Have you ever had a meme come true? The Simpsons became famous for predicting the future with things like Facetime, the budget crunch inherited from President Trump, the God particle, and the NSA snooping on Americans.
As the internet has grown and evolved, sites like the Onion and the Babylon Bee have become incredibly popular – presenting absurd spoof news that is just beyond the realms of possibility. Though sometimes satire becomes reality… They’ve had enough accurate predictions to warrant several videos where they run through headlines that have come true! Snopes even fell for the believability of their satire – they ran a fact check on the veracity of a 2018 Babylon Bee joke article claiming CNN had purchased an “industrial-sized washing machine to help its journalists and news anchors spin the news before publication.”Jokes and memes seem to have a habit of willing themselves into reality and this is never more true than right now in the GameStop Saga.
Infinity Pool: From Meme To Reality
The theory that the Apes have been working on since January is that the hedge funds that were short on GameStop never closed their positions. I’ve seen estimates that the short interest was upwards of 900%, but it was definitely at least 140% until the hedge funds reportedly covered, driving the price up before Robinhood et al halted trading due to volatility. But thanks to the GME report done by Gary Gensler and the SEC, we know that the massive run-up in price was caused by buyer side pressure (ie the internet jumping on the bandwagon because of some stellar memes and a whole host of boredom) and not hedge funds like Citadel closing out their position. The shareholder’s vote raised suspicions that there were more shares in circulation than should exist when 100% of the available shares voted – which is typically a clear sign that more shares exist than should since it’s almost impossible that every shareholder voted!
Therefore, as per the infinity pool theory, if you agreed to not sell a portion of your shares, then the hedge funds could never close all their positions and the price would spike up and up towards infinity as hedge funds were forced to bid any price for shares to cover their position. As Houston Wade explained to me, this could theoretically be made even crazier if the hedge funds get liquidated by the DTCC – as then it would be a computer closing these positions which would simply bid whatever it took (backed by a $63 trillion insurance policy from the Fed). Some Apes seem to truly believe that there was an infinite amount of money in the world and that soon the apes would control it all. I liked the idea, infinity was impossible but very very big numbers were not – at least in theory. This whole Saga has been a serious exercise in realism at times, attempting to decipher what was real and what was internet bullsh*t.
So for a long time, this theory kicked around as nothing more than a meme – taken seriously by some, but never fully realised as a real possibility. That was until Computer Share and DRS came on the scene.
Computer Share is the official share issuer for GameStop. I won’t bore you with all the details on how exactly this works because it is long and a number of Apes have done a great job on Superstonk and GME Jungle. The main thing you need to know is that Computershare allowed the Apes to register their shares directly and show the world how much of the float was owned by retail.
By using DRS, apes could register officially as the holder of GameStop shares, stop them from being traded in the dark pools, and ensure that they weren’t being lent out by the brokers to be sold short again. This strategy had been adopted to put a stop to the game of share rehypothecation, synthetic/phantom shorts, and to prove to the world that retail owned the float. Although the DRS system and registering with Computershare had been mentioned by a few folks early on, it didn’t exactly catch on fast. However, by late September, that had begun to change. The subreddits were practically overflowing with DRS posts (Direct Registration System) – the Apes couldn’t get enough of those holy purple circles. Like a halo that would take us all into the sky.
DRS had been mentioned by Queen Kong as one of the best ways to lay bare how many shares really exist. After the shareholder’s vote appeared to trigger nothing, this was the new way that the Apes had to fight back and soon this was all that mattered. By registering your shares with Computershare the Apes hoped to combine this new plan with one that had been floating around for quite a while – the infinity pool. Realistic or not, with the DRS campaign in full swing, it began to merge with the infinity pool DD. The Apes began to propose registering 10% to the DRS in order to trigger the squeeze. Soon after that the number began to rise for registering their entire portfolio or up to 80 or 90% with DRS. they realise that the Volkswagen short squeeze had been triggered when 87% of the float was held and secured by Porsche – so now that was the magic number. But the reason this trend caught on and the reason that the Apes had not yet surrendered was because of the ability of the community to harness the power of memes.
Harnessing A Meme
Memes can be incredibly complex at times, with the original source of the meme, the context, as well as the content itself and the language all crucial to the meaning. Both the creation and level of knowledge needed to understand some of the memes shows a serious level of dedication to the topic at hand.
Online communities also make excellent echo chambers and have a tendency to push communities further and further towards the extremes over time. As we’ve seen it’s a recipe for disaster when it comes to investing. But when you add the meme culture of the internet, it gets knocked up a few gears.
The influence of memes took a step up upon the arrival of GameStop in r/wallstreetbets. Many of the apes who hopped aboard the rocket in January were drawn in by the memes (I know I was). The meme warriors of Reddit were taking on some of the largest financial institutions in the history of the world. It is a Redditors wet dream. Once drawn in by the memes, many of the smooth brained apes read the DD and embarked upon the world’s steepest learning curve in trying to get to grip with some complex financial jargon and the inner workings of the market. Crucially though, they were drawn in by the memes, that is what sparked them to jump on the ever-growing bandwagon. As they drank in knowledge from the pools of DD generously provided by the wrinkle brained elders, they were bathed in the memes of the community. They took on the character of the crayon eating ape, the memes became their investing mantras. “Buy the dip faggot” was more than just a quote from investing legend Warren Buffet, it was a way of life. GameStop drops $30? Looks like some discount to me! GameStop trading at $40? Looks like a fire sale! I found this very idea affecting my view of investing altogether, I didn’t see price drops, I only saw the discounts.
