - some used cyanide as well.

              Anyway, it is Kodak Alaris, not Eastman Kodak, planning to reintroduce the reversal films - let's see if the actually bring back Ektachrome, and how well it goes.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Zombie brand

        There are two "Kodak" now, Eastman Kodak, and Kodak Alaris (based in England).

        Regarding the photo film business, the latter took the still film business, while the former still runs the movie film business - it looks some directors still prefer film - even "Star Wars - The Last Jedi" was shot on film.

        Both have other product lines outside film.

        1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

          Re: Zombie brand

          I would assume also, Film is harder to pirate than an SSD of content on the film lot (time to pirate SSD, half an hour out of sight... time to pirate film... hours, in an actual development room?).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Zombie brand

            I would assume also, Film is harder to pirate than an SSD of content on the film lot

            Whilst true, it's only the shooting that's done on film - it's scanned almost immediately for editing digitally.

      3. LDS Silver badge

        you might be thinking of "Polaroid"

        The Polaroid brand is now in the hands of a Polish company which is also an owner of the "The Impossible Project" company - which manufacturers Polaroid films and cameras, and even refurbish original vintage Polaroid cameras. They are using the "Polaroid Original" brand now.

        Lomography paved the way, now there are not so few people looking for a vintage way of making photos, there are also some crowdfunded projects to crate new film SLRs.

    2. Michael Strorm

      Re: Zombie brand

      "Yet Another Anonymous Coward" and "LDS" cover this fine. Yes, today's Eastman Kodak is still legally the same company as the one which went bankrupt in 2012 (#), since the bankruptcy proceedings didn't result in it being liquidated. On the other hand, they did- as mentioned- have to sell off their still film division and some patents as part of the process, and IIRC they'd already been selling off stuff before bankruptcy.

      And as Brian Miller noted, they'd sold off everything that wasn't film for short-termist reasons (quite a while ago if I remember correctly- it's been argued that Kodak's sell-off-related decline started in the early 90s *before* digital exacerbated the problem). And they didn't move away from their once-lucrative film business until it was too late.

      You don't see Fujifilm having to waste time with publicity stunt nonsense like this because they were better managed, moved on successfully, and don't have to pander to name recognition nostalgia to get a licensing fee from someone's random moneymaking scheme.

      So, yeah, Kodak's still legally the same company, but ultimately, if they're reduced to little more than a nostalgia-exploiting, brand-whoring shadow of their former self it makes little difference anyway.

      (#) Unlike- as noted- Polaroid, where the assets (including name and IP) were sold to form what was legally a new company.

    3. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Zombie brand

      Kodak are also getting into software.

      They're coming out with a new Browser to compete with Google's Chrome.

      It’ll also include some new streaming TV features including Kodi compatibility.

      It’s going to be called… [wait for it, wait...]

      ...

      KodiChrome.

  4. redpawn Silver badge

    A Christmas

    Starbucks card from a nostalgic user of Kodachrome would have increased the value of Kodak stock at least as much.

  5. harmjschoonhoven
    FAIL

    First do your watermarking

    "The KODAKOne image rights management 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. ... KODAKOne platform provides continual web crawling in order to monitor and protect the IP of the images registered in the KODAKOne system"

    But the only useful way to track the IP of images is to watermark them in a way that is both unobtrusive and robust against all kind of image processing including rescaling, cropping, distortions and compression. And we know that is feasible.

  6. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    KODAKCoi-oi-oin -- It's made with a nice, bright blockchain,

    And its usefulness escapes my brain.

    But mama, don't take my KODAKCoin away-ay-ay-ay!

    1. LaeMing Silver badge

      If I look back on all the crap I saw on the Internet.

      It's a wonder I can even think at all.

  7. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    Desperation

    Also, KODK.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Storing the information in a blockchain doesn't protect your copyright any more than copyright law already does," commented David Gerard, author of Attack of the 50ft Blockchain.

    "Notice how they're marketing it: they state a problem, then say the blockchain can solve it. But there's no mechanism by which the blockchain could do that.

    "This doesn't do anything that signing up for Shutterstock or Getty Images wouldn't."

    1. Ken Y-N
      FAIL

      > "This doesn't do anything that signing up for Shutterstock or Getty Images wouldn't."

      It does (too many negatives in that line) - it ensures you'll sell even less of your content as the effort required to obtain some Koin will send people running back to Shutterstock for a painless Visa or PayPal transaction.

    2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Good book, that

  9. Brian Miller

    Small bumps make big news

    Oh, come on, the stock was nearly at the penny level. Now it's jumped up, but it's still not significant.

    No, Kodak sold off everything that made money because it wasn't film. Fujitsu realized that they had all sorts of neat IP and technology, and capitalized on that. Bad management vs good management.

    A new cryptocurrency isn't turning anything around.

