What’s been happening with the KodakCoin ICO and the KodakOne stock photography portal? Will photographers ever be blessed with the opportunity to get paid in Kodak-branded company scrip? Is KodakCoin promoter Ryde Holding, formerly WENN Digital, really having trouble paying people?
The answers are mostly “it’s not going well.” But the future will surely be astounding! Maybe.
The KodakCoin ICO story
Photo licensing agency Ryde GmbH had tried and failed to do a KodakOne-like ICO in 2017, in partnership with paparazzi celebrity photo agency WENN Media — on the good old-fashioned “just send us ether! Regulation? What’s that?” model.
Ryde met Cameron Chell, founder of ICOx Innovations — who “brought Eastman Kodak and the WENN Digital team together to create the KODAKOne platform and co-architected the KODAKCoin.” Ryde and ICOx secured a licensing deal to use the Kodak brand name on a second attempt at the ICO.
Ryde and WENN formed a joint venture, WENN Digital, trading as KodakOne. They would build a stock photo licensing platform! And the professional photographers they hoped to attract would be paid in … KodakCoins! Rather than actual money.
Kodak doing an ICO, at the peak of the crypto boom, got the world’s attention in a big way.
Photographers still loved the Kodak brand name – they really, really wanted there to be a Kodak that had a healthy business and wasn’t just the brand-licensing tattered and flayed post-bankruptcy hide of what was once a company. So the ICO attracted a lot of attention that it didn’t warrant, just on sentiment for the name.
WENN Digital then realised the eyes of the world were upon them – and their ICO would need to be as thoroughly regulation-compliant as possible.
I don’t know this for sure – but I strongly suspect that Eastman Kodak, whose New York Stock Exchange listing is one of the few things they still have going for them, told Ryde in no uncertain terms that any ICO would need full and absolute compliance. Listed companies of many decades know to take the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) seriously.
The KodakCoin ICO offering was not attractive. It was restricted to accredited investors — that is, you needed to be rich already. It was a SAFT, or a Simple Agreement for Future Tokens — buyers bought a right to be issued a token in the future, if and when the platform went live. And the buyers couldn’t sell their SAFTs for at least a year.
And if KodakOne paid photographers in these tokens — it wasn’t clear if those photographers would be allowed to trade in the tokens unless they were already rich themselves.
Even photographers with love for Kodak still in their hearts were less than willing to be paid in magic beans, rather than actual money.
On 17 July 2018, KodakOne sent an email to those who had expressed an interest in the ICO:
We made it! Our ICO is fully compliant under US-Security-Law and we hit our first targets
We have officially launched our SAFT offering and we are excited about all the commitments over the last weeks. After months of hard work behind the scenes, we are fully compliant under US-Security-Law and our offering is well on its way.
We have reached our financial targets both in our Pre-ICO I and II. Our $1 SAFT offering round will remain open until the launch of our platform.
It’s nice they finally achieved compliance — two months after first opening their offering, on 21 May 2018.
The January 2018 pre-ICO second round didn’t reach its target the one that aimed for $6,750,000, and netted $880,000. How do we know this? KodakOne told us it had failed, in their leaked offering document — the official statement of their offering, which an investor would reasonably assume was free of material misstatements.
Though KodakOne first stated in email that the KodakCoin ICO would run until the KodakOne portal was launched, the ICO closed on 30 September 2018.
With a little help from ICOx Innovations
KodakOne’s partner on the ICO was ICOx Innovations. ICOx was formed in late 2017 as AppCoin, who bought a corporate shell to become a public company — if only an over-the-counter pink sheets penny stock.
As of January 2018, AppCoin had two executives, no employees, assets of $195,000 and liabilities of $260,000. Somehow, they were still able to lend WENN Digital $100,000 to get started on their Kodak-branded ICO.
AppCoin changed its name to ICOx Innovations in February.
ICOx acquired some notable board members – Ed Moy, a former director of the United States Mint who’s now getting into crypto, and Alphonso Jackson, formerly a US Cabinet Secretary and Vice-Chair of JPMorgan Chase.
They also acquired – from somewhere – more money to lend to the KodakOne companies.
In August, Ryde GmbH put up its software – the basis for the exciting new KodakOne system – as security for a loan of $500,000 from ICOx Innovations. WENN Digital (now Ryde Holding) is a guarantor on this loan — “and any other amounts that we may in the future loan or advance to Ryde.” The loan is repayable as of WENN Digital realising $4,250,000 in finance “whether through the sale of KodakCoins, equity or otherwise,” or 27 March 2019, whichever is earlier.
ICOx charged Ryde Holding another $1,100,000 in October for technical, business, financial and corporate governance services. This is payable when Ryde Holding takes in $12 million from “the sale of SAFTs, equity, or token financings, joint venture financings, or any of its affiliates.”
More info regarding KodakCoin ICO your can find by link https://davidgerard.co.uk/blockchain/2018/12/10/the-kodakcoin-ico-failed-and-now-everyone-wants-their-money/