How a Reddit User and His Friends Helped Fuel the GameStop

graceacupuncture - 17/03/2022 - NEWS - 218 Views

['

In

', '

mid-2019,

', '

a

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Reddit

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user

', '

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known

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as

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“Roaring

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Kitty”

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on

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some

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social

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media

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accounts

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posted

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picture

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on

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an

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online

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forum

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depicting

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a

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single

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$53,000

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investment

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in

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the

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video-game

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retailer

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GameStop.

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The

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post

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attracted

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little

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attention,

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except

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from

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a

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people

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who

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mocked

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bet

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the

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struggling

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company.

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dude

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should

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sell

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now,”

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a

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Reddit

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user

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named

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cmcewen

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wrote

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at

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the

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time.

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But

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Kitty

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was

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deterred.

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the

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next

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year,

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he

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began

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tweeting

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frequently

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about

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GameStop

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and

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making

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YouTube

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and

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TikTok

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videos

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about

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his

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investment.

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He

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also

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started

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livestreaming

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his

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financial

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ideas

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Other

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Reddit

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users

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with

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monikers

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like

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Ackilles

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and

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Bowlerguy92

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began

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following

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his

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every

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move

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and

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piling

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into

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GameStop.

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“IF

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HE

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IS

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IN

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WE

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ARE

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IN💎💎💎,”

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one

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user

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wrote

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on

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a

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Reddit

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board

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called

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WallStreetBets

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on

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Tuesday.

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Roaring

', '

Kitty

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', '

who

', '

is

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Keith

', '

Gill,

', '

34,

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a

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former

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financial

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educator

', '

for

', '

an

', '

insurance

', '

firm

', '

in

', '

Massachusetts

', '

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has

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now

', '

become

', '

a

', '

central

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figure

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in

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this

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week’s

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stock

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market

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frenzy

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.

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Inspired

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by

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him

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and

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a

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small

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crew

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individual

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investors

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who

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gathered

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around

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him,

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hordes

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of

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young

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online

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traders

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took

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GameStop’s

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stock

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on

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a

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wild

', '

ride,

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pitting

', '

themselves

', '

against

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sophisticated

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hedge

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funds

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and

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upending

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Wall

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Street’s

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norms

', '

in

', '

the

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process.

', '

Their

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actions

', '

', '

pushing

', '

up

', '

GameStop’s

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price

', '

by

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buying

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so-called

', '

options

', '

contracts

', '

that

', '

offer

', '

a

', '

cheap

', '

way

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to

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bet

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on

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a

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stock’s

', '

direction

', '

', '

have

', '

shocked

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established

', '

investors

', '

because

', '

Mr.

', '

Gill

', '

and

', '

his

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online

', '

comrades

', '

are

', '

the

', '

antithesis

', '

of

', '

the

', '

Wall

', '

Street

', '

titans

', '

who

', '

have

', '

long

', '

ruled

', '

the

', '

stock

', '

market.

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Image

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A

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screenshot

', '

of

', '

Keith

', '

Gill

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from

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his

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Roaring

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Kitty’s

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YouTube

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channel.

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Credit...

', '

via

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YouTube

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Working

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far

', '

from

', '

well-heeled

', '

financial

', '

offices,

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Mr.

', '

Gill

', '

and

', '

his

', '

fans

', '

socialized

', '

on

', '

Reddit

', '

and

', '

YouTube

', '

and

', '

used

', '

no-fee

', '

online

', '

trading

', '

platforms

', '

like

', '

Robinhood

', '

and

', '

WeBull.

', '

Many

', '

were

', '

so

', '

devoted

', '

to

', '

their

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GameStop

', '

investment

', '

that

', '

they

', '

spent

', '

hours

', '

each

', '

week

', '

chatting

', '

in

', '

the

', '

comments

', '

section

', '

of

', '

Mr.

', '

Gill’s

', '

videos,

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delving

', '

into

', '

the

', '

company’s

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financial

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filings

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and

', '

arcane

', '

details

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about

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free-cash

', '

flow

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and

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video

', '

game

', '

consoles.

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Their

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show

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of

', '

force

', '

this

', '

week

', '

underlines

', '

how

', '

the

', '

financial

', '

markets

', '

have

', '

changed

', '

by

', '

merging

', '

with

', '

the

', '

world

', '

of

', '

social

', '

media

', '

and

', '

a

', '

younger

', '

generation

', '

of

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traders

', '

who

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have

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been

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empowered

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by

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online

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platforms.

