The Rise of Pseudonymous Digital Insurgencies
If you’ve been following the news at all, you’ve probably heard about the subreddit r/wallstreetbets short squeeze on hedge funds through a meme powered “pump and dump” of $GME, and it isn’t over yet.
It started on Reddit, but has gone viral.
Stock market manipulation is not a new thing. Wall Street has done this “professionally” forever and hedge funds use high frequency trading, market neutral long-short equity strategies, and massive information asymmetry to make billions and trillions.
In a world where The Wolf of Wall Street grossed almost $400 million worldwide, and the real post-prison Jordan Belfort is an influencer, is it any surprise that the Internet has become a decentralized algorithm fueled boiler room?
Now, there is a deeper conversation here. This is a generational revolution against the existing institutions. There is a young, tech-savvy generation of crypto kids that are playing a game of chicken against Wall Street. They have been trained in the last decade in “market making” on Robinhood and BitFinex - trading Bitcoin and Shitcoins To The Moon and back.
They just applied these tactics to Wall Street, and the metaphorical meaning of using GameStop as a beachhead against The Man should not be lost. Robinhood announced this morning that it is attempting to moderate the situation:
We continuously monitor the markets and make changes where necessary. In light of recent volatility, we are restricting transactions for certain securities to position closing only, including $AAL, $AMC, $BB, $BBBY, $CTRM, $EXPR, $GME, $KOSS, $NAKD, $NOK, $SNDL, $TR, and $TRVG. We also raised margin requirements for certain securities.
Robinhood, whose mission is “investing for everyone”, seems to be careful about which everyone it is serving. When friction is removed, information and access are democratized, and decentralized ledger technology advances, pseudonymous digital insurgencies are becoming increasingly powerful. It feels like a David(s) vs. Goliath(s) narrative that is only beginning.
This decade is Humanity’s opportunity to GameStop the current system and redesign the Game. As we go from Boomers to Zoomers, GameStonk is probably not the Game we’re looking for. But, it’s revealing Wall Street and other institutions to be emperors that wear no clothes.