‘There’s a lot of excitement’ for retail, bitcoin, YouTube host says

YouTube Host Matt Kohrs joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the SVB crisis, news that the SEC and DOJ are investigating insider stock sales made by SVB executives, crypto, and the outlook for regional banks.

Video Transcript

BRAD SMITH: Just days before Silicon Valley Bank's collapse, executives of the company were unloading insider shares of the company in prearranged stock selling plans. The Justice Department and Securities Exchange Commission are now investigating the sales. While the probes may not lead to insider trading allegations, the approval of these stock sales, while SVB was discussing a capital raise, could have consequences. Joining us now to discuss is YouTube host Matt Kohrs. Matt, what have you made of what is public in terms of the planned stock sales versus what happened immediately thereafter?

MATT KOHRS: I appreciate being here, and happy to talk about it. It's as the old saying. Where there's smoke, there's fire. Like, yes, it could be just an amazing coincidence, almost like a Pelosi level perfect sale here. But I don't think so at all. I mean, it's one of these things where they filed the 10b5-1. Yes, we knew they were going to sell, but it was in January. And then it would be selling in February, and then a couple of days after that, when the bank runs into some very serious troubles.

I am of the opinion that out of-- and I get it. There's a huge debacle going on here. Is this the most important thing for everyone to be looking at? No, but I still am of the opinion that it should be looked at because the timing of it, it's a little bit too suspect in my mind.

JULIE HYMAN: And this, I know, feeds into a sort of a bigger narrative, right, about how retail investors' footing is compared to institutional investors or investors in the know, et cetera. So sort of maybe just another revelation of that, although it would be criminal wrongdoing, right? Don't get me wrong. It's not like this would be allowed. But I guess, Matt, what I would ask is, just generally, how are you thinking about this regional bank crisis and how retail investors are approaching it right now?

MATT KOHRS: Oh, that's a great question. There's so many things going on. So with respect to just regional banking and, like, that subset of really just the chaotic and erratic nature of the markets right now, retail, they're very, very vocal. So, yes, they were calling out the-- looking at, let's call it the alleged insider trading. But beyond that, a lot of retail over, $300 million worth of puts were set to expire in the money on Friday. But people weren't going to make money because the underlying wasn't trading.

And a lot of brokers were telling people they're not allowed to exercise it. But because of the uproar within retail, finally, they were able to cave at the last second. This all happened last week. So finally, a win, but this was very much being perceived as, once again, brokers seem to be placating, if you will, their market makers opposed toward their-- instead of their retail client.

So I think that's one aspect of it. And I would actually say that's a great win for retail. But the general mindset is, there's a lot of excitement. And I would argue what's traditionally thought to be, quote unquote, "boring." Like, we're seeing now that gold had got above 2,000. We're seeing a good push in silver. Even TLT, some long-term bonds, but maybe because it's, I'll say, the cool kid on the block, a lot of excitement right now in Bitcoin.

So I think we're almost seeing people pay attention to what's commonly thought of, like, as a store of value, or at least that's how it's pitched. But yes, also, a lot of people are talking about should we be dip buying some of these regional banks. And arguably, that's higher risk, higher reward, but there is a lot of chatter about that.

BRAD SMITH: OK, since you mentioned Bitcoin, I mean, naturally, one huge thing that I thought about even coming into today's show was perhaps what a lot of people watching Silicon Valley on HBO years ago would have probably been thinking. Anybody who has some type of interest in making sure that the dollar-- and banks, of course, do have that-- that that succeeds in the future. They're going to be betting against Bitcoin. But now that you have the wavering of confidence in those banks, you have Bitcoin now seeing this considerable move to the upside and stabilizing above 28,000. What has been the chatter, the fodder for conversation around the cryptocurrency landscape, from your perspective?

MATT KOHRS: Oh, absolutely love this. And it almost connects to the previous question, just the chat about SVB. It's one of these things where you pull on a thread, and all of a sudden, it leads to so many other things. So, yeah, we could be talking about banks, insider selling. Maybe it's mismanagement, why did they not hedge their interest rate positions, all of that. But as you get bigger here, we're starting to talk about other things of, like, OK, potential weakness of the fractional banking system. We could talk about maybe did the QE party go on for a little bit too long, maybe six months too long.

Do we even trust in the fact that we have a Fiat currency not anchored to anything and that people who are unelected having a massive impact on our financial well-being, it is a great overall monetary and economic conversation. And yes, I think Bitcoin is a common answer in it. But the fact that the average person is now asking these pretty hard hitting questions, for me, personally, I think it's amazing because a lot of this financial education is just not simply taught here in the US.

JULIE HYMAN: I mean, I guess you could argue Fiat's tethered to the full faith and credit of the United States government, which has worked well so far, by and large. But I mean, is this a debate-- is this like the Reddit-- the hot Reddit debate that's happening right now, Matt?

MATT KOHRS: I mean, it's definitely a conversation because, like, there's just so much chaotic nature in the market. But as you were alluding to of faith in the government, I mean, not long ago, we were called crazy people if we thought that $5 trillion being printed within a year would cause inflation. We were told no way is that going to happen. And then when they kind of caved and said, OK, maybe people are right, we were told that it was transitory. So in the long run, the general sense of faith in the government, well, I see what you're saying there. And arguably, we probably have bigger issues if we no longer do trust them. But in the short-term on certain matters, I mean, they've definitely had various follies.

JULIE HYMAN: Yeah, good point, and we have bigger problems if we don't trust them. But certainly, a lot of people are going into crypto right now because they are asking those questions, and we're seeing that resurgence. Matt, good to catch up with you. YouTube host Matt Kohrs giving his perspective for us today.