Yesterday, Jan 9, 2018, Kodak's market cap jumped from around $120 million to $289 million and as these notes are being penned its market cap is north of $500 million.  What a difference an announcement makes...

On Tuesday Kodak announced an initiative for "a photocentric cryptocurrency to empower photographers and agencies to take greater control in image rights management".  It is a partnership with WENN Digital, which in turn is a venture between WENN (a UK based Celebrity and Entertainment News Agency) and Ryde GmbH, Germany.  Ryde was founded by Jan Denecke, a lawyer specialized in media and copyright law.  Ryde (google "Reward Your iDEas") apparently has software that finds unlicensed material on the internet, politely informs the web site owner of the infringement and collects the settlement.  This technology will probably be the policing element in the beautiful new world of digital rights licensing with Kodak Coins for payments.  UPDATE: www.rewardyourideas.com now forwards to the WENN Digital page.  Here is a last screenshot:
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Interestingly, in November 2017, Ryde borrowed $100,000 from Appcoin Innovations Inc., a pink sheets company (recently renamed to symbol ICOX).
Appcon has two executives and no employees, with  current assets of $195,000 and current liabilities of $260,000, not exactly a lender with deep pockets.  

Appcoin actually lent the money to WENN Digital Inc, which in turn sent it to Ryde GmbH.  Turns out, Appcoin is also a provider of coin offering services to WENN Digital and expects to get paid in coins.

But wait, there is more: according to Appcoin's filings it owns 7.5% of WENN Digital and Appcoin Chairman Chell is a director of two other companies with an additional 12.5% position in Wenn Digital.

​WENN Digital, not so much Kodak will be the company at the heart of the new digital asset blockchain.  As of now, WENN Digital's web site is still in maintenance mode:
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While the details are still a little murky, it appears that the system will be built on the Ethereum blockchain, which has been designed to handle business transactions, digital asset transactions certainly being prime candidates.  The Ethereum blockchain has its own crypto-currency Ether, which could certainly be used for payments, but "Kodak Coins" may resonate better with photographers and help the acceptance of the system.  So it looks more like an opportunity for Kodak to monetize its remaining brand value, rather than a technology contribution.  While WENN Digital is handling the business, Kodak will get an unspecified royalty from all transaction and will start its own "coin mining operation" in Rochester.  The term "coin mining" is somewhat misleading.  Crypto currencies require consensus based certification of each addition to the blockchain.  The computers providing that service - and using lots of energy in the process -  get rewarded with new coins.  I am speculating, but somebody has to provide the service for a new coin until the big boys get interested.  With Bitcoin mining using as much electricity as Denmark (some 32 TWh), becoming a player in coin mining would be a real change for Kodak.  

All in all, it looks like a very clever idea, designed to be disruptive to photography agencies like Getty Images.  Of course, one cannot help but wonder how a Berlin company with a $100,000 loan got be at the center of this Kodak moment.  

While the terms of Kodak's royalty deal are unknown, the increase in value of over $200 million, following the announcement, seems to be a little optimistic.  In any case, it set the clock back by about two years and some investors will surely use it to get out alive.
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In the long run it might be more interesting to follow WENN Digital and its shareholders, including the pink sheets company ICOX.

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