Main Street vs Wall Street? Redditors Take GameStop Stocks for a Ride


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Reddit users put Gamestop stocks on a rollercoaster over the past week.

Remi Urbano, Contributing Writer

Never underestimate the power of Redditors with a cause! Over the past week, a group of Reddit users in the WallStreetBets forum banded together in a bid framed as a Main Street takedown of Wall Street. But what was the objective? It was to show Wall Street the power of the people. They completed this objective by purchasing GameStop stocks to drive up their values, laughing in the face of the short position set by traders. A short position refers to a stock valued by hedge funds at a low price and declining. While all gains have since disappeared, at its peak, the GameStop stock (also called a meme stock) reached upwards of $360.00 per share up from a starting position of ~$20.00. At the peak of the frenzy, free online trading site Robinhood restricted trading on hot GameStop stocks, raising questions around fair trading. Despite most Redditors not walking away on Easy Street, many would argue they achieved their goals and successfully shook up Wall Street, hurting some deep Hedge Fund pockets along the way. 

While the idea of shaking up Wall Street is not new, organized social media outlets like Reddit combined with the growth of free online trading sites like Robinhood create a perfect storm of new opportunities to change the way the market invests. While many continue to celebrate the GameStop surge as a win for Main Street, others caution about the dangers of throwing stock valuation on its head and manipulating the market. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in a five-page letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission demands a response and deeper investigation to the events surrounding the GameStop stock surge stating “Casino-like swings in stock prices of GameStop reflect wild levels of speculation that don’t help GameStop’s workers or customers and could lead to market instability.” Warren also sent a letter to Robinhood asking for explanations as to the trading restrictions placed on Gamestop stocks declaring “Robinhood has a responsibility to treat its investors honestly and fairly and provide them with access to the market under a transparent and consistent set of rules. It is deeply troubling that the company may not be doing so.” 

Across the nation the GameStop stock reached viral levels bringing tons of newfound attention towards the stock market. “Before this whole situation, I never thought about the stock market. Now I’m interested in maybe making an investment,” says Chris Rulli, a sophomore at HHS. The positive sentiment is not universally shared, however. Many have taken an altogether different stance and expressed concern and skepticism towards the state of the market. “I love this whole thing in concept, but I do wonder what it means to the real value of a stock,” said Joe Rubino, another student at HHS. The outcome of the Gamestop stock surge may seem trivial to some since all gains are nearly lost. The significance of the event lies elsewhere though, as the event exposed systemic cracks and raises questions as to the integrity and oversight of the market and the ability of corporations like Robinhood to uphold its core values.