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:
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:
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.