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Who is Roaring Kitty, and why meme coins surge after his return?

who-is-roaring-kitty-and-why-meme-coins-surge-after-his-return
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Who is Roaring Kitty, and why meme coins surge after his return?

The return of Roaring Kitty after three years of silence has excited the crypto community and the meme coin market. What is known about the trader from Massachusetts?

In May, the meme coin market and video game retailer GameStop shares experienced a new wave of growth after the return of Roaring Kitty, the trader behind GameStop’s 2021 stock pump. Who is this “kitty”, and how did he become an example for traders who want to challenge Wall Street?

A kitty that believed in GameStop

In mid-2019, Reddit user Keith Gill, a former financial planner for an insurance firm in Massachusetts known as Roaring Kitty, shared a single $53,000 investment in GameStop. The post attracted little attention except for a few people who ridiculed the bet on the struggling company. But that didn’t stop him.

Throughout the year, he actively discussed GameStop on Twitter and revealed details of his investments on YouTube and TikTok. He also began broadcasting his financial ideas, which Reddit users began to follow.

A GameStop short squeeze

Keith Gill, or Roaring Kitty, became widely known for his role in the GameStop stock price surge in January 2021. This event is otherwise called a short squeeze.

The young analyst actively promoted the idea that GameStop shares were severely undervalued. At that moment, the pandemic was raging across the world. Consumer spending had fallen, and investors had more money in their hands due to historically low rates. Some were angry at the Wall Street hedge funds and were happy to spite them.

Inspired by Gill, online traders took on GameStop shares, driving up prices by buying so-called options contracts that offer a cheap way to bet on the stock’s price.

Working away from wealthy financial offices, Gill and his associates communicated on Reddit and YouTube and used free online trading platforms. Many traders were so dedicated to their GameStop investments that they spent hours chatting under Gill’s videos, poring over the company’s financial documents and cryptic details about cash flow and game consoles.

The rise of GameStop

Before all these events, GameStop could have done better. Many institutional investors and hedge funds considered GME stock to be overvalued. Therefore, they often took short positions, betting on the fall of the company’s shares.

One share of GME was worth approximately $4.56 on Jan. 4, 2021. However, on Jan. 27, the price reached a maximum of $347.51 per share, according to the TradingView data.

Who is Roaring Kitty, and why meme coins surge after his return? - 1
Source: TradingView

This jump was due to users of the r/WallStreetBets subreddit, including Keith Gill. Noticing an increase in the number of short positions in GME, they decided to create a short squeeze, fueling interest in GameStop.

Because of the short squeeze, the number of views on r/WallStreetBets jumped to 73 million in just 24 hours. Meanwhile, the subreddit community grew from one and a half million users to six.

And so, when the price of GME broke through the high, hedge funds with short positions in GameStop began panic-buying shares at whatever price they could to cover their losses.

In response to all these events, stock trading platform Robinhood temporarily restricted purchases of GameStop shares on Jan. 28, 2021. At that time, the price of GME reached $492 but soon fell to $193.

“We continuously monitor the markets and make changes where necessary. In light of recent volatility, we restricted transactions for certain securities to position closing only.”

Robinhood statement

The 2021 crackdown on meme stocks has led to congressional hearings, including Gill’s testimony, on brokerage practices and the gamification of retail stock trading. Gill also faced several class-action lawsuits, including one alleging that he pretended to be an aspiring trader even though he was a licensed professional.

Return of Roaring Kitty

A few years later, in May 2024, Roaring Kitty returned to social networks. For the first time in three years, he published a drawing of a man sitting in a chair playing a video game. Within 24 hours, the message received more than 24 million views.

Community members took Roaring Kitty’s return to social media as a sign. Hoping something big was coming, they bought GameStop shares and pumped up meme coins. 

Market reaction

GameStop’s share price skyrocketed by 75%, immediately reaching $53 on the news. Additionally, one of the most popular meme coins, Pepe (PEPE), hit an all-time high, and the market capitalization of the entire