On Jan. 9, the storied but beleaguered photography firm Eastman Kodak Co. (NYSE: KODK) let slip word that it's integrating blockchain technology into its operations.
Kodak said it wants to use a blockchain distributed ledger to help photographers license their work – and get paid – when people use those images.
You know what happened next…
Kodak's shares soared higher by 119% that day – and then another 57% the next day.
Then the talking heads on CNBC and FOX Business – and in mainstream publications everywhere – tut-tutted both Kodak and the investors who bought into its scheme.
They've got a point. Chasing after desperate companies putting blockchain into their business or names is a bit foolish. After all, plenty of investors who hit the greed pedal following Kodak's blockchain announcement got creamed on profit-taking.
Here's the thing. Those mainstream analysts missed the larger meaning behind this story.
Investors are right now feeling a great need to invest in blockchain before they miss their opportunity. And they're chasing it everywhere they see it, even if it means making a play on a long-struggling company like Kodak.
Blockchain, of course, is the backend technology that makes cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin possible. And it's blockchain's promise that's behind Bitcoin and other digital coins' recent wild ride.
So I get it. I want to be invested in blockchain – and I think you folks should be, too. But plays like Kodak are extremely risky trades, not long-term profitable investments.
So today I want to tell you about a stock that is a great backend play on blockchain technology.
It's is a highly respected tech leader that offers stable returns – but that will crush the market over the next three years thanks to its moves into blockchain and other bleeding-edge technologies.
Let's take a look…
Stay Strong with Bitcoin
With Bitcoin prices falling recently to $10,000, a 50% drop from their all-time high of $20,089 on Dec. 17, it's no surprise that many investors are panicking.
Before you sell out of fear, consider this…
Bitcoin has been massively profitable over the long term. In fact, it has made peak gains of 5,000% since I first recommended it to Strategic Tech Investor members back in February 2016.
These kinds of dips have happened before – and they'll happen again. But the future of digital currencies is extremely bright.
Pot Stock Profits: A historic event is unfolding in California’s marijuana markets, and the wealth expected to flow into this industry is record-breaking. Learn how to cash in here…
That said, when we spoke Dec. 19, I warned you to be careful about getting into Bitcoin as we head into 2018. No, I'm not pessimistic about cryptocurrencies in general or Bitcoin in particular. In fact, just the opposite is true – I firmly believe these e-currencies are the wave of the future and still face huge upside.
My concern is for individual investors like you. Bitcoin has hit the futures markets for the first time ever, and that means Wall Street traders, hedge funds, and other high rollers are sharpening their knives – setting Bitcoin up for massive volatility.
My call couldn't have been timelier. Practically as I hit "send" on that report, Bitcoin fell $1,070 in a day. Not only that, but it weakened over the next few days, falling from a high of roughly $20,000 to $10,000.
For you Bitcoin veterans out there, that kind of swing is pretty normal. You folks can handle it. But for new investors, that type of volatility is hard to swallow.
So while I suggest current Bitcoin owners hold onto it for the forks – right now, instead of buying the digital currency itself, here's where to look for blockchain profits…
A Trade – Not an Investment
Now then, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that at some point it might not be worth taking a flier on Kodak or some other company that announces a blockhain initiative.
Founded in 1888 in Rochester, N.Y., Kodak says it will help launch an initial coin offering (ICO), with the token to be named KodakCoin. The firm said the new crypto coin will become the backbone of its new blockchain-based payment system.
Kodak was prompt to say that it's not issuing the ICO itself, which it says will have a value of $20 million to $100 million. The company also gets no proceeds from the sale of the KodakCoins, which will be used on the new KodakOne image-rights management platform.
Even though Kodak seems to be embracing blockchain for the long haul, now is not the time to wade into the stock as it heads back down again. Besides, I believe we'll see plenty more companies embracing blockchain technology.
In fact, Kodak was one of several to do so recent months.
- In early October, the company formerly known as Bioptix Inc. said it was pivoting from animal healthcare to blockchain technology and renamed itself Riot Blockchain Inc. (Nasdaq: RIOT).
- Then in mid-December, Long Island Iced Tea Corp. changed its name to Long Blockchain Corp. (Nasdaq: LBCC) as it, too, converts into a blockchain outfit.
Those micro caps thirsty for some blockchain juice are joining a growing list of Fortune 500 firms and big global banks that are also investing in blockchain. Those global giants are doing so because a blockchain is a highly secure, cryptographic system that functions as a global distributed ledger. This system not only undergirds Bitcoin and other currencies, but it bypasses banks and governments, operates transparently, and is virtually hack-proof.
That means, almost immediately, many of us will be settling contracts with blockchain. By doing so, we'll avoid bank fees, possible litigation, and a lot of other issues that economists like to refer as "friction." Plus, you can go online and watch these transactions occurring in near real time.
Gartner says blockchain created $4 billion in business value last year. The firm believes that figure will hit $21 billion by 2020 before rising to $176 billion in 2025 and a staggering $3.1 trillion by 2030.
Bear in mind that this is the market value for blockchain-based enterprise applications. It doesn't count the escalating market cap of cryptocurrencies themselves, of which there are now roughly 1,300 with a combined value of $759 billion.
To me, that's just an amazing set of statistics. This is a field that barely existed just nine years ago. But it proves a point I've been making since I got involved in crypto trading in early 2013 – the future belongs to blockchain.
And that's why I think tech investors would do well to look at this company's move into the field…
About the Author
Michael A. Robinson is one of the top financial analysts working today. His book "Overdrawn: The Bailout of American Savings" was a prescient look at the anatomy of the nation's S&L crisis, long before the word "bailout" became part of our daily lexicon. He's a Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and reporter, lauded by the Columbia Journalism Review for his aggressive style. His 30-year track record as a leading tech analyst has garnered him rave reviews, too. Today he is the editor of the monthly tech investing newsletter Nova-X Report as well as Radical Technology Profits, where he covers truly radical technologies – ones that have the power to sweep across the globe and change the very fabric of our lives – and profit opportunities they give rise to. He also explores "what's next" in the tech investing world at Strategic Tech Investor.