130-year-old Eastman Kodak joins cryptocurrency craze with 'KodakCoin'; shares surge

  • The company said it has used blockchain to create a new platform for digital photography with its own digital currency, called KodakCoin.
  • Eastman Kodak's stock surged more than 30 percent on the announcement to more than $4 a share.

Eastman Kodak is joining the crypto craze.

The 130-year-old company said Tuesday 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.

Shares of Kodak more than doubled Tuesday, closing at $6.80. They were also trading 5.8 percent higher in the after-market.

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. Shares of Long Blockchain Corp. doubled after the beverage company changed its name from Long Island Iced Tea Corp. in December. The biotech equipment maker Bioptix got a similar boost when it changed its name to Riot Blockchain last year.

Kodak, based in Rochester, New York and founded in 1888, is planning to hold an initial coin offering on Jan. 31 for accredited investors in the U.S., U.K., Canada and other countries. The new platform is a partnership with Wenn Digital.

KodakOne not only allows photographers to license their work and get paid more quickly, it will search the internet for unauthorized use of images, the company said. Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke said in a statement: "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."

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