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Breakfast Briefing: Kodak’s Idea, SpaceX’s Satellite Saga & Trump

Kodak’s Blockchain Adventure

Blockchain is the media’s favourite buzzword right now and the markets are no different.

Editor’s Remarks: Yesterday Kodak announced a partnership with Wenn Digital to build a “photo-centric cryptocurrency” that would enable photographers and agencies to have greater control over rights to their images. On the news, Kodak shares jumped 44% following a recent trend in the stock market that has seen virtually any company that mentions cryptocurrencies or blockchain technology immediately witness a strong rally. The KODAKCoin, once minted, will operate on the KODAKOne platform, where rights to photographs are digitised before being registered, licensed or sold. Perhaps 2018 will see more companies leverage the blockchain to upgrade their business models.

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SpaceX’s Satellite Saga

Following the apparently successful launch of a NASA payload on Sunday, the satellite is now missing.

Editor’s Remarks: The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off without any hitches from its Cape Canoveral launch pad carrying a classified military satellite codenamed Zuma. However, despite SpaceX’s COO Gwynne Shotwell insisting that the company’s data suggests that everything went smoothly, the US military said that it cannot track the satellite. During the launch, it was confirmed by SpaceX that Zuma and the second stage rocket continued to their final orbit. The US Senate and House of Representatives have been briefed on the apparent failure, which is estimated to have cost billions of dollars. It is yet unclear what the episode will mean for SpaceX’s relationship with the US government.

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Bridgewater Hires Poker Star

Vanessa Selbst, the world’s most successful female poker player, has joined Bridgewater Associates.

Editor’s Remarks: Over the past 12 years, Selbst has won $11.9m playing poker and now, aged 33, she is changing careers. She has joined Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund with over $160bn under management. Her role, which she actually took up over four months ago, focuses on trading research and strategy. Although she has not made any formal comment, Selbst posted on Facebook that her role felt “a lot like poker did back in the day — a bunch of nerdy kids collaborating to beat our opponents”. Ray Dalio’s latest star hire is not just a poker ace, however; she graduated from Yale before joining McKinsey and later completed a law degree also at Yale.

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Trump’s Latest Escapade

Despite sparking anger and disbelief at every turn, Donald Trump is on something of a winning streak.

Editor’s Remarks: After entering office, Trump was quick to lambast California as “out of control”; now, the western state is fighting back. The latest demonstrators have been prompted by the Trump administration’s sweeping tax cuts, stance on immigration, its crackdown on net neutrality and most recently the expectation that Jeff Sessions will roll back marijuana legalisation laws. Californians are also annoyed that Florida, which supported Trump in the 2016 election, recently received a waiver for an unpopular drilling plan. Pro-Democrat California, however, did not. Abroad, however, South Korea’s president – albeit with a smile on his face – said that the US president was instrumental in bringing his country closer to its northern neighbour.

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Ethereum Powers Ahead

The world’s second largest cryptocurrency continues to post major gains. 

Editor’s Remarks: After being briefly eclipsed by Ripple last week, Ethereum is now firmly back in the number two spot in the cryptocurrency world. Its market cap is now $133bn – the same as Ripple roughly this time last week – while the former, which is still in third place, has fallen to $75bn. Ethereum’s co-founder, who has since left the Ethereum Foundation, recently predicted that the cryptocurrency market will experience an imminent crash followed by a rapid wave of consolidation as it becomes clear which platforms and coins have real world application and which face insurmountable tech-related obstacles. At the time of writing, Ethereum is nearing $1,400 after crossing $1,000 just a few days ago.

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