  10. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    What's the point?

    So I go to all the trouble of registering a bunch of other peoples' pictures with Kodak and what do I get:

    The exchange of money will get the added step of converting dollars, which can be spent anywhere, into "KODAKCoin", which can be spent nowhere outside of the KodakOne service.

    The opportunity to give photographers and scammers KODAKCoin for images on my website so that they can give photographers and scammers KODAKCoin for images on their websites.

    1. Michael Strorm

      Re: What's the point?

      The point is that- through their own short-sighted mismanagement- Kodak left it too late to move their film-based company into the digital age (when they could have been leaders- or at least contenders- if they'd played their cards right) and are now has-beens reduced to exploiting their own name recognition on "me too" bandwagon-jumping nonsense like this.

      Oh... you meant what's in it for *you*? Not much, I'd guess, but please think of poor Kodak.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm trying to understand how this is going to make them money but I just can't picture it.

    1. frank ly Silver badge

      You need to be patient and wait to capture the moment.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "You press the button, we blockchain the rest!"

    3. Stoneshop Silver badge

      It just needs further developing.

  12. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Boffin

    and inevitably

    people focus on the "currency" aspect, ignoring the meat.

    I did a lot of research into blockchain in 2016, and it was clear that nobody got it, and a lot of people couldn't see the point.

    As long as KODAKCoin ha addressed the inflationary aspects of using a digital token, then this could be an interesting development.

    What would be unique about it, is that anybody can download and verify the blockchain themselves. Furthermore, the blockchain could be programmed to only allow access to work once proof of payment is recorded.

    Blockchain ? Programmed ?

    Yes, that's the bit 80% of people miss.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: and inevitably

      Fine, but the question remains: how is using a blockchain to do this better than the other methods of doing the same thing?

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: and inevitably

      "Furthermore, the blockchain could be programmed to only allow access to work once proof of payment is recorded."

      How is that any different to literally every online store out there that sells digital products?

  13. jimbo36

    Forget the Coin

    Everyone is getting hung up on the cryptocurrency bit, it's probably almost a certain that Kodak only bothered with that bit to generate some headlines. They could accept $ on the KodakOne site, but none of the press would have paid any attention.

    The significant part is using blockchain, which was originally intended for all sorts of digital transactions but has only really been used for "bitcoin" transactions so far. The whole point is every new block in the chain is so secure, its link to the previous block (the last step in the transaction) is almost 100% guaranteed.

    I have stolen this quote, but this sums it up (from the Harvard Business Review) "an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way". This is quite an exciting development in digital rights management, and if it ensures the photographer gets paid for there work then I can't see why it wouldn't take off.

    1. Graham Cobb

      Re: Forget the Coin

      an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way

      Yes. The important parts are "open" and "distributed".

      Closed and centralised ledgers recording transactions have been around since the invention of legal systems. The whole point of blockchain is to allow these ledgers to be open and decentralised. So, not owned by a particular company, or part of a particular service.

      That is what 80% of these blockchain startup scams miss. It isn't an application for blockchain if the ledger is owned, controlled or operated by a single entity -- it is just an old fashioned business that wants to pretend to be something new to fool investors.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      "I can't see why it wouldn't take off."

      Because unless image use happens only inside the "exchanges", there's no way to limit easily an image use when it's in the wild. Bitcoins & C. are useless outside their own "networks", and you store them in some kind of vault until you use them - images are useful for several uses, and are published. Once I display it on my monitor, I've a copy of it.

      Sure, Kodak may also use spiders to crawl for illegal usage, but such systems already exist, well before blockchains. Just as licenses and certificates (for limited editions prints).

      Or it should develop an application or plug-in to show images only under specific conditions and hinder reproduction - good luck for it, and its acceptance.

    3. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Forget the Coin

      "This is quite an exciting development in digital rights management"

      What makes it an exciting development? How is it better than the existing methods of doing the same thing with regard to photos? I know little about blockchains aside from implementation details, so to me this all looks like nothing more than marketing hype. How is it not?

  14. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    JeffyCoin™ is pleased to announce...

    After the success of our original JeffyCoin™ (based on single digit integers 0-8, our miners still searching for the theorized final coin tentatively designated '9'), and the Revised Hexadecimal JeffyCoin™, JeffyCoin™ Industries is pleased to announce that we will be issuing new JeffyCoin™ series on a weekly basis.

    Each new JeffyCoin™ series will be date stamped as JeffyCoin2018-01-10_12:34:15™

    Any rumours that we will switch to daily or hourly releases are false, at least for the time being (although the naming scheme allows for a new series each second).

    Please do not suggest that we're just making this up as we go along. Also, please do not suggest that there will be a gravitationally bound sphere of imaginary crypto coins expanding through the galaxy at the speed of light within the next couple of years.

