Kodak jumps on cryptocurrency craze and rents out its own bitcoin mining machine
The company, along with tech firm Spotlite, built the Kodak KashMiner – a “Bitcoin rig” that creates the cryptocurrency.
But the catch is Spotlite will get to keep HALF of all mining proceeds.
It can also only be rented for £2,954 over 24 months – and the value of Bitcoin could plunge in that time, leaving investors out of pocket.
In a process designed to mimic the process of mining precious metal, new Bitcoin can be created by computer processors carrying out intensive mathematical solutions over a lengthy process to “verify” new Bitcoin.
Each of the rigs will be leased out to members of the public who will pay a fee to Kodak to mine Bitcoin for them, which will be shared between the company and the customer.
At Bitcoin’s current value, an up-front investment of $4,000 (£2,954) for 24 months of mining could earn a profit of £277 a month, Spotlite’s Halston Mikail told the BBC.
The company has already leased out all 80 of its mining rigs, but hopes to bring in another 300 soon.
Each rig uses up about the same level of energy as running a hairdryer constantly.
But Kodak have their own generator at their Rochester, New York HQ, meaning it is cheaper for them to run the machines than a typical home user.
However, the value of Bitcoin has plummeted more than 30% in the last three weeks thanks to a looming crackdown in China and South Korea.
The cryptocurrency has fallen in value for four straight days and is today down to $14,042 from a record $20,000 on December 17, according to Coinmarketcap.
Market-leader Bitcoin is also losing ground to rivals like ethereum, ripple and cardano.
In mid-September, China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), told virtual currency trading platforms based in Beijing and Shanghai to cease market operations.
Authorities also clamped down on ethereum and any other electronic units that are exchanged online without being regulated by any country.
South Korean authorities late last year banned financial institutions from dealing in virtual currencies on fears of a bubble fuelled by retail speculators.
About one million South Koreans, many of them small-time investors, are estimated to own bitcoins and demand is so high that prices are around 20% higher than in the US.
Bitcoin is a virtual currency that was created in 2009 by an unknown computer whizz using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto.
Individual Bitcoins are created by computer code.
Transactions are made without middle men, so there are no transaction fees and no need to give your real name.
More businesses are beginning to accept them and in some parts of the world you can even buy pizza with Bitcoins.
Bitcoins aren’t printed, like pounds, dollars or euros – they’re produced by people, and increasingly businesses, running computers all around the world.
It’s the first example of a growing category of money known as cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin is attractive to some users because of its anonymity, as well as its lack of government control.
BEATS AND BITCOIN
Japan has a new all-girl band – the Virtual Currency Girls – on a mission to educate the public about bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Each of the eight girls in the band, known in Japanese as “Kasotsuka Shojo”, plays a character representing a virtual currency such as bitcoin, ethereum or ripple.
Promotional material shows the performers wearing character masks, frilly mini-skirts and “maid” aprons complete with knee-high socks.
The Virtual Currency Girls are due to hold their debut live concert in Tokyo on Friday, according to their management company Cinderella Academy.
In keeping with the theme, payment for merchandise will be accepted only in virtual currencies.
“We want to promote the idea through entertainment that virtual currencies are not just a tool for speculation but are a wonderful technology that will shape the future,” said the group’s leader Rara Naruse, 18, in an online statement.
The value of Bitcoin, like all currencies, is determined by how much people are willing to exchange it for.
To process Bitcoin transactions, a procedure called ‘mining’ must take place, which involves a computer solving a difficult mathematical problem with a 64-digit solution.
For each problem solved, one block of Bitcoin is processed.
In addition, the miner is rewarded with new Bitcoin.