If we thought that 2020 was going to be the strangest year on record, we might have another thing coming as 2021 continue to surprise and impress us with its offbeat antics.
One of the most prominent stories has revolved around GameStop – a franchised, brick and mortar video game store that seemed destined for extinction as more and more of that industry goes fully digital. This alleged imminent doom had hedge fund managers on Wall Street betting bigly on the store’s failure, even going so far as to “short” stock in the company at a rate that exceeded the total number of stocks available nationwide.
Users on an infamously crude Reddit forum called Wall Street Bets noticed the situation, and realized that, if they were to begin buying up the stock, it could make it impossible for the hedge funds to cover these shorts. That would create what they call a “short squeeze”, driving the price through the roof, as the hedge funds would be forced to pay whatever price the stocks came in at.
And it’s worked. Recent investors in GameStop have been on a rollercoaster ride, as the stock moved from $8 to $480, then back into the $40’s before again shooting up into $350-territory.
Some who’ve gained big have taken pieces of the Wall Street Bets culture and conjured good deeds from even the most tertiary connections.
For instance, these retail traders have repeatedly declared that “apes together strong”, a reference to the parallels between the retail traders’ rise to power and the plot of the Planet of The Apes movie series.
After the latest bump in GameStop’s stock prize, a number of these retail investors clamored to spend their gains by “adopting” gorilla through the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund; a reference to their own referencing of Planet of The Apes.
As of this writing, the internet community had raised more than $77,000 for the fund, prompting a thankful and somewhat surprised response from the gorilla group.
2021 is going to be wild, y’all. Buckle up.
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