Eastman Kodak unveiled what might be a last-gasp hope for success with KodakCoin a cross between cryptocurrencies and an icon that has slowly faded that is looking for life-support.
The company filed in 2012 for bankruptcy protection after having problems shifting to digital images. It is now betting its entire future on the growing popularity of digital currencies with its initial coin offering that is designed to aid photographers in selling their work.
Today’s crypto buzz has doubled its stock, but that will unlikely have an effect in the same way when it comes to the revenue and profit for the company.
The company, based in Rochester, New York emerged in 2013 from bankruptcy relieved of many debts and its patents. It has refocused in digital printing, legacy film and packaging, which is just a shadow of its glory days when a song made by Paul Simon about Kodachrome was a hit.
However, sales have not been good and fell a third during the first three years following bankruptcy. Sales were off another 8% through three quarters of last year, to just over $1.1 billion with the bottom line dropping into the red. Kodak’s market capitalization, close to $30 billion during its peak years of the late 1990s, dropped to only $135 million this week.
An announcement of the blockchain platform and its ICO changed the trajectory of the company’s stock the day it was announced. Kodak is only the latest company to see potential positive effect of the popular crypto-currencies following the surge by bitcoin of 14-fold last year. In December, the stock in a tiny company known as Long Island Iced Tea nearly tripled after it changed its name to Long Blockchain.
Last year alone, ICOs produced $3 billion for startups, led by blockchain data network Filecoin that took in over $257 million. However, the field is becoming crowded. There are close to 80 offerings at the present time across the market and about the same number that are planning a launching over the upcoming two months.
Kodak CEO Jeffrey Clarke is willing to take whatever comes the company’s way. The business has been looking to sell assets in order to pay down part of its debut of $845 million.
A blockchain platform might give photographers an alternative and better way of licensing the images they take and get payment for them. However, it is unknown at this point how that is going to reverse the decades of decline at Kodak.