Connect with us

Bussiness

The GameStop guy is back. But he seems to be having a midlife crisis.

Published

on

It was kind of cool that Keith Gill walked off into the sunset after the GameStop craze. Gill, who goes by Roaring Kitty on X and YouTube and by DeepFuckingValue on Reddit, was at the center of the 2021 GameStop saga. He was the leader of the retail-trader Davids facing down the Wall Street Goliaths, if that’s the storyline you buy into. After the mania subsided — and after a trip to testify before Congress — Gill, a 30-something dad from Massachusetts, fell off the map. The assumption was that he probably made a lot of money off of the whole thing, but nobody really knows. He didn’t even participate in the big Hollywood movie about him that came out last year.

Now Gill seems to be back, sort of. His Roaring Kitty account started tweeting again this week: On Sunday night it shared an image of a guy leaning forward in his chair, followed up on Monday with a bunch of video compilations of different movies. The videos have a “we’re so back” tenor, but it’s not clear what we’re back to. Does Gill have something cooking? Or is he just screwing around? It’s all pretty cryptic and doesn’t make a ton of sense. He hasn’t explicitly said he’s trading again or even really mentioned GameStop. It’s giving midlife crisis — like, if you told me Gill was getting divorced and bought a Porsche, I would not be shocked.

Whatever the case, the market is into it. GameStop’s stock has popped. It jumped by more than 70% on Monday and 60% on Tuesday, halting trading amid volatility multiple times. Short-sellers are once again hurting. Shares of AMC, GameStop’s fellow meme stock, surged by nearly 80% on Monday and 30% on Tuesday. The movie-theater chain took advantage of the rally to raise $250 million of new equity capital the same day. Both gave back some gains on Wednesday, but they’re still up quite a bit for the week.

The market casino is back open, at least for now.

The recent surge in these stocks doesn’t make any more sense than it did in 2021. GameStop’s fundamental business story hasn’t changed — it’s a struggling game retailer whose supposed turnaround has not come to fruition. The same goes for AMC: The actual business didn’t get better overnight. What’s changed is Roaring Kitty is tweeting, and not even really about a company. It’s just meme time again. While Robinhood crashed during the fervor a few years ago, it’s E-Trade that’s having issues now.

Beyond the stocks, crypto has been bouncing back lately, too. Bitcoin hit a high in March, thanks in part to the launch of a bunch of bitcoin exchange-traded funds. Crypto trading volumes on Robinhood hit $36 billion in the first quarter of the year, a 224% increase from the year prior. Even the crypto commercials are back. Crypto.com is running an ad during the NBA playoffs repeating the “fortune favors the brave” line Matt Damon was delivering on its behalf during the Super Bowl in 2022; this time around it’s showcasing UFC fighters and has Eminem doing the talking. This is all pretty familiar, though as my colleague Peter Kafka likes to point out, nobody is really pretending this crypto surge is about building anything or the coins doing anything. “Number go up” is the whole shebang.

All of this feels a little sad — like it’s trying to recapture a moment and spirit that is well in the past. In 2021, people were stuck at home with money to blow, and buying shares of GameStop was a way to channel some energy. The whole episode was exciting, novel, and fun. Now it’s just kind of like, OK, I guess we’re doing this again. Even if the “little guys taking on Wall Street” story was overblown during the 2021 rally, the newness of it and the fervor around the movement made it feel like a brief market-warping event. This latest bout of meme-stock mania has a narrower bent: young, male, nihilist. It seems like more of a rush to a hot blackjack table than any sort of groundswell. And given that shares of GameStop and AMC have started to fall, it’s already fading anyway.

Maybe this run will be different and these stocks and coins won’t completely crash again, but I wouldn’t count on it. People are out and about more, and there’s more stuff to spend on. Said stuff is also more expensive because of inflation, and stimulus checks are not on the way. If you bought GameStop or AMC shares in 2021, it might not be a bad time to consider selling some to break even. Check on that dogecoin you put in your Coinbase account a few years ago, too.

America has become a nation of gamblers — or maybe it always was, and the proliferation of sports betting and meme stocks and cryptocurrency has just made that extra obvious. Roaring Kitty is back, and people are tossing their money into the GameStop slot machine. Just remember, the house always wins.

Continue Reading