The anarchic traders of Reddit stunned stock-markets this week, boosting the share price of struggling retailer GameStop by some 400 per cent.
It’s the latest stunt from WallStreetBets – an infamous Reddit page for novice millennial traders (which was featured in The Spectator last February).
But who are the Redditors behind the great Wall Street coup? Here’s what we know:
The initial interest in GameStop has been credited to YouTuber and Redditor ‘RoaringKitty’ who has been plugging the stock as a value buy since September 2019, just after its shares slumped to an all-time low of $3.32.
Having purportedly made 50 per cent on his initial investment of $50,000, RoaringKitty made another video – in August 2020 – speculating that the stock could go as high as $50. Wall Street analysts, who continued to short the stock, evidently disagreed.
Of course, it was RoaringKitty who had the last laugh, posting a celebratory video in which he dipped chicken tenders (one of many forum in-jokes) in champagne. The stock had rocketed to more than $300, with RoaringKitty’s investment (which he’d presumably topped up) apparently worth more than $40m.
In the wake of his windfall, RoaringKitty, who posts on Reddit as DeepF***ingValue, has since been identified by the media as Keith Patrick Gill, a 34-year-old from Massachusetts who, until recently, worked as a financial adviser.
Quite wisely, Gill has shunned requests for comment. Although experts say that, provided he hasn’t deceived his followers into buying the stock, he probably hasn’t broken any laws. Though he could be in line for one hell of a tax bill.
If there’s one person who is responsible for the outbreak of hyber-bullish millennial investors, it’s probably 43-year-old Dave Portnoy. The internet entrepreneur has become famous online for his optimistic approach to trading, embodied in his tongue-in-cheek catchphrase ‘stocks can only go up’.
It’s an approach Portnoy put to the test when he decided to choose his next investment by picking random Scrabble tiles out of a bag – getting ‘RTX’.