After experiencing a considerable decline as a result of the RobinHood trading ban, when the restrictions were allegedly removed, GameStop stock went up 75%, in that way, erasing all losses witnessed the day before. The new rally appeared to have gained force right after Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev appeared on CNBC. During the interview, Tenev said that in order to protect the firm and protect their customers they had to limit buying in those stocks. Tenev persistently denied there was any existing liquidity issue at the firm and affirmed Robinhood had tapped credit lines as a proactive measure. However, his explanation didn’t stop Redditors from angrily reacting to the restrictions on the trading of several stocks, including AMC Entertainment, BlackBerry, Express, Koss, Naked Brand, Nokia, and of course, GameStop.
The online investors took their discontentment to the streets in several locations to profess their anger surrounding discount brokerage, hedge funds, and the elites. Twitter account NYC Protest Updates reported that a small group of people was spotted outside the New York Stock Exchange, chanting “Robinhood has got to go,” and “We want a free market”.
But the popular trading app’s survival might be threatened since investors could question the company’s loyalty in preserving their portfolios and also get scared by the prospects of a potential liquidity crisis at the firm. Citadel
Needless to say, traders, market watchers, and several high-profile figures were not happy with the way the brokerage firm handled the situation. Many online investors pointed out that in spite of what the statement says, the platform has actually removed their freedoms and silenced their voices, and the decision of limiting instead of blocking stocks was merely an attempt to avoid or restrain the damages of a potential liquidity crisis since millions of fees from flow would disappear if they kept these stocks blocked. Immediately after trading was resumed, GameStop stocks spiked 20%, and Koss stocks went up 40% after hours.
In contrast, shortly after several stocks started to soar again, traders began reporting that Robinhood was selling their GameStop shares without further notice. And the widespread constraint in share trading has continued to fuel the fury of several public figures on social media. Amongst them, Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the world’s richest man Elon Musk, came together to criticize Robinhood and its peers. Cortez tweeted: “This is unacceptable. We now need to know more about @RobinhoodApp’s decision to block retail investors from purchasing stock while hedge funds are freely able to trade the stock as they see fit. As a member of the Financial Services Committee, I’d support a hearing if necessary”. Musk agreed with her take and also supported the opinion of another Twitter user who said: “Make shorting illegal”.
In retaliation to the Reddit Rebellion and the enormous backlash on social media, Robinhood added more names to its restriction list, including American Airlines – which climbed over 70% at one point in pre-market trading – Alliance Data Systems, Castor Maritime, Sundial Growers, and several others. The most recent twist happened when Interactive Brokers joined Robinhood and put option trading in some names into liquidation.
If anything, this entire market battle has clearly exposed how the markets are structured to keep benefiting the establishment and crushing the average Americans’ prospects of profiting in the financial system even when they play by the rules of the market. As this whole narrative seems far from ending, it seems that the only thing we can do is hope that regulating agencies finally find ways to reverse the outrageous restrictions on the free market. If they don’t – we might be entering very dark times, where censorship and institutionalized crimes become the new normal.