Eastman Kodak Company Common New (NYSE:KODK) is like a cat with nine lives, with the photography and film tech company finding a second wing in the development of digital photography technology and a savvy eye on cryptocurrency. However, could the very key to Kodak’s new salvation be sending it through the ringer?
For a company that once ruled the roost in the printing and photography arena back in the ’90s, once boasting $31 billion in its heyday, the tides have shifted 22 years later. In a new era of instant photo gratification between the world wide web and sleek smartphone, the giant of the ’90s lost its footing in the game that was once Kodak’s to lose.
Kodak has found its name still holds the weight of a good legacy, opting to go the route of brand licensing deals to maximize on its best value: a strong reputation. It was not too long before the company stumbled upon the bitcoin mining industry, smart to cash in on crypto fever that has lately been all the rage- and subsequently sending every player riding the Bitcoin bubble wave up right along with it.
Just over a week ago, Kodak had unveiled a collaboration with WENN Digital in the works: the soon-to-be launch of the KODAKOne and KODAKCoin, with an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) for the latter set to kick off by the end of the month. This KODAKOne platform capitalizes on cryptomania by using its own cryptocurrency to sell and purchase digital content. Notably, the ICO reveal sent the tech firm’s shares back on the rise, a meteoric 307% jump in the span of some hours.
For a tech player that used to enjoy domination of the market, in recognizing the kind of buzz the bitcoin mining sphere has generated, it makes sense that Kodak likewise recently introduced a program where shareholders will shell out the purchase expense of its Kodak KashMiner ($3,400) to garner half the bitcoin mined throughout a time frame of two years. Can the company power its machines at a less expensive price tag when up against rival bitcoin mining players? The company seems to wager yes, especially with a power plant at New York headquarters. Yet, with forecasts angling for investors to bring a $5,600 profit to the table on an investment towering at $3,400 in a short time slot of a mere 24 months in counting, some doubt just how advantageous the gains are going to be here.
Meanwhile, it cannot be positive news for investors that with this company resting its hopes on the crypto craze, the bubble may at least be coming to a crash. Is this only the beginning, or is the sun finally setting on the cryptocurrency empire? Yesterday saw the 10 digital currency players winning on the leaderboard, even the king of the game, Bitcoin, suddenly on a stark crash. Not even the biggest crypto giant of them all was safe from a sharp 14% plunge. As such, Kodak got pulled under the tidal fall, with shares slipping almost 8% in the market yesterday.
True, the crypto market may have rocketed beyond a massive $800 billion only 10 days ago as Bitcoin stepped on a record leap shy of $20,000. Yet, yesterday’s dive begs the question: is this the end of the bubble’s highs? If so, Kodak investors are in for another wild ride.