The highs of bitcoin and blockchain are still paying off for companies in 2018.
Kodak, the camera company, is the latest to see the benefits of the blockchain. It used its presence at CES yesterday to launch its new cryptocurrency, KodakCoin, and now the Kodak stock is up 117.6 percent today.
However, this is only from $3.25 yesterday to $6.80 today.
This is part of a recent crypto trend whereby companies add blockchain to their name or offering and it sends their stock up. Last month, the US securities regulator, the SEC, suspended trading in a small firm after its stock rose more than 2,700 percent.
A Californian-based company changed its name from Croe Inc to Crypto Company and signed a deal to buy a cryptocurrency data platform. It was this move that sent its stock sky-high.
This also happened to another firm, a soft drinks company named Long Island Ice Tea Corp which re-branded as Long Blockchain Corp. Its shares rose 289 percent as it said it was pivoting to blockchain, however it looks like those plans may be in jeopardy.
What is KodakCoin?
Kodak’s new proposition, KodakCoin, is part of a new initiative, named KodakOne. This is an image rights management platform, created in partnership with Wenn Digital, using the blockchain to created an “encrypted, digital ledger of rights ownership” for photographers.
According to the marketing around the new platform, KodakOne will use blockchain technology to crawl the web to monitor and protect the intellectual property of the images registered within the system. KodakOne will then manage the post-licensing process to reward photographers.
Within this, photographers can use the new cryptocurrency, KodakCoin, to receive payment for their work when it is sold and also sell their work securely.
This is an interesting idea. One of the arguments for the uses of blockchain relates to proving the provenance of objects. For instance, Everledger uses blockchain to store records on diamonds and prove ownership and provenance. As well, a Chinese e-commerce platform, JD.com, uses blockchain so customers can track the production and delivery of frozen beef.
Using blockchain for the storing and ownership of photography sounds like a good use of the technology. In particular, this could be useful for photographers considering the difficult battles that can emerge over who own the rights to an image.
Yet, it goes back to current hype over bitcoin and blockchain that when a company adds either of these two concepts, everyone wants a piece.
Despite blockchain and bitcoin being nearly 10 years old, the general public understanding about the technologies is still fairly limited. At Verdict, we regularly receive pitches about companies using blockchain that will “change the world”. However, sometimes it seems difficult for companies to actually justify using blockchain beyond the marketing glib.
This can all be best summed up by the recent hype around DogeCoin. If you haven’t heard about it, it’s a cyrptocoin parody based on an internet meme featuring a Shiba Inu dog, affectionately named Doge.
Despite being around since 2014 with a relatively low-level interest, the market cap for the coin recently hit over $1bn. In an interview with CoinDesk, the maker of DogeCoin Jackson Palmer said:
“I think it says a lot about the state of the cryptocurrency space in general that a currency with a dog on it which hasn’t released a software update in over two years has a $1bn+ market cap.”