When you look at the best events, trends and jokes on the internet, most of the time you can trace them back to Reddit. However, the same can be said for some of the internet’s worst creations. Well, when it comes to Reddit’s ‘Wallstreetbets’ thread, you can find plenty of both.
The forum’s full history is too complex to explain in this article, not to mention there are still disputes as to what the factual origin story is. All you really need to know right now is that the thread became the go-to place for all of those investors that grew tired reading charts and studying trends. Instead, the thread embraced its name to the fullest extent, with some Redditors sharing Wall Street bets that could make even the most steel-nerved investors sweat from their balls.
For example, in 2019 one member who went under the name of “ironyman” tried to show-off his latest trading tactic. The tactic we speak of is a box spread, although it’s fairly common in the trading world, ironyman seemed to have misplaced his trust in it. A box spread is essentially where an investor places “bets” in both directions, if done right you can avoid a lot of risk while still having the potential to make profit.
As we said, it works if it’s done right, and ironyman was far from right. By taking advantages of trading inequalities on his app Robinhood, ironyman managed to leverage his money 60 to 1. This meant that he was trading with around $250,000 despite having just a fraction of that in his bank.
Most would crumble under the pressure of borrowing such an amount, however, ironyman crunched the numbers and decided this was “risk-free” and “could literally not go tits up.” Although, it appears he didn’t crunch the numbers all too well. After sharing his game-plan to the r/Wallstreetbets thread he received responses such as: “This is the riskiest play I have ever seen,” and: “It’s not smart, it’s retarded.” In just days he saw a whopping return of -2000%, translating into a real-world loss of around $60,000.
Robinhood finally picked up on this man’s insane tactic and closed the loophole they didn’t think anyone was high-enough to exploit. This became the first time in which the Wallstreetbets thread was able to make a mistake so large that the trading industry took notice of them.
Fast forward a couple of years, with hundreds of other Redditors trying equally risky tactics, and the forum became infamous. Now, although there are plenty of cases of people losing hundreds of thousands of dollars, there are a few lucky individuals who managed to get into the green.
For example, one user who went by the name of “analfarmer2” bet over $100,000 dollars that the market would drop in price in just a day’s time. Lucky for this user, Donald Trump happened to take to Twitter to break the news that new tariffs on China would be put in place. Consequently, the market dropped and he made around $200,000 in 24-hours. This, along with other risky trades took his investment account up to the value of $700,000.
Now, most people would be happy to call it a day at that point, but no, analfarmer2 is a man cut from a different cloth. He doubled down, betting $600,000 on another 24-hour bet. This time he was sure the market would move up, but it didn’t. He lost $500,000 and put the last $200,000 in his account to work, something I’m sure he regrets as after a week it had sunk again to just $40,000. As a one last hoorah, “analfarmer2” put the rest of his money into a weed stock, Canopy Growth to be specific, and lost it all.
But that brings us to the thread’s most recent event. Instead of one individual investor taking all the risk, the Wallstreetbets community collectively bundled their money into one stock in particular, Gamestop. Due to the millions of dollars worth of stocks being bought, it filled even non-Wallstreetbets investors with hope. More and more amateur investors began buying the stock, with most of them not even aware that the Gamestop’s stock price rally was basically due to a meme.
Well, meme or not, GameStop’s stock price has exploded, achieving new heights as it blasted past the $80 mark to settle at $150, even trading over $200 after hours. To put that into perspective, the stock price has increased by approximately 1000% in the last three weeks.
This unexpected surge came as bad news to a lot of traditional investment firms. Maybe “bad news” isn’t accurate, it was the worst news. For example, Melvin Capital had shorted the stock, meaning that the more the price went down, the more money they made, and the more the price went up, the more money they lost. All in all, Melvin Capital Management has lost big, so big that they now require a $2.75 billion cash infusion from hedge fund companies just to keep them on their feet.
Although this is clearly bad news for them, the investor who started the movement turned his $50,000 investment into a tidy sum of $22 million. This has left many smaller investors comparing this situation to the rebels that blew-up the Deathstar. It just goes to show, with balls of adamantium and a Reddit thread that is willing to try anything, nothing is impossible.
the wallstreetbets discord needs to be heard to be believed.— jpa (@josephpalbanese) January 26, 2021
it’s the modern day version of being on floor of NYSE. pic.twitter.com/QqKIz94yvU