There’s a popular phenomenon in soccer known as the “new manager bump”, which essentially says that a team can expect a short but sharp increase in fortunes when hiring a new head coach. Like most attempts to rationalize sports its efficacy is questionable. But there it is nonetheless.
Kodak’s newly announced foray into cryptocurrency shows that cryptocurrency could be the tech world’s new manager bump. Struggling? Try an initial coin offering (ICO). Kodak’s, which will launch its KodakCoin currency alongside news agency WENN under the KODAKOne rights platform, will take place on January 31, and will be available to investors in the US and Canada.
“Utilizing blockchain technology,” begins a jargon-crammed company statement, “the KODAKOne platform will create an encrypted, digital ledger of rights ownership for photographers to register both new and archive work that they can then license within the platform.
“With KODAKCoin, participating photographers are invited to take part in a new economy for photography, receive payment for licensing their work immediately upon sale, and for both professional and amateur photographers, sell their work confidently on a secure blockchain platform,” the statement continues.
Kodak’s share price leapt 60% upon news of the foray into cryptocurrency, whose best-known format, bitcoin, has been the subject of one of the tech world’s most topsy-turvy years ever (a bubble, long predicted, appears close. Breaths are being held across the sector).
While it is commendable that blockchain technology is used to secure the work of independent creatives, it’s not clear why Kodak needed to launch KodakCoin, rather that a new social media or software platform. Like many ailing legacy firms in the digital age, it seems Kodak is clinging onto something new and trendy, to paper over massive and nigh-on irreparable cracks in its business model.
It’s a bit like a $60,000 hair weave – or the president of a failing soccer team hiring a new coach, while the players remain fundamentally bad. After the new manager bump, most teams drop like stones. Virtual currency may have its place in the modern digital age. But it’s unlikely to be at Kodak. Expect its share price to dampen, alongside the hype.