The Blockchain Bubble - You May Be Unknowingly Living The Cryptocurrency Life

KODAKCoin got me thinking - have many other companies pivoted to the blockchain business? Turns out, there are a lot of them from iced tea to burgers, and you could be unknowingly living a cryptocurrency life.

As you may already know, Kodak was once a dominant brand in photography, but got left behind in the 90s as digital photography became a thing. Struggling to keep up, Kodak went through an 18-month long bankruptcy - selling off a lot of its business and patents to stay afloat.

But recently, Kodak announced their next strategic move - refusing to lose out on the next digital movement by introducing their own cryptocurrency… Yep, you read that right.

Named the KODAKCoin, this pivot into the blockchain business seems odd to say the least, but when you see what it did to the stock price, then it makes sense.

Stocks spiked by 119% to $6.80 (£5.03), which is its highest since October 2017 (for context, it’s been on a steady decline from $36.88 (£27.25) since January 2014). 

Kodak plans to use this blockchain technology as a digital ledger, to help photographers track where their images are used and to ensure payment. I’d question the need for a completely separate currency that people need to buy, as this tech could just be used with normal cash, but them’s the rules I guess.

Not only that, but Kodak also released its own bitcoin mining devices, available at their New York headquarters. Investors can rent a machine for two years at a price of $3,400 (£2,500), which will do the job of generating bitcoin. At current prices, it should generate $375 (£277) worth of the cryptocurrency every month, but like any other financial flash in the pan, the price is super unstable and probably heading for a crash.

“For many in the tech industry, ‘blockchain’ and ‘cryptocurrency’ are hot buzzwords, but for photographers who’ve long struggled to assert control over their work and how it’s used, these buzzwords are the keys to solving what felt like an unsolvable problem,” said Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke in a press release.

So you get what’s going on, right? Kodak noticed these buzzwords attract investors and increase stock prices. But here’s the best part… They’re not the only ones.

Turns out, you can live a full lifestyle in parallel with the cryptocurrency craze, as other companies - from tea makers to burger chains - have jumped on the blockchain hype train.

Chanticleer Holdings

A rather vague investment-sounding firm, but one that owns a number of burger franchises across the US (including Hooters).

But tight-fitted-clothed service is not enough for these guys, as they announced their own cryptocurrency on 2nd January 2018. Basically, it’s a loyalty programme for customers to be rewarded for eating at the company’s restaurants in Merit tokens - their own currency that can be used to purchase more burgers in the future. Shares went up 42%.

P.S. Disappointed they didn’t call their cryptocurrency BoobCoin!

Nova Lifestyle

This popular homeware designer and distributor provide furniture to people across the planet, but they wanted to give their share price a supercharged boost. How have they done this? 

With the subtly named, wholly-owned subsidiary named “I Design Blockchain Technology Inc.” This company enhances (yea, you guessed it) “product sales through a Blockchain technology-empowered digital platform.” Shares grew 47% after the announcement.

Ping Shan Tea Group

But this isn’t the most bluntly obvious name change, as this Hong Kong-based producer of traditional Chinese tea pivoted and renamed themselves “Blockchain Group Company.” 

Yes, they still sell you tea, but farewell to the heritage of the name! Unfortunately, this only prompted a minor boost in share price, followed by a 78% decline over last year.

Long Island Iced Tea

Yep. That original seller of bottled iced tea and lemonade. They’ve pivoted into the blockchain space, renaming themselves the Long Blockchain Corporation.

They announced a shift to focus on this space, exploring new investment opportunities. And since then, the shares spiked by a whopping 289%!


A word of advice…

So what note can I leave this story on - after sharing a laugh with you all at this business dependency on saying the word “bitcoin,” to make a little extra money? 

It’s simple really… The world is starting to talk a lot about cryptocurrencies, presenting them as some elite status forms of making money quick.

But much like the housing crisis of 2008, some people don’t realise the bubble that is closer to bursting on a day-to-day basis.

Here’s my advice to you, dear reader. Don’t do it.

Let the blockchain bubble be a flight of fancy to those who have the insane levels of disposable income required to make something of them. If you got into the game and got out with a profit, don’t go back in.

Every bit of this cryptocurrency craze just screams “inevitable crash.”