    How to become a Billionaire: Select Coin Concept, Copy, Paste, Rename, Paste, Rename, Paste, Rename, Paste, Rename...

    1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      JeffyCoin™ Industries is pleased to announce...

      JeffyCoin™ Industries is pleased to announce that our miners have today finally found the last single digit integer. As predicted by theory, it is in fact '9'.

      We would like to thank the many mathematicians and other crypto-currency SMEs that suggested searching ("Mining") Bottom Up instead of Top Down. As per their suggestions, searching up from '0' Up proved to be much faster than continuing to search from TREE(3) Down, looking for these mysterious single digit integers.

      We would like to remind those interested that the New Years' 2018 amendment of the JeffyCoin™ method to hexadecimal means that there remains approximately six (perhaps five or seven) additional JeffyCoins™ yet to be mined. Good luck.

      1. Michael Strorm

        Re: JeffyCoin™ Industries is pleased to announce...

        Is the rumour that you've added "G" through "M" to the range of "hexadecimal" digits in order to feather your own nest increase the number of exciting opportunities for JeffyCoin™ miners true?

  15. PeterM42
    Go

    Kodak could make a shed full of money by....

    ...making a cassette to fit in old 35mm film cameras which takes digital pictures and has WiFi for Dropbox, etc.

    1. Michael Strorm

      Re: Kodak could make a shed full of money by....

      This isn't a new idea. Some company tried making a similar adaptor in the early digital era- i.e. approaching 20 years ago- and it got a lot of attention at the time. (Bear in mind that DSLRs were rare and very expensive back then, so the idea of being able to use your existing SLR probably had a lot of appeal).

      (I think this is the one I remember. (Scroll down to section headed "Silicon Film")).

      One of the problems- IIRC- is that the cartridge *wasn't* usable in all cameras as I'd initially assumed- and you also seem to think possible. Different versions had to be made for each supported model, and the list was restricted.

      In hindsight, I assume this is because 35mm has no fixed film path once it comes off the spool; we can't assume the exposed area will be in a certain position relative to the cartridge, nor the wind-on mechanism. (Ironically, this would- I assume- make it easier to produce an "Instamatic"/126 or "Pocket"/110 format compatible digital cartridge, since in those models the cartridge- not camera- dictates positioning).

      There were various other issues, but the upshot is that the problems delayed it until it was effectively obsolete.

      Other people have tried since, but there have been no major successes, so I doubt it's as easy as you think. It's unlikely that Kodak are better-placed to design one than any other random company these days anyway. Chances are they'd just partner up with (or license the name out to) someone else who'd solved the problem and wanted to exploit the recognition of the "Kodak" brand in exchange for a cut of the profits.

      1. Michael Strorm

        Re: Kodak could make a shed full of money by....

        Replying to myself, but I couldn't let this go. Bizarrely the website for that product (the "E-Film EFS-1" from "Silicon Film") still seems to be online despite apparently not having been updated since late 2000...??!!!

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Kodak could make a shed full of money by....

        35mm film is guided by sprockets, and kept in position and flat by a plate in the back - but creating a thin sensor usable in non-interchangeable backs is not easy, even more twenty-five years ago.

        But most prosumer and pro level 35mm cameras had removable backs. Usually, you can change them with backs designed to store more film, backs to print date/time on film, backs adding timers for long exposures and time lapse images, and even the firsts data backs able to store each photo settings.

        With these cameras, it was possible to provide a digital back, without the need to cram everything - including power - into the cartridge space, keep the sensor in the right place, and allowing controls on the back itself for sensor settings.

        Some of the early digital SLRs were exactly created this way - some of them exactly by Kodak (its DCS serie), using Canon and Nikon bodies. They were bulky, and were later replaced by fully integrated DSLR - no longer made with Kodak.

        Camera makers were of course more interested to sell new cameras than updating old ones. Some backs prototype were shown by third parties, but never reached the market. They were expensive, full frame sensor were yet to came, and made the camera bulkier.

        Actually, those digital backs never had much general appeal, outside situations were they were a real advantages, and only the more expensive cameras could be easily adapted, cutting out most the market.

        Almost every medium format and large format cameras had interchangeable backs, and these got digital ones - but they were very expensive, and some, especially for larger formats, were "scanning" ones (working like a scanner), usable only for very static subjects, albeit able to deliver very big resolutions.

  16. rotmos

    Kodak moment

    Loosing money in an instance.

  17. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Koda-who?

    One of the earliest and unremarked casualties of the Internet

    On of the earliest and surprising casualties of didtal photography was a famour brand name in photography....

    Can't quite recall the name,,,oooh, it's on the tip of my tongue.

    They totally screwed the pooch anyway, dropped their entire heritage down the toilet due to arrogant short-sightedness and failure to adapt...

    Nice reputation to be sitting on to react now...

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