“You can call me Henry”, says at the end of a conversation in the Reddit forum chat one of the young people who dedicates morning and afternoon to spurring the purchases of GameStop and other actions besieged by the great bearish investment funds of Wall Street. London resident, recently graduated from marketing, and a “low-wage” employee in a start up At 23, he is not a newcomer attracted by the new epic of the call-up for small investors to leave vulture funds penniless: he has been on the WallStreetBets sub-forum since 2017, and knows many of its members. “Most are twenty-somethings facing the worst job market in 100 years. It doesn’t surprise me that they take extra risks to bring money home, ”he says.
In your case, those risks are not very high quantitatively, although they add a good chunk of your bank account. As the screenshot of his movements shows, he has invested almost 2,000 dollars, 20% of his savings, in titles of the video game company GameStop, after having done so in the technology BlackBerry, and the chain of stores for home products Bed Bath & Beyond, all of them badly hit by bearish funds in the past and now catapulted by the wave of purchases from small investors. His conception of the struggle overflows with an idealism that draws attention by appearing linked to the stock market, usually implacable and individualistic. “At first it was about money, now it is about destroying the bears. I don’t think most of the people in this Reddit group care about money. There are people who have made millions of dollars and are prepared to lose everything to send a message.
Not everyone who has gone to such a handful of actions is willing to sacrifice themselves for the cause. Earning money continues to be the main driver for many small investors, even if they rejoice at the blow inflicted on the vulture funds. The user DeepFuckingValue has been the prototype of the popular hero among the foreros, sharing from time to time the statements of accounts that did not stop growing, to exceed 30 million dollars, boosted by the purchases of small investors and by the bear funds, which see their money vanish, they rushed to acquire the shares to close their positions, causing a snowball effect – the so-called short squeeze– which has made GameStop titles rise more than 1,600%.
How it all started? “There are only millions of people talking about the same thing. A kind of mass hysteria, if you will, ”he says. Henry. The existence of a common enemy: the big bearish funds. And for one purpose: to destroy them, it has strengthened the bonds of a community, that of WallStreetBets, to which everyone now wants to join. In a few days they have gone from having less than two million users to surpassing seven million, adding new potential to a stock market rampage that has already cost bearish funds billions. With so much money in motion, there are those who have gambled for urgent personal reasons. “Now I can write a check to my mom and pay my sister for the Lymes treatment. This has been a very hard year, but I am very grateful to each one of you ”, says one of the most commented messages, accompanied by a graph with a vertical curve and a figure: $ 64,153.37.
Henry, whose pseudonym in the forum is Ozymandias, a tribute to the sonnet of the English romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley “on how absolute power corrupts”, he says he is ready for anything. “It’s about sending a message. I am prepared to lose my investment. At this point it is almost a class war ”. His resentment towards Wall Street has a date etched in fire, that of the beginning of the mortgage crisis. subprime. “My parents lost our house in 2008 because Wall Street played with the economy. They got away with it, they were rescued and we are here fighting back. “
For some, Reddit users are gamers engaged in a war they cannot win. Stocks tend to recover their real value. And new bear funds can see in the disproportionate price of the shares, artificially inflated until it builds bubbles for all to see, a simple opportunity to make a lot of money betting on its fall. The risk lies in the unpredictability of the rival. No one knows how long small investors will hold out, and an untimely market entry can be expensive.
When the movement Occupy Wall Street filled the streets with angry young men laden with posters and slogans, the masters of the universe, as Tom Wolfe calls them in The bonfire of the vanities, barely flinched, and the protest ended up dissolving without the traders look up from your charts. In January 2021, the self-proclaimed dissent on Wall Street runs rampant, leaderless, calling themselves degenerate, autistic and retarded. And with a motto that drives the reckless attitude with which they pawn their savings: YOLO — acronym in English for you only live once (you only live once)-. In offices, they can no longer close the window to silence the proclamations. They are on your charts, speculating against speculators.
“All of you autistic Americans need to give up Robinhood and buy on Monday. We have held the lines for two days for you in Europe, but this is a collective effort. It’s a war! Take advantage of the weekend to change brokers. We need more purchasing pressure. We won’t let you win! Send this message above. Our American comrades need to see this! ”He howls Henry in the forum.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.