Diamond hands were not a joke, they were a requirement. If you wanted to board the rocket to the moon, you would only be allowed if your fists nearly broke Moh’s scale. Memes held the community together and on message boards, each ape looked out for the interests of the tribe. The apes were LARPing as they were loyal to the cause, they didn’t sell at $480, they didn’t sell at $40, all whilst the memes kept them laughing. They experienced it all together, the highs and lows, and HODLed throughout. A meme is a powerful tool, and when humans begin to embody and play-act as the meme, it becomes more powerful still. A meme much like the Apes is leaderless, spontaneous, and usually–fucking hilarious.
So when the DRS DD began to meld with the infinity pool theories – I knew the hedge funds were fucked. The buy, hodl, vote meme had given us 100% of the shares voting, so there is no reason to believe that the tactic will fail this time around.
It’s been an incredible journey from start to end, watching the attitude of the Apes change and evolve. Dr Trimbath drew criticism when she appeared on my show for her suggestion that those waiting for the MOASS to cash in were inherently as bad as the hedge funds because they were only in it for the money. They wanted the wall street casino to work for them and help them get rich quick. I’d be inclined to agree with her, but I don’t think that there are many Apes still in this game after 8 months of buying, hodling and voting that are solely in this for the money.
A former mod I spoke to told me that they believe that there are three types of ape –
- those who wanted systemic change
- those who wanted to make a quick Buck
- and those who just wanted to tear everything down
I believe that at this point, we have far more it’s in the first category than either of the other two.
I think the journey we’ve all been on together, down a rabbit hole of financial fuckery has changed the tune of many, from “let’s bankrupt a hedge fund and become rich by making memes” to “the system is broken and these Crooks deserve to pay and be brought to justice”. Is it any wonder “no cell, no sell” became part of the ape vernacular? Perhaps this may have been the case in January, but the longer that Kenny dragged this out, the more Vlad cried innocent, the more corruption that was uncovered and the longer the SEC failed to act, the more Apes began to believe that justice was more important than money in this situation. They didn’t want to sell, period – the hedge funds were not going to get away with it this time. No cell, no sell.
Occupy fell apart because it became less about corruption in banking and more about identity politics. This was not about to happen to the Apes. We have glimpsed the raw corruption of the system and will not settle for anything less than bankruptcy and jail for Kenny and co. No cell, no sell. Making money was no longer the object – this was about Justice and change, the kind promised by Barack Obama until the swamp got its tendrils around him and puppet Obama took office. That’s all our politicians have become vacuous, empty, careerists with no ambitions beyond power and the desires of their donors.
No Cell, No Sell
In a back-and-forth on Twitter Dave Lauer and Charles Gasparino on Tuesday 12th October encapsulated the divide in the world of finance. It was the institutional narrative vs the rest of us, reality vs maintaining the status quo. They argued over Payment For Order Flow (PFOF), with Gasparino claiming that retail has never had it better. Perhaps that is true; low/zero commission trading apps mean it is getting easier and cheaper to buy stocks. But Lauer pointed out that this is a lie being told to protect from regulation. It’s the same scenario and effect Communist China has relied upon for decades, if you give people economic growth then they will forgive your other sins and corruption. Gasparino is arguing that we should be grateful that we are even allowed to participate in the market and we should all be happy with the rigged game we can play because it is better than not playing at all. Dave Lauer rightly pointed out the flaws in his argument, “the cost this has imposed on Pension plans and mutual funds… segmenting retail flow harms markets” and beyond. But more importantly, he said something I believe will ring true with every Ape out there –
“Something is different this time – a huge set of retail investors has become informed, understands the corruption of the system and is fighting back. That’s a force that hasn’t been reckoned with before, and one that might actually make a difference this time.”
Dave is right, no one has reckoned with this force before. No one even really knows what this force is or what it is capable of. When I told computer scientist Tim Weninger recently that I believe at least a million people were currently holding GameStop shares and were involved in the community he was stunned. Not only are they numerous but they’re obsessed and laser-focused. They are gamers, do not expect them to give up. No community alleging this level of corruption has ever remained this focused and the latest DRS development only served to solidify my belief in the Apes ability to stay focused and to harness the power of memes.
Not only are the Apes pissed, they are now well-educated and impervious to FUD. After months in the trenches, they are more battle-hardened than ever, ready to take on anything and the cause is being continually strengthened by memes (confirmation bias) and LARPing. The Apes are going to break the system brick by motherfucking brick and there is absolutely nothing that can be done about it. You can kill a person, maybe even an idea, but you cannot kill a meme.
This is based on an exerpt from my upcoming book To The Moon: The GameStop Saga. Pre-order it here now!