SHORT EXPOSURES: May 18

Kodak’s gone crypto-crazy…Xerox dumps Fujifilm…Olympus closes Chinese factory…Bug-fixing X-T2 firmware update…

Kodak takes next step in crypto-craziness
Those wacky dudes at former paparazzi agency Wenn Digital ‘the developer of the KodakOne Image Rights Management Platform’ have finally taken the next step into the murky world of cryptocurrency in announcing they are seeking $10 million – although they would prefer $40 million – from the market to pursue its folly, starting May 21.

The Kodak KashMiner is yet another ‘product’ from Wenn Digital out of Kodak. According to Wenn, an upfront payment of US$3400 for a two-year contract would lead to bitcoin (not KodakCoin) production value of around US$375 per month at current value. The partnership would provide the licensee with half of the resulting $9000 made over the 24-month period (presumably less the incredibly large electricity bill running one of these energy-hungry contraptions consume.)

‘An additional $10 million is what our business plan requirement is,’ Cam Chell, co-founder of KodakOne, told a US investment website. ‘We think ideally a total of an additional $40 million is the number we’d like to target.’

It seems the actual implementation of a blockchain-based digital image rights system for photographers – the only thing about this whole farce that makes sense – has been postponed to some indeterminate time in the future. (In the meantime, this lot of carpetbaggers makes off with the loot, presumably!)

If KodakCoin/One/KashMiner (ie, Wenn Digital) intends to force photographers into its cryptocurrency to be part of its mooted image rights management system it is doomed to fail.

The KodakCoin sale was expected to begin at the end of January but was delayed for weeks, then months when it was discovered there were laws protecting gullible investors from this kind of thing. The day prior to the initial announcement in early January, the Eastman Kodak board issued 370,974 share options to seven non-executive directors. The share price proceeded to triple over the next week or so, potentially delivering windfall profits to the directors.

Accredited investors will receive KodakCoin Tokens in exchange for real cash. The scam offering will be facilitated through Cointopia (www.cointopia.com) and managed via a couple of SEC-registered ‘broker-dealers’.

Wenn only paid Eastman Kodak a US$750,000 licensing fee for the rights to use Kodak branding, along with approximately US$1.25 million worth of Wenn common stock. Kodak is also slated to receive 3 million KodakCoins and undisclosed royalties tied to the performance of the token sale.

Warren Buffet, acknowledged as the world’s greatest investor, has called cryptocurrency ‘rat poison squared’ and likened cryptocurrency trading to a ponzi scheme: ‘The asset itself is creating nothing. When you’re buying nonproductive assets, all you’re counting on is the next person is going to pay you more because they’re even more excited about another next person coming along.’

His veteran business partner, Charlie Munger said that that cryptocurrency trading is ‘just dementia.’

Xerox dumps Fujifilm
The proposed acquisition of Xerox by Fujifilm is now off the table.

The transaction, announced in January, was that Xerox merge its business with Fuji Xerox, the joint venture with Fujifilm in Asia, Australia and New Zealand, with Fujifilm in majority control.

Xerox investors were to receive a $US2.5 billion cash dividend as part of the deal.

Last year Fujifilm found improper accounting practices at Fuji Xerox in New Zealand and Australia, which stemmed back to 2010 and involved over half a billion dollars.

It’s unclear as yet what the outcome will be for Fuji Xerox in Australia and New Zealand following what appears to be an acrimonious divorce by the two companies. It’s unlikely, however, that they will be working more closely in future.

Olympus closes Chinese factory
Japanese broadcaster NHK World Japan has reported that Olympus is shutting down its 20-year-old camera plant in Shenzhen, China with the loss of 1700 jobs. The plant is being closed in response to waning demand for compact cameras.

There have also been allegations of bribery at the plant connected to dealings with local customs authorities. Olympus denies the claims of corruption, although it is being taken to court by an employee in relation to the matter.

Bug-fixing X-T2 firmware update
Fujifilm has released  fix for its Version 4 firmware update i n the form of Version 4.01, which effectively takes the camera back to Version 3 firmware.

Fujifilm has issued a public apology along with the update. The buggy Version 4 doesn’t convert previously-taken RAW files properly, creates a flicker in live view when the shutter is half depressed and ‘in rare cases, a hang-up can occur.

The firmware fix is available here.

Fujifilm has also postponed the release of firmware updates for the GFX 50S, X-H1 and X-Pro2, initially planned for May.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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