Kodak launching its own KodakCoin cryptocurrency is a sure-fire sign the bubble is on its way to bursting

As the blockchain wobbles and analysts predict an imminent virtual currency bubble burst, there has been an unlikely entrant into the crypto game. 

Kodak launching its own KodakCoin cryptocurrency is a sure-fire sign the bubble is on its way to bursting

Photography company Kodak has announced it is launching a form of cryptocurrency – and the announcement, made at CES 2018, saw its stocks jump by over 120%.

Unveiling the KodakCoin on Tuesday, the photo firm, in partnership with WENN Digital, announced the launch of the currency alongside its image rights management platform, KodakOne. The blockchain initiative will let photographers register new and archived work which they can then license on Kodak’s system; using the encrypted platform as a digital ledger and receiving KodakCoin payment in an encrypted fashion. 

“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.

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 As well as the KodakCoin, Kodak also laid out its plans for the Kodak CashMiner, an installation of rows of mining rigs in their New York headquarters, which will give customers the opportunity to rent out mining capacity. The Cash Miner will be operated by Spotlite, a company which currently licenses its brand for its LED lights, and customers are being urged to sign a two-year deal, to pay $3,400 to rent the machines. 

It isn’t the strangest company to muscle its way into cryptocurrency, it’s beaten out by Long Island Iced Tea Corporation, who changed its name to Long Blockchain Corporation and watched its stocks soar 500% last month. All of this is now becoming eerily reminiscent of the dotcom bubble. 

“This is a phenomenon we saw back during the dot com days in the late 1990s where traditional companies would mention some kind of internet strategy and their stock price would jump up,” Garrick Hileman, from the University of Cambridge, told the BBC. “When you see stock prices moving like this it does appear to be troubling – it’s hard to say if there’s a bubble but it certainly is indicative of a frothy market investment.” 

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In the 1990s, as the dot com bubble started to swirl and grow, firms would begin adding “.com” to their firm’s name and sit and watch as their shares would soar.

The photo firm, known as Eastman Kodak, went bankrupt in 2012 and subsequently began licensing out its brand to other manufacturers that produce printers, drones and digital cameras. In recent years, Kodak stocks have been falling, with the company losing more than 70% of its value. 

One of the main reasons why Eastman Kodak went bankrupt in the first place was that it failed to adapt to the digital surge, choosing to cling to its roots in film instead. Kodak’s decision to fling themselves into digital currencies speaks volumes about its intention not to get left behind this time. 

Over Christmas, the value of Bitcoin dropped to almost 50% before it regained its value days later. The tumultuous nature of the virtual currency is already evident, and with the stocks of companies like Kodak with its KodakCoin, Long Blockchain Corporation and Hooters jumping by incredible amounts, a virtual currency bubble is surely forming. Is the writing already on the wall?

The initial KodakCoin offering opens on 31 January in the UK, US and Canada. 


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