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WallStreetBets Founder on how meme stock craze began

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WallStreetBets Founder Jaime Rogozinski joins Yahoo Finance's Myles Udland and Julie Hyman to discuss the start of WallStreetBets on Reddit and how meme stocks began to soar.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: The surge in these stocks recently, particularly the meme stocks, like AMC and GameStop, it all started on the subreddit wallstreetbets. Of course, it's been around for almost 10 years, had about 2 million users but this year its influence has exploded. It now counts over 10 million users.

Wallstreetbets founder Jaime Rogozinski is with us now, we're talking with Jaime once again after we've been checking in with him regularly as this has all been going on. Jaime, it's good to talk to you again. And just to let folks know, you're no longer affiliated with wallstreetbets but certainly, you have some perspective on it as somebody who helped found it. And so with that perspective and now as we have some months between us and the initial sort of really spike in some of these meme stocks, I'm curious how you're thinking about it, what your perspective on it is, and what you think the ultimate legacy of this will be?

JAIME ROGOZINSKI: Well, first off, thanks a lot for having me. And I think that this is definitely far from over. I think that people, retail investors specifically, have realized that they do indeed have a voice in the market and that they're able to exercise their own decisions on the market itself. And the democratization of the markets is really taking effect.

I think it's incredible the fact that we're having companies using capital markets to raise capital, right? Like that's what the stock market was meant to do. Just wait until these meme stock investors realize they can vote with the shares they're purchasing.

JULIE HYMAN: Well, they realized that with Lucid in the most recent case, right? Where people, there was a little trouble getting all the retail investors to vote to approve that SPAC merger. Do you think-- there was a lot made sort of in the early days of this oh, these investors don't know what they're getting into, they're going to lose money. That kind of stuff, even though some of these stocks have come down, those anecdotes have not necessarily seemed to materialize. Why do you think that is?

JAIME ROGOZINSKI: Look, there is a paradigm shift, right? There is a lot of people that have been in the market for years or decades and have seen a lot of cycles come and go like this but this time it's a little different because of the amount of the sheer number of retail investors that are coming and staying in the market. At the end of the day, you know, the name of the game is trying to make money and these guys, girls, these people all over the country, are making these decisions based off of whatever they believe is right and they have such conviction that they're able to hold the prices up the way that they have been for almost more than half the year so far.

MYLES UDLAND: And Jaime, it's Myles here, and I'm curious what you think about the role the different platforms play in this, Robinhood gets a lot of the press but there are plenty of other trading apps where you can trade for free. You can trade in size for free, and it really makes access to markets a lot easier for investors of a smaller size who aren't paying 3.99 or sometimes multiples of that per trade. How do you think about that in this dynamic as well?

JAIME ROGOZINSKI: Well, look, I mean, Robinhood deserves all the credit that they get because they disrupted the market. They were the first that came in, I think the biggest one to this day but they pushed all these brokers that have been around for years or decades to also become more competitive and make this more accessible. As far as I'm concerned, I think the next wave is going to be when we start seeing stocks being traded on the blockchain like in the cryptocurrency world, right? If we're talking about reducing the barriers of entry into the market, crypto's already getting into tokenized stocks, to being able to purchase and then really the floodgates completely open.

BRIAN SOZZI: Jaime, speaking of Robinhood, Robinhood is set to debut at some point later in the week on public markets. Do you think the retail investor crowd is poised to really get behind this IPO and what does that mean for the stock price out of the gate?

JAIME ROGOZINSKI: I mean, we'll see what ends up happening. I think a lot of people are still a little upset with what happened with Robinhood during the GameStop saga. Although it wasn't just Robinhood that had these issues, all brokers had issues, there was Congressional hearings about it. But I think that people still have their feelings hurt. But at the end of the day, the people that are investing in it are different than the people that are using the broker. And I don't think that people have really stopped using Robinhood, I think that they deserve all the credit they've gotten for disrupting, for innovating.

And they continue to do so. They're trying to get into private investments, to continue to try to push the envelope. And they're trying to get more into crypto. And I believe that they're going to be very successful with that.

JULIE HYMAN: Hey, Jaime, I'm curious about you at this point a little bit. I know that part of the reason you moved away from wallstreetbets was because you weren't happy with some of the vitriol, some of the language, some of the alleged sort of bigotry that was being thrown around on there. Where are you sort of interacting online with this community at this point, is it another subreddit? And what are you doing in terms of trading right now?

JAIME ROGOZINSKI: You know, like wallstreetbets has now become more of an idea. Of course, the subreddit is the largest presence of it but you see wallstreetbets themed communities, whether it be TikTok, or Instagram, or Telegram, or Discord, or whatever, you know there's just a lot of variations satoshistreetbets, cryptostreetbets, indiastreetbets, China, like everyone wants to be a streetbets and so you can find little bubbles of it everywhere. And I'm involved in many of those places. Personally, I do believe that the merging of crypto with Wall Street is going to be the next big wave. So I'm trying to stay ahead of that by getting involved with that as well.

JULIE HYMAN: Yes, that's something we're watching closely also. And finally, my understanding is that you have sold your rights to the story to potentially be making something in Hollywood. Any progress on those projects, can you maybe break a little news, tell us who's going to play you in the movie, Jaime, I don't know?

JAIME ROGOZINSKI: I'm allowed to say that there's plenty of progress being done. I think we're going to be able to see some of these results probably maybe early next year, mid next year but everything's moving along quite nicely with that.

MYLES UDLAND: All right, we look forward to updates in the months ahead. Jaime Rogozinski, founder of wallstreetbets. Jaime, great to speak with you once again. Thanks for jumping on and spending some time with us.