Reddit VS Billionaires: A Controversial Moment in Stock Market History

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A battle between the ultra rich and the average retail investor who just got their stimulus checks. Something that will probably be in history books in the future has happened recently. News has been spread about this battle blaming one side or the other, however, what I believe is, this is fair game. This is just average investors using the hedge funds’ strategies against themselves, but now since the tables have turned, the rich are angry.

Earlier this year in January, the investors and gamblers on the subreddit WallStreetBets decided that it was a good idea to screw over hedge funds. For a bit of background, hedge funds were dumping billions of dollars betting that the GameStop stock was going to fall and be worth basically nothing. However, if for some reason the price of the stock goes up, they would lose money. 

WallStreetBets users saw this and noticed that if they bought shares collectively, they could perform what is known as a short squeeze, which basically drives the stock price to the moon. 

One man, who is famous for his wild investment play, u/DeepF***ingValue has been praised on the subreddit. He started with an investment of around $50,000 into GameStop options and shares. From a video posted on his YouTube channel, this play was in fact a “true YOLO” (meaning that this was most of his money) for him and that his family had “nowhere close to a million dollars” before this. His investment quickly turned into around 45 million dollars when GameStop was at its peak. Today this investment sits around the 25 million dollar range according to his last post, still, a substantial gain from $50,000. 

The retail investors were doing nothing wrong, however when billionaire crybabies complain about losing some money, there’s always someone there to help them. 

After a few days of GME (GameStop stock ticker) skyrocketing, there were limits placed on how many shares one could buy. In the case of Robinhood (the brokerage most WallStreetBets users use) the limit for how many shares anyone could buy was… 1 SHARE!? This crazy limit killed the momentum of this rocketing share price and GME went from being at 300 a share to 50 a share in a matter of days. 

This chaotic series of events led to the question of, “was all of this legal?” 

In my opinion, it was all fair game. 

Admitting that this strategy of investing is illegal would mean that all this  time, the hedge funds were doing illegal things. In addition to that, most of the investors claim that they bought GME because “they like the stock” and to prove against that is nearly impossible. 

Many hedge funds and rich investors claim that this was blatant market manipulation and want the online forum to be investigated. However, if it were to be flipped on them, the restrictions that they forced on many stocks that were experiencing volatile conditions like GME would be market manipulation. I believe that forcing the price down through limiting what people can buy in a “free market” is flat out illegal and should be investigated.

In conclusion, the wild rocket that WallStreetBets went on is something that has never happened before. Beating the big guys was basically deemed impossible up until now. Seeing this as an educational experience is the best thing to do, I believe that we should challenge what has been normal for so long, try and win against the big guys, and most importantly, allow normal people to make money off of the market just how billionaires have been doing for years.