Unsplash have just raised $7.25 million US

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Unsplash, the free photo sharing platform, has announced it has raised $7.25 million US to help fund the development of cryptocurrency and “build a new economy around photography.” 

Since launching in 2013, the company, which provides a platform for photographers to upload their images which can then be used for free by anyone, for any purpose and without credit, has grown exponentially.

Although the Unsplash photo library contains only 400,000 photos (compared to the 150 million on Shutterstock), the company says it’s had more than 48 billion photo views and 310 million photo downloads since launch, and is currently seeing 10 photo downloads per second.

Mikael Cho, CEO of Unsplash, has argued that the traditional stock photography model has helped contribute to falling prices, a trend that will only continue as “everybody is able to be a photographer.” Unsplash is built on a model whereby photographers don't receive payments, but “downloads, attention and distribution.” 

Writing on Medium about the investment, Cho said that Unsplash will be partnering with Simple Token, a blockchain-payment company (his emphasis below):

“The funds being invested today will be going toward defining a new economic model around photography. It won’t be a model where photos are going to be paid for with cryptocurrency. It will be a model that leverages the unprecedented distribution Unsplash photos gain to bring as many opportunities to contributors as possible while maintaining the open, free-to-use principles of the community.

The platform has been criticised heavily in photographic circles for devaluing photography, most vocally by photographer Zach Arias, who interviewed Cho late last year. You can watch the interview below, and read about one users experience sharing their work on Unsplash here.

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