GameStonk: The Viral Takedown of Wall Street
Meredith Backman, Staff Writer
In mid-January, a subreddit called r/wallstreetbets had taken the internet by storm. The reddit community is centered around picking certain stocks on apps, such as Robinhood, and buying shares to mess with the stock market. The idea of investing in companies that hedge funds are shorting struck a chord with individuals who hold resentment for the idea of the “Wall Street Establishment” and the elitism of investing, as well as the stock market as a whole. Users on WSB noticed that the stock price of GameStop wasn’t reflective of the company’s adequate financial standing. This meant that the stock was being shorted, being bet on to fall by hedge funds. WSB started to buy tons of stock, which became viral across social media. At the peak of the “Gamestonk” rebellion in late January, the price was almost at $500.
It was inevitable that the stock would fall eventually, and many shareholders would lose some money, but the movement was never about making money. Wall Street Bets wanted to send a message, loud and clear, to Wall Street by beating them at their own game. They wanted to display the absurdity and lack of reality of Wall Street compared to the average person. Those involved on Wall Street and financial firms are able to bend the rules and find loopholes in order to amass financial gain for themselves and others who are on the inside, and are bailed out with barely a slap on the wrist if something goes wrong. This behavior and repercussions are massively contrasted by average people, who face losing their jobs or their houses if they make a miscalculation. WSB wanted to make a statement that would cost hedge funds billions of dollars.
Through this circus, there has been pushback from those involved on Wall Street and investing apps, such as Robinhood. Some investors and traders have made their way to our TV screens to scold those involved in the movement in that “this isn’t a game” and that it is incredulous thinking to demand a “fair share” in economics. For a few days, Robinhood shut down stocks such as Gamestop and AMC, citing “turbulent market conditions” and that it was of “risk”. It is easy to see through this smokescreen at the fact that the app is in the pocket of some financial institutions that risk losing massive profits if people continue to buy shorted stock.
Today, the movement created by WallStreetBets continues to make waves in the stock market and popular media. Despite prices dropping and energy seemingly drained from the uprising, the rebellion stands for much more than putting a few extra bucks in the everyman’s wallet. “Gamestonk” proved to address major issues and shortcomings in our financial system and how it is rigged for top insiders to hoard millions of dollars. As long as there are those who wish to see the downfall of such corruption, we can go, as betters say, “to the moon.”