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Is the Reddit boom over, or is it just the beginning?


Following on from our article “2021’s David vs Goliath battle,” the Reddit WallStreetBets army appears to be losing steam. Last week, they appeared to target Dogecoin, Silver, and now onto Bitcoin. Following the short-squeezing pump-and-dump of GameStop, it appears the army have moved into the crypto market, which is far less regulated than the stock market. Last week’s events raised questions for regulators that may take some time to answer.

As a result, trading platforms such as Robinhood were forced to intervene by halting trade buying in stocks that were being targeted. Robinhood, E*TRADE and WeBull all blocked their users from selling any Reddit-influenced stocks. But this hasn’t stopped the Redditors, who now have another target insight – cryptocurrency and commodities.

Cryptocurrencies are the perfect target: highly volatile, light regulation, limited safeguards and no trading halts. There is, however, no such shorting mechanism with cryptocurrency, so the spectacular rise seen in GameStop is harder to replicate with only buying momentum. With a potential 330 million Reddit users, they do however command an unstoppable force that can yield substantial power.

  • Dogecoin in the firing line

    The group targeted cryptocurrency Dogecoin, sending the price up 800 per cent in just 24 hours and then rising another 150 per cent the following day. And as expected, the pump-and-dump scheme played out with Dogecoin falling back to earth, trading at 2.7c, down 65 per cent from Friday’s peak.

    And then, Silver

    The WallStreetBets crowd have their sights set on the iShares Silver Trust ETF (NYSE: SLV). Silver futures rose 8.5% above $US29 ($37.90) Sunday evening, hitting a five-month high. Silver futures are backed by the physical silver commodity, and physical delivery on the silver futures contract is an option. Because retail sites were so overwhelmed with demand for silver bars and coins, they warned customers they could not meet the skyrocketing demand. “Pretty much physical silver is almost all gone in terms of live inventory,” Tyler Wall, president and chief executive officer at SD Bullion, said. A premium over the spot price is usually added if physical; delivery is required. This premium surged to 30 per cent.

    Next in line, AMC (NYSE: AMC), Ripple & Bitcoin

    The events that have taken place appear to be positive for crypto markets, which added US$140 billion ($182 billion) to the sector’s total market cap pushing past the US$1 trillion ($1.3 trillion) mark. Whispers are that Ripple, and Bitcoin are next. Chatter among Reddit users is suggesting the two cryptocurrencies could be the next target. Ripple’s price on the XRP real-time settlement system has spiked higher, adding more than 50 per cent to the coin’s value over the last 24-hours.

    So far, so good. Reddit users have successfully targeted stocks, commodities and now cryptocurrencies to profit from manipulating demand. One thing is for sure, the platforms and gatekeepers that allow these orders through need a complete redesign to ensure market integrity. New US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is already looking into the events of 2021 to assess whether any laws were broken.

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