Kodak creating its own cryptocurrency, KodakCoin

NEW YORK - Eastman Kodak's (KODK) stock price more than doubled on Tuesday after the venerable imaging company said it's entering the digital currency business.

Kodak said it will team with blockchain developer WENN Digital, to launch a cryptocurrency and image licensing tool that the companies say will help photographers and agencies manage image rights.

Blockchain is online ledger technology where transactions of digital currencies, like bitcoin, are recorded.

The KodakOne platform will let photographers register and license their work using an encrypted, digital ledger. Users will also be able to accept payment for their work using a new cryptocurrency called KodakCoin.

"For many in the tech industry, 'blockchain' and 'cryptocurrency' are hot buzzwords, but for photographers who've long struggled to assert control over their work and how it's used, these buzzwords are the keys to solving what felt like an unsolvable problem," 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."

Rochester, New York-based Kodak was founded in 1880 and traces its roots to the early days of film-based photography. The new services will be launched via an initial coin offering (ICO), which many cryptocurrency startups are using to raise funds, on Jan. 31.

As cryptocurrency prices have surged, other companies have hopped on the bandwagon. Recently, shares in Long Island Iced Tea Corp. soared more than 200 percent after the beverage company said it plans to change its name to Long Blockchain Corp. and to focus more on blockchain technology.

Kodak's stock price surged 135 percent to $7.32 in afternoon trading. The stock has been slumping over the last year, shedding more than 70 percent of its value.

Kodak and others are entering the market as warnings grow over the riskiness of virtual currencies and the potential for a bubble. In December, the Securities and Exchange Commission warned investors to exercise caution before buying cryptocurrencies or participating in ICOs.