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It

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has

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also

', '

made

', '

some

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in

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this

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new

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generation

', '

wildly

', '

wealthy.

', '

On

', '

Tuesday,

', '

Mr.

', '

Gill

', '

posted

', '

a

', '

picture

', '

on

', '

Reddit

', '

that

', '

showed

', '

his

', '

$53,000

', '

bet

', '

on

', '

GameStop

', '

had

', '

soared

', '

in

', '

value

', '

to

', '

$48

', '

million.

', '

(His

', '

holdings

', '

could

', '

not

', '

be

', '

independently

', '

verified.)

', '

The

', '

post

', '

was

', '

“upvoted”

', '

', '

the

', '

equivalent

', '

of

', '

being

', '

liked

', '

', '

more

', '

than

', '

140,000

', '

times

', '

by

', '

other

', '

users.

', '

GameStop,

', '

which

', '

traded

', '

at

', '

$4

', '

a

', '

year

', '

ago,

', '

closed

', '

on

', '

Friday

', '

at

', '

$325.

', '

“Your

', '

example

', '

has

', '

literally

', '

changed

', '

the

', '

lives

', '

of

', '

thousands

', '

of

', '

ordinary

', '

normal

', '

people,”

', '

a

', '

Reddit

', '

user

', '

named

', '

reality_czech

', '

wrote

', '

this

', '

week

', '

to

', '

Mr.

', '

Gill.

', '

“Seriously

', '

thank

', '

you.”

', '

Larry

', '

Tabb,

', '

the

', '

head

', '

of

', '

market

', '

structure

', '

research

', '

at

', '

Bloomberg

', '

Intelligence,

', '

said

', '

the

', '

rise

', '

of

', '

traders

', '

like

', '

Mr.

', '

Gill

', '

“would

', '

have

', '

been

', '

impossible

', '

even

', '

a

', '

few

', '

years

', '

ago”

', '

because

', '

every

', '

trade

', '

came

', '

with

', '

a

', '

fee

', '

and

', '

there

', '

was

', '

less

', '

focus

', '

on

', '

the

', '

markets

', '

on

', '

social

', '

media.

', '

But

', '

with

', '

people

', '

now

', '

stuck

', '

at

', '

home

', '

in

', '

the

', '

pandemic

', '

with

', '

easy

', '

access

', '

to

', '

free

', '

trading

', '

at

', '

online

', '

brokerages

', '

,

', '

“these

', '

guys

', '

saw

', '

an

', '

opportunity

', '

and

', '

they

', '

took

', '

it,”

', '

he

', '

said.

', '

Mr.

', '

Gill

', '

did

', '

not

', '

respond

', '

to

', '

requests

', '

for

', '

comment.

', '

His

', '

online

', '

accounts

', '

and

', '

email

', '

addresses

', '

were

', '

tied

', '

to

', '

his

', '

old

', '

office

', '

in

', '

New

', '

Hampshire

', '

and

', '

his

', '

Massachusetts

', '

home.

', '

Mr.

', '

Gill’s

', '

mother,

', '

Elaine,

', '

confirmed

', '

in

', '

a

', '

brief

', '

phone

', '

call

', '

that

', '

her

', '

son

', '

was

', '

Roaring

', '

Kitty.

', '

“I’m

', '

proud,”

', '

she

', '

said,

', '

before

', '

hanging

', '

up.

', '

Mr.

', '

Gill’s

', '

life

', '

as

', '

Roaring

', '

Kitty

', '

began

', '

in

', '

2014

', '

when

', '

he

', '

started

', '

a

', '

limited

', '

liability

', '

company

', '

with

', '

that

', '

name.

', '

Before

', '

that,

', '

he

', '

was

', '

an

', '

All

', '

American

', '

runner

', '

in

', '

college

', '

who

', '

could

', '

cover

', '

a

', '

mile

', '

in

', '

4

', '

minutes

', '

3

', '

seconds,

', '

according

', '

to

', '

local

', '

newspapers.

', '

After

', '

graduating,

', '

he

', '

worked

', '

as

', '

a

', '

chartered

', '

financial

', '

analyst

', '

and

', '

a

', '

financial

', '

wellness

', '

educator,

', '

a

', '

recently

', '

deleted

', '

LinkedIn

', '

profile

', '

showed.

', '

In

', '

August

', '

2019,

', '

he

', '

began

', '

posting

', '

on

', '

Reddit.

