Kodak, a legacy photography company synonymous with the last century, is to launch its own cryptocurrency, Kodakcoin. Not content with holding an ICO, the company has also decided to get into cryptocurrency mining in what’s been interpreted as a desperate bid to stay relevant. The news, unveiled at CES 2018 on Wednesday, goes down as one of the strangest stories yet in a month that’s been filled with crypto oddities.
Kodak Enjoys Its Kodak Moment
In a week in which an altcoin for the dental industry neared a $2 billion market cap and messaging app Telegram unveiled a 132-page white paper, the notion of Kodak launching its own ICO doesn’t seem that outlandish. Reinventing itself as a cryptocurrency mining firm into the bargain though is a curveball that no one saw coming.
CES is the technology world’s largest and glitziest event of the year, hosted in Las Vegas and boasting cutting-edge new kit from industry leaders such as Samsung and Sony. And then there’s Kodak, a company that by anyone’s reckoning was last relevant around the time that Instamatic cameras were the latest tech. But to the chagrin of the other exhibitors at CES on Wednesday, Kodak stole the show.
Kodak, Meet Crypto
The news that the Eastman Kodak Company, founded in 1888, was jumping on the cryptocurrency bandwagon should have come as a total shock. It says something about the current news cycle that the story, accompanied by news of Kodak’s inevitable share price leap, was greeted by little more than a shrug. The tokenized project the company are launching, for what it’s worth, sounds like a Shutterstock copy, with added permissions. And a blockchain of course, because 2018.
But what to make of the company’s foray into cryptocurrency mining? As if trying to tick off every cliche in the crypto handbook, Kodak has declared that it is going to start renting out bitcoin miners to the public. The miners it demoed appear to be Bitmain mining rigs with a Kodak sticker appended, suggesting that the whole scheme may have been hastily cobbled together. This theory was bolstered by the revelation that the Kodacoin website was only registered on January 2.
Mining for Headlines
To show its support for its new mining operation, Kodak announced plans to install a rig in its New York headquarters. Presumably not in its office, for cryptocurrency mining is a hot and noisy racket best confined to a darkened room. The Kodak branded miners will be leased to customers, who will be expected to pay upfront for the mining capacity. As one commenter scathingly put it:
This morning $KODK was a dead company walking destroying value and cash at a fairly rapid pace and headed for another bankruptcy, now after laying some empty words on a piece of paper it’s all good.
“This is getting ridiculous,” Dennis Dick, a trader at Bright Trading LLC, told Reuters. “From a fundamental point of view, none of this makes sense.” There’s a desperation about the reinvention of Kodak, like an embarrassing uncle trying to prove they’re still down with the kids. It will be the big boys investing in Kodak’s token sale though, which is open to SEC registered investors only.
It doesn’t matter whether the world needs another image licensing platform, or indeed whether the world needs Kodak. All that matters to the institutional investors is whether they can turn a profit by snapping up KODK tokens in their millions. In the current climate, that looks like a dead certainty.
Do you think Kodak’s entry into the cryptocurrency market is insanity or inspired? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, and Kodak.