LAS VEGAS: Legendarily short-sighted camera company Kodak has become the latest company to dangle the term cryptocurrency in front of investors, with the move widely read as a gamble on the hype surrounding this little-understood technology.

On Tuesday, Kodak’s stock value, which had been hovering between $3.00 and $3.50 for around a month, saw a sudden jump in value following the announcement. At the time of writing, Kodak shares are up 57.35%, now valued at $10.70.

According to the company, which famously failed to retain its top spot in the digital camera market having invented the first digital camera in 1975, its new blockchain-enhanced venture is a product aimed at 21st century photographers.

In a statement, the company wrote that, in collaboration with WENN Digital, it was launching both the “KODAKOne image rights management platform and KODAKCoin, a photo-centric cryptocurrency to empower photographers and agencies to take greater control in image rights management.” The coins will function as tokens on the platform.

With the coin, photographers are “invited to take part in a new economy for photography,” with the ability to help photographers both pro and amateur to sell their work securely.

The initial coin offering will open on 31st January. Such offerings, which were banned in China back in September, are widely seen as a way to quickly raise funds. But, as the Telegraph wrote, the ICO space remains a largely unregulated Wild West.

In addition to the news of the new cryptocurrency and platform, the company also revealed its own Bitcoin mining machine, the catchily named “Kash Miner” which was seen at Kodak’s CES 2018 stall.

According to Gizmodo, the company will rent out its KashMiner for $3,400 upfront and half of the total amount mined by the machine over the duration of the two-year contract. Economics experts that spoke to Buzzfeed termed the mining scheme a “scam.”

“It’s mind-bogglingly stupid,” said one economist.

Of course, blockchain is a promising technology for a number of uses, as WARC has written previously. However, the proliferation of different currencies alongside the relative rareness of their use as an actual payment method illustrates the fact that cryptocurrencies’ moment in the spotlight is not driven by logic.

A number of other companies have seen stock market benefit from bolting the word ‘blockchain’ onto the name of their companies. In December, Long Island Ice Tea company’s stock tripled after it changed its name to Long Blockchain.   

Sourced from Kodak, Bloomberg, Telegraph, Chris Hoffman (HowToGeek), Buzzfeed, Ars Technica; additional content by WARC staff


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