', '

Like

', '

many

', '

other

', '

Reddit

', '

users,

', '

he

', '

showed

', '

familiarity

', '

with

', '

memes

', '

and

', '

internet

', '

expressions

', '

like

', '

YOLO

', '

(you

', '

only

', '

live

', '

once)

', '

and

', '

exhibited

', '

a

', '

love

', '

for

', '

profanity.

', '

The

', '

middle

', '

letter

', '

of

', '

the

', '

initials

', '

of

', '

his

', '

Reddit

', '

username,

', '

DFV,

', '

refers

', '

to

', '

an

', '

expletive.

', '

On

', '

YouTube,

', '

TikTok

', '

and

', '

Twitter,

', '

he

', '

went

', '

by

', '

Roaring

', '

Kitty.

', '

Mr.

', '

Gill’s

', '

first

', '

posts

', '

on

', '

WallStreetBets

', '

showed

', '

the

', '

screenshot

', '

of

', '

his

', '

E-Trade

', '

portfolio

', '

with

', '

the

', '

options

', '

trades

', '

he

', '

had

', '

made

', '

on

', '

GameStop,

', '

all

', '

of

', '

them

', '

betting

', '

the

', '

stock

', '

would

', '

go

', '

up.

', '

In

', '

the

', '

comments,

', '

he

', '

explained

', '

that

', '

Wall

', '

Street

', '

did

', '

not

', '

appreciate

', '

how

', '

much

', '

GameStop

', '

would

', '

How a Reddit User and His Friends Helped Fuel the GameStop

benefit

', '

as

', '

new

', '

video

', '

game

', '

consoles

', '

were

', '

released.

', '

Shortly

', '

after

', '

Mr.

', '

Gill

', '

placed

', '

his

', '

trades,

', '

Michael

', '

Burry,

', '

an

', '

investor

', '

made

', '

famous

', '

by

', '

the

', '

Michael

', '

Lewis

', '

book

', '

', '

The

', '

Big

', '

Short,

', '

', '

also

', '

expressed

', '

interest

', '

in

', '

GameStop.

', '

On

', '

Reddit,

', '

Mr.

', '

Gill

', '

pointed

', '

to

', '

Mr.

', '

Burry’s

', '

post

', '

as

', '

validation.

', '

When

', '

others

', '

questioned

', '

the

', '

investment,

', '

Mr.

', '

Gill

', '

held

', '

firm.

', '

“Dude

', '

everyone

', '

thinks

', '

I’m

', '

crazy,

', '

and

', '

I

', '

think

', '

everyone

', '

else

', '

is

', '

crazy,”

', '

he

', '

responded

', '

to

', '

a

', '

commenter

', '

when

', '

GameStop

', '

announced

', '

sales

', '

had

', '

dropped

', '

30

', '

percent

', '

in

', '

late

', '

2019.

', '

Last

', '

summer,

', '

Mr.

', '

Gill

', '

started

', '

a

', '

Roaring

', '

Kitty

', '

channel

', '

on

', '

YouTube

', '

where

', '

he

', '

talked

', '

for

', '

hours

', '

about

', '

GameStop.

', '

He

', '

had

', '

418

', '

YouTube

', '

subscribers

', '

through

', '

last

', '

November,

', '

according

', '

to

', '

the

', '

web

', '

tracking

', '

firm

', '

SocialBlade.

', '

In

', '

one

', '

of

', '

his

', '

first

', '

YouTube

', '

videos,

', '

he

', '

wondered

', '

aloud,

', '

“Maybe

', '

there’s

', '

going

', '

to

', '

be

', '

no

', '

one

', '

tuning

', '

in,

', '

so

', '

this

', '

is

', '

silly.”

', '

He

', '

explained

', '

that

', '

to

', '

avoid

', '

disturbing

', '

his

', '

2-year-old

', '

daughter,

', '

he

', '

was

', '

filming

', '

in

', '

a

', '

basement

', '

room

', '

called

', '

the

', '

“Kitty

', '

Corner,”

', '

with

', '

a

', '

stuffed

', '

animal

', '

cat

', '

on

', '

the

', '

doorknob.

', '

Fast-talking

', '

and

', '

cracking

', '

jokes

', '

in

', '

between

', '

analyzing

', '

stocks,

', '

Mr.

', '

Gill

', '

sipped

', '

beer,

', '

brandished

', '

cigars

', '

and

', '

told

', '

viewers

', '

he

', '

sometimes

', '

used

', '

a

', '

Magic

', '

8-Ball

', '

to

', '

guide

', '

his

', '

investments.

