Why clarity and understanding, rather than sensationalist hype, is needed around the latest disruptive technology...
Following Bitcoin’s record-breaking year, investors seem to be caught up in an investment frenzy similar to the infamous .com bubble. There seems now to be a gold rush for anything Block/Bit related, with firms in any way associated with this technology increasing in shareholder value. In this article James Barry, a Financial Technology Analyst, will show how two very different companies are approaching Blockchain technology, and why you should too.
If you oversaw a somewhat unprofitable soft drinks company with a singular product, the iconic Long Island Iced Tea, how would you propose increasing consumer interest, prospective investors and ultimately the share price? Would you invest in advertising? Maybe you would announce a new product? Or perhaps you would simply change the company name in the hope of capitalising on the latest millions-making (and often misunderstood) buzzwords. Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, Decentralised, Distributed Ledger, ICO, Ethereum, Altcoins, ASIC Mining, Hashrate, Smart Contracts, etc.
In late December 1017 the arguably unremarkable Long Island Iced Tea Corp. drew international headlines for doing just this. A rise in its share prices by 289% followed its renaming to Long Blockchain Corp (LBCC).
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this scenario was the statement outlining the intention to invest heavily in Bitcoin mining equipment through a potential merger with the company Starter Blockchain Limited.
So, what can investors expect from this now very hip, cool and cutting-edge beverage company? Well, at the time of writing, a well-made website featuring select quotes from well-regarded bitcoin/blockchain enthusiasts under the heading “ Blockchain Opportunity”.
Furthermore, LBCC’s decision to backtrack on its original commitment to purchase Bitcoin mining equipment while continuing to seek a merger with Starter Blockchain Limited towards an end goal of “…developing and deploying globally scalable blockchain technology solutions across the financial markets” highlights the need for a better understanding of the core underlying technology.
In my eyes, Long Block Chain Corp. is pivoting towards Bitcoin so as to position itself favourably if / when Cryptocurrencies receive mainstream adoption. The problem here is that while various trusted centralised authorities operate within the financial markets – a decentralised network for transactions between individuals (the Blockchain), is simply not required by the man in the street for his day-to-day transactions right now.
Rather than seeking to overcome the great Bitcoin conundrum, companies who focus their attention towards the actual solutions that Blockchain provides for current issues, stand to gain hugely in the long term.
Compare Long Blockchain Corp. with another surprising Blockchain pivot. Kodak, a company which has previously been slow to adapt to the rapid advancement of technology, enjoyed a similarly spectacular 119% rise in its share prices after it announced it was creating its own Blockchain business, KODAKOne, through a partnership with WENN Digital.
What makes this particularly interesting is that KODAKOne, rather than simply trying to capitalise on market hype and speculation, are offering a solution to an actual real-world problem. A solution facilitated by the implementation of Blockchain technology.
Since we have imagined ourselves as the overseer of a soft drinks company, now try to imagine yourself in the shoes of an amateur photographer. That award-winning photo you took is being attributed to someone else, who not only claims it as their own, is selling your work, and even winning awards! Despite sending politely worded letters to those involved, you have received the cold shoulder. Sighing to yourself, you begin to prepare for a costly and protracted legal battle.
This specific, but unfortunately common, issue would simply cannot occur if Blockchain technology is successfully implemented within the photography world. In KODAKOne’s own statement from their website, “KODAKOne is a revolutionary new image rights management and protection platform secured in the blockchain that seamlessly registers, manages and monetizes creative assets for the photographic community”. Each user of the KODAKOne platform will have indisputable ownership of their product thanks to the encryption protocols governing the workings of a Blockchain being tied to their work.
KODAKCoin, the cryptocurrency used on the platform works like any other cryptocurrency. Rather than getting interested in the coin itself, take note of what indisputable and instantly verifiable ownership would mean for our amateur photographer. Achieved without a trusted centralised authority. Try to imagine the potential this has in any number of current market sectors.
KODAKOne is just one example of why a clear understanding of Blockchain technology is crucial for businesses with an interest in utilising its potential for long term success. Long Block Chain Corp. in contrast shows how misinformation surrounding the cryptocurrency craze can result in short term success and draws comparisons to the .com bubble. I would argue that its lucrative aim, that of building blockchain solutions for the global financial markets, is unfeasible for those wishing to embrace this new technology. Blockchain technology can be profitably implemented as the solution to numerous real-world challenges today by those with a clear understanding of what Blockchain can do for them.
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