Daily Management Review

What you need to know about Kodak's plans on the crypto currency market


Kodak plans to issue its own crypto currency and rent out mining equipment. Here's what an investor needs to understand about these projects.

Viktor Nagornyy via flickr
Viktor Nagornyy via flickr
In 1975, an engineer at Eastman Kodak invented the first digital camera. The company hastily curtailed the project, hoping to postpone the day when digital cameras will force the film out of the market. However, this decision left Kodak in an unfortunate situation catching up in the following decades. Perhaps, having learned from his own experience how expensive time is, now Kodak does not want to let the crypto currency boom pass by. The company with a 130-year history wants to at least indirectly enter the blockbuster and crypto-currency market, hoping to breathe new life into its shares.

All about KODAKCoin

Buying and selling rights to use images and video is a serious business. According to Shutterstock, the market volume reaches about $ 14 billion per year. Kodak also wants to take its part: the company announced that it is developing a blockchain platform for managing rights to images and other content and selling them. Simply put, Kodak will create a platform for trading images and rights (KODAKOne) and will earn commissions for transactions.

However, instead of building this business in a traditional way, Kodak seems to be going to use the blockchain technology. Kodak wants to imitate Shutterstock with the help of blockchain. Photographers will be able to use the KODAKOne platform to sell licensed images to people and companies and conduct transactions in KODAKCoin, rather than in ordinary currencies. Theoretically, people who want to buy rights to images, will happily take another step to transform their dollars or euros into KODAKCoin to buy licensed images and other content from photographers. Photographers, apparently, should like the idea of getting money in KODAKCoin, and then convert them into one or another currency.

There is a reason for skepticism: the use of KODAKCoin simply adds an additional step in the process of buying and selling content rights. This impedes, rather than simplifies, life of buyers and sellers. Platforms for buying and selling rights to photos and videos already exist – among them are Shutterstock, iStockphoto and AdobeStock. According to official data of Shutterstock, the service has 300 thousand users. During the first nine months of 2017, the company's network accounted for more than 128 million paid downloads of images. It is usually difficult to build two-sided networks. It will not be easy to convince photographers, who now earn in dollars on Shutterstock, join KODAKOne and receive payment in KODAKCoin with an uncertain rating. However, investors do not seem to care. They are too focused on the word "blockchain" to notice that KODAKOne is just a more complex version of the already existing platforms.

But that's not all

Kodak does not stop at the release of its digital currency. The company also plans to engage in the mining of other crypto-currencies, such as Bitcoin. Now bitcoin mining is a highly competitive business. Miners buy expensive specialized equipment that consumes a large amount of electricity for power and cooling. Not surprisingly, mining farms are usually built in Iceland and China, where electricity is cheap and there are a lot of it. When everyone uses the same mining equipment, a competitive advantage can only be obtained by the one who found the cheapest power source. As it turns out, a lot of cheap electricity can be found in Rochester, New York, where Kodak headquarters. Electricity costs Kodak cheaply, as the company has its own power plant, which, according to the Air Force, can "supply mining farms with electricity at $ 0.04 per kWh." For comparison, the preferential tariff in China is $ 0.03 per kWh, other tariffs are higher. In the US, the average electricity price for households is about $ 0.12 per kWh. But the Kodak business model has one feature. Instead of risking their own capital by investing in mining farms, Kodak wants investors to pay $ 3,400 for equipment in exchange for half the bitcoins that will be mined within two years. The company believes that during this period the investor will receive $ 9000, that is, their profit will amount to $ 5600.

If the description of the company's plans disconcerts you, you should remove the word "blockchain", and then it becomes clear what they really are. Kodak’s shares are growing, because the company is creating an unnecessarily complex network for the purchase and sale of stock images, and enters a low-margin business of renting equipment through a dubious possibility of mining bitcoins.

source: fool.com