', '

He

', '

often

', '

wore

', '

a

', '

baseball

', '

cap

', '

over

', '

his

', '

long

', '

hair

', '

and

', '

a

', '

T-shirt

', '

with

', '

a

', '

cat

', '

in

', '

sunglasses.

', '

The

', '

comments

', '

section

', '

of

', '

his

', '

videos

', '

soon

', '

became

', '

a

', '

gathering

', '

place

', '

for

', '

a

', '

small

', '

group

', '

of

', '

other

', '

GameStop

', '

fans.

', '

One

', '

YouTube

', '

follower,

', '

Joe

', '

Fonicello,

', '

known

', '

as

', '

Toast

', '

on

', '

Twitter,

', '

said

', '

he

', '

tuned

', '

in

', '

from

', '

an

', '

old

', '

van

', '

that

', '

he

', '

was

', '

traveling

', '

across

', '

the

', '

country

', '

in

', '

with

', '

his

', '

girlfriend.

', '

Image

', '

Mr.

', '

Gill

', '

often

', '

posted

', '

pictures

', '

of

', '

his

', '

GameStop

', '

investment.

', '

Credit...

', '

via

', '

Youtube

', '

“She

', '

thought

', '

I

', '

was

', '

crazy

', '

until

', '

she

', '

heard

', '

the

', '

thesis”

', '

for

', '

what

', '

GameStop

', '

could

', '

be

', '

worth,

', '

said

', '

Mr.

', '

Fonicello,

', '

21,

', '

who

', '

said

', '

he

', '

and

', '

his

', '

girlfriend’s

', '

investment

', '

in

', '

the

', '

stock

', '

has

', '

grown

', '

to

', '

over

', '

$250,000

', '

this

', '

week

', '

from

', '

less

', '

than

', '

$10,000

', '

originally.

', '

Mr.

', '

Fonicello

', '

said

', '

chatting

', '

with

', '

Mr.

', '

Gill

', '

and

', '

others

', '

online

', '

was

', '

not

', '

just

', '

about

', '

money.

', '

“What

', '

went

', '

from

', '

a

', '

great

', '

few

', '

hours

', '

of

', '

stock

', '

analysis

', '

turned

', '

into

', '

a

', '

few

', '

hours

', '

of

', '

just

', '

spreading

', '

positivity,”

', '

he

', '

said.

', '

Last

', '

August,

', '

Ryan

', '

Cohen,

', '

the

', '

founder

', '

of

', '

the

', '

pet

', '

food

', '

site

', '

Chewy.com,

', '

announced

', '

that

', '

he

', '

had

', '

taken

', '

a

', '

big

', '

stake

', '

in

', '

GameStop.

', '

A

', '

few

', '

weeks

', '

later,

', '

Mr.

', '

Gill’s

', '

investment

', '

hit

', '

$1

', '

million,

', '

according

', '

to

', '

pictures

', '

he

', '

posted

', '

of

', '

his

', '

portfolio.

', '

Through

', '

financial

', '

filings,

', '

Mr.

', '

Gill’s

', '

crew

', '

also

', '

discovered

', '

that

', '

hedge

', '

funds

', '

such

', '

as

', '

Point72

', '

and

', '

Citron

', '

Capital

', '

were

', '

betting

', '

that

', '

GameStop’s

', '

price

', '

would

', '

fall,

', '

in

', '

a

', '

maneuver

', '

known

', '

as

', '

short-selling.

', '

That

', '

angered

', '

them.

', '

“That’s

', '

your

', '

ignition

', '

switch.

', '

A

', '

common

', '

enemy,

', '

so

', '

to

', '

speak,”

', '

said

', '

Rod

', '

Alzmann,

', '

31,

', '

a

', '

corporate

', '

strategist

', '

in

', '

Florida

', '

who

', '

has

', '

bet

', '

on

', '

GameStop

', '

for

', '

even

', '

longer

', '

than

', '

Mr.

', '

Gill

', '

and

', '

posted

', '

online

', '

as

', '

Uberkikz11.

', '

“The

', '

speculation

', '

is

', '

a

', '

rush,

', '

plus

', '

fighting

', '

the

', '

man.”

', '

In

', '

December,

', '

Mr.

