Gamestops degenerates just getting started

In fact, I can remember the last time I set foot in Gamestop: in 2017 I bought physical copies of Mass Effect 2 and 3. The only reason I did that is because at the time neither game was available for download on the Microsoft Store (they are now).

Gamestop’s predicament caused Wall Street investors to circle it like sharks smelling blood in the water. Hedge funds began short-selling Gamestop, which basically means they were betting against it. When you short a stock, you borrow shares and sell them at the current price. You then buy shares to replace the borrowed ones at a later date, and if the price has gone down then you profit. Of course, the risk is that you lose money if the stock price goes up, and you can lose a lot of money that way.

I joined the WallStreetBets forum on Reddit almost two years ago. But I was far from the image of the typical “bored, young Reddit trader” that has been portrayed in the media lately.

I had worked in banking, and been a retail investor for more than 15 years – in addition to teaching financial management at a Russell Group university for more than eight years.

The average profile of members was similar to mine in terms of knowledge and experience – only much younger and with much deeper pockets than me, I think. The forum had just above a million members and it was a good source of learning and information.

The users referred to themselves as “degenerates” or “retards” (an anagram for “traders”) and, when they posted their analysis of possible trading opportunities, it was known as “DD” or due diligence.

Gamestops degenerates just getting started

This was based on the knowledge that many hedge funds had bet heavily on these share prices to go down (known as “short positions”), and that driving them up would cost big investors a fortune. In the event, the damage has run to billions of dollars and some players, including Melvin Capital, Maplelane and Citron, got burned.

The WallStreetBets forum has grown exponentially.


The number of members now stands at 8.4 million and still rising, and it is almost impossible to follow the discussion or extract information from the barrage of posts. Even the founders of the forum have complained that it is a victim of its own success.

The response from the trading apps has been questionable in my opinion.
They either stopped or severely restricted buying by individual traders while allowing everyone to sell, thus suppressing demand and price.

Gamestops degenerates just getting startedge

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The forum started discussing GameStop around a year ago. But at that time it was just a trading opportunity. There wasn’t any talk of taking down hedge funds or a war with Wall Street until two months ago.
In January 2021, based on the discussion in the forum, I bought 11 shares in GameStop, in gradual steps ranging in price from US$80 to US$350 (averaging US$200) as a calculated trade based on the available information at the time.

By late January, it had become a frenzy as forum members piled into GameStop and other stocks, including BlackBerry and cinema group AMC Entertainment, using low-fee trading platforms such as Robinhood.

This was based on the knowledge that many hedge funds had bet heavily on these share prices to go down (known as “short positions”), and that driving them up would cost big investors a fortune. In the event, the damage has run to billions of dollars and some players, including Melvin Capital, Maplelane and Citron, got burned.

The WallStreetBets forum has grown exponentially.

The number of members now stands at 8.4 million and still rising, and it is almost impossible to follow the discussion or extract information from the barrage of posts. Even the founders of the forum have complained that it is a victim of its own success.

The response from the trading apps has been questionable in my opinion.
They either stopped or severely restricted buying by individual traders while allowing everyone to sell, thus suppressing demand and price.

In January 2021, based on the discussion in the forum, I bought 11 shares in GameStop, in gradual steps ranging in price from USD 80 to USD 350 (averaging USD 200) as a calculated trade based on the available information at the time.

By late January, it had become a frenzy as forum members piled into GameStop and other stocks, including BlackBerry and cinema group AMC Entertainment, using low-fee trading platforms such as Robinhood. This was based on the knowledge that many hedge funds had bet heavily on these share prices to go down (known as “short positions”), and that driving them up would cost big investors a fortune.

In the event, the damage has run to billions of dollars and some players, including Melvin Capital, Maplelane and Citron, got burned.

The WallStreetBets forum has grown exponentially.

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Traders like Gill even regularly posted the status of their portfolio, including losses.

The games begin

The forum started discussing GameStop around a year ago. But at that time it was just a trading opportunity. There wasn’t any talk of taking down hedge funds or a war with Wall Street until two months ago.
In January 2021, based on the discussion in the forum, I bought 11 shares in GameStop, in gradual steps ranging in price from US$80 to US$350 (averaging US$200) as a calculated trade based on the available information at the time.

By late January, it had become a frenzy as forum members piled into GameStop and other stocks, including BlackBerry and cinema group AMC Entertainment, using low-fee trading platforms such as Robinhood.

Courtesy of Mohammad Rajjaque, University of Sheffield

I joined the WallStreetBets forum on Reddit almost two years ago. But I was far from the image of the typical “bored, young Reddit trader” that has been portrayed in the media lately.
I had worked in banking, and been a retail investor for more than 15 years – in addition to teaching financial management at a Russell Group university for more than eight years.

The average profile of members was similar to mine in terms of knowledge and experience – only much younger and with much deeper pockets than me, I think. The forum had just above a million members and it was a good source of learning and information.

The users referred to themselves as “degenerates” or “retards” (an anagram for “traders”) and, when they posted their analysis of possible trading opportunities, it was known as “DD” or due diligence.

This was based on the knowledge that many hedge funds had bet heavily on these share prices to go down (known as “short positions”), and that driving them up would cost big investors a fortune. In the event, the damage has run to billions of dollars and some players, including Melvin Capital, Maplelane and Citron, got burned.

The WallStreetBets forum has grown exponentially.

The number of members now stands at 8.4 million and still rising, and it is almost impossible to follow the discussion or extract information from the barrage of posts. Even the founders of the forum have complained that it is a victim of its own success.

The response from the trading apps has been questionable in my opinion.

They either stopped or severely restricted buying by individual traders while allowing everyone to sell, thus suppressing demand and price.

The forum had just above a million members and it was a good source of learning and information.

The users referred to themselves as “degenerates” or “retards” (an anagram for “traders”) and, when they posted their analysis of possible trading opportunities, it was known as “DD” or due diligence. These DDs would be very detailed, just like the kind of analysis that the now famous Keith Gill – aka DeepFuckingValue – would later post on computer games retailer GameStop, which led to the 100-fold price surge that has recently taken the world by storm.

Keith Gill’s July 2020 analysis of GameStop

These DDs were scrutinized and discussed by members and any discrepancies in arguments or data were usually identified quickly.

It may also lead to significant changes in risk management and disclosure practices. For example, Citron, which specialises in taking short positions, says it will no longer put its research into the public domain.

On a more social level, this phenomenon appears to have made young people much more interested in how the financial markets work. Social media forums and commission-free trading appears to be creating a new generation of investors.

This democratisation of capital markets may be a solution to the indifference that has long existed among the ordinary population towards saving and investing – reversing a trend that has existed for more than three decades.

As for me and my 11 shares in GameStop – currently worth US$990, or about half of what I paid for them – I plan to hold them for two reasons.

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