By Tefo Mohapi
The interest around r/wallstreetbets on Reddit and the counter short squeeze on GameStop the community is making go viral continues. The subreddit has now grown to over 6 million members and continues to add thousands of members by the hour.
That moment in history will go down as a time when a stock, GameStop, stopped being just a stock, but a MEME that went viral.
This is proving true and extending to other stocks and cryptocurrencies too.
The English dictionary defines a meme as:
"a cultural item that is transmitted by repetition, replication, and imitation in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes."
...and this is exactly what we are observing since GameStop went viral. Many people have jumped on the bandwagon of buying GameStop shares purely by imitation without understanding the underlying fundamentals of why the trade made sense in the first place. Exactly like a meme (photo, video), some don't even care about the history of the trade but just the immediate gratification it provides either through laughing at the hedge funds or making a quick buck.
This has also transferred to cryptocurrencies whereby because Elon Musk added #Bitcoin to his Twitter bio, many people are buying it. The same applies to when he tweeted a photo of what looked like a magazine cover titled "DOGUE" with a dog on the cover - many people took this to mean that he is encouraging buying the DOGE coin cryptocurrency.
Other stocks like AMC and American Airlines and many others have been affected by this too as, like a meme, they simply went viral.
On one hand, you could view this as disturbing and that people could lose their money as they make decisions based on how viral something is. On the other hand, you have to ask the question - what gives something value?
The answer you'll likely reach is that we, humans, through consensus, give a thing value. Whether it be money (Rands, Naira, Kenyan Shillings), stocks, cryptocurrency, or anything for that matter.
It is ultimately we that give a thing value. So if we say a meme is worth $1,000, then the meme is worth $1,000.