This week will likely go down in history as the time when the power of the internet shook yet another aspect of our lives – financial markets. Social media’s ability to give power to the common people against the elite has been seen in society and politics. But the mania around trading in the stock Gamestop driven by thousands of retail investors ganging up on a Reddit forum called WallStreetBets, turned what began as a lockdown hobby for several to a movement against hedge funds in particular and Wall Street in general. Things got only worse when the now ironically named trading platform Robinhood, which was meant to ‘democratise’ stock trading, on thursday stopped accepting buy orders in Gamestop, supposedly due to liquidity challenges but also allegedly due to the inherent conflicts in its business model, (which shows it is in cahoots with the very Goliath it is meant to be helping the Davids fight). To understand the whole episode and the several issues that it has brought to fore, watch this rather heated podcast. There’s plenty written on the events but this piece in the WSJ though is about the guy who started it in the first place. Keith Gill (goes by the screen name DeepF-ingValue), until recently a marketing professional, took to full time trading markets, spotted the ‘deep value’ in Gamestop and unwittingly triggered the whole frenzy.
“The investor who helped direct the world’s attention to GameStop, leading a horde of online followers in a bizarre market rally that made and lost fortunes from one day to the next, says he’s just a normal guy.
“I didn’t expect this,” said Keith Gill, 34 years old, known as “DeepF—ingValue” by fans on Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum and “Dada” by his 2-year-old daughter. He said he didn’t set out to draw the attention of Congress, the Federal Reserve, hedge funds, the media, trading platforms and hundreds of thousands of investors.
“This story is so much bigger than me,” Mr. Gill told The Wall Street Journal in his first interview since the unboxing this week of a volatile new stock-market game. “I support these retail investors, their ability to make a statement.”
To many of them, Mr. Gill—who until recently worked in marketing for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co.—is the force behind the quadruple-digit gains in shares of the videogame retailer GameStop, up more than 1600% this year through Friday. On Wednesday, the stock jumped 135% to $347.51, a record, before plunging to $194 a share Thursday and then sharply rebounding to end the week. At the start of the year, GameStop shares went for around $18.
Many online investors say his advocacy helped turn them into a force powerful enough to cause big losses for established hedge funds and, for the moment, turn the investing world upside down.
Mr. Gill posted a screenshot of his brokerage account Wednesday, showing a roughly $20 million daily gain on GameStop shares and options.”
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