', '

Gill’s

', '

wife

', '

made

', '

a

', '

cameo

', '

on

', '

YouTube

', '

when

', '

her

', '

hand

', '

appeared

', '

on

', '

a

', '

livestream

', '

to

', '

clink

', '

glasses

', '

with

', '

him

', '

to

', '

celebrate

', '

GameStop’s

', '

stock

', '

reaching

', '

$20.

', '

Mr.

', '

Gill

', '

wore

', '

a

', '

pink

', '

party

', '

hat

', '

and

', '

sunglasses

', '

and

', '

sipped

', '

what

', '

appeared

', '

to

', '

be

', '

champagne.

', '

“I

', '

certainly

', '

do

', '

not

', '

drive

', '

a

', '

Lambo,”

', '

he

', '

said

', '

in

', '

the

', '

video,

', '

referring

', '

to

', '

a

', '

Lamborghini.

', '

“We

', '

rent

', '

this

', '

house

', '

that

', '

you

', '

see,

', '

so

', '

it’s

', '

been

', '

a

', '

wild

', '

ride

', '

for

', '

us

', '

as

', '

a

', '

family.”

', '

Earlier

', '

this

', '

month,

', '

Mr.

', '

Cohen

', '

joined

', '

GameStop’s

', '

board

', '

.

', '

That

', '

caused

', '

the

', '

company’s

', '

stock

', '

to

', '

rise,

', '

enriching

', '

Mr.

', '

Gill

', '

and

', '

others.

', '

When

', '

Mr.

', '

Gill

', '

showed

', '

another

', '

picture

', '

of

', '

his

', '

investment

', '

on

', '

Jan.

', '

13,

', '

some

', '

of

', '

the

', '

44,200

', '

people

', '

who

', '

looked

', '

at

', '

the

', '

post

', '

said

', '

his

', '

decision

', '

not

', '

to

', '

cash

', '

out

', '

even

', '

a

', '

penny

', '

of

', '

GameStop

', '

kept

', '

them

', '

going.

', '

“Daddy’s

', '

still

', '

in!”

', '

said

', '

a

', '

Reddit

', '

user

', '

named

', '

freehouse_throwaway

', '

.

', '

“Feels

', '

so

', '

good.”

', '

Late

', '

last

', '

week,

', '

190,000

', '

viewers

', '

tuned

', '

in

', '

to

', '

the

', '

Roaring

', '

Kitty

', '

YouTube

', '

channel,

', '

which

', '

now

', '

has

', '

more

', '

than

', '

74,000

', '

subscribers,

', '

as

', '

Mr.

', '

Gill,

', '

in

', '

a

', '

red

', '

bandanna

', '

and

', '

sunglasses,

', '

said

', '

he

', '

would

', '

be

', '

stepping

', '

away

', '

“for

', '

a

', '

bit.”

', '

That

', '

day,

', '

he

', '

livestreamed

', '

for

', '

seven

', '

hours

', '

while

', '

watching

', '

a

', '

chart

', '

of

', '

GameStop’s

', '

surging

', '

stock,

', '

laughing

', '

and

', '

calling

', '

out

', '

to

', '

longtime

', '

comrades

', '

in

', '

the

', '

comments.

', '

On

', '

Thursday,

', '

several

', '

online

', '

brokerages

', '

shut

', '

down

', '

trading

', '

in

', '

GameStop

', '

,

', '

causing

', '

the

', '

company’s

', '

price

', '

to

', '

plunge

', '

by

', '

almost

', '

two-thirds

', '

before

', '

steadying.

', '

Even

', '

ardent

', '

supporters

', '

wondered

', '

if

', '

Mr.

', '

Gill

', '

had

', '

finally

', '

caved

', '

and

', '

sold.

', '

Mr.

', '

Gill

', '

then

', '

posted

', '

another

', '

picture

', '

on

', '

Reddit

', '

showing

', '

he

', '

had

', '

stayed

', '

firm

', '

', '

and

', '

had

', '

lost

', '

$15

', '

million.

', '

His

', '

fans

', '

cheered.

', '

“IF

', '

HE’S

', '

STILL

', '

IN,

', '

I’M

', '

STILL

', '

IN,”

', '

over

', '

100

', '

different

', '

followers

', '

responded

', '

in

', '

quick

', '

succession.

', '

On

', '

Friday,

', '

their

', '

faith

', '

was

', '

rewarded

', '

when

', '

GameStop’s

', '

stock

', '

soared

', '

68

', '

percent.

', '

Kitty

', '

Bennett

', '

contributed

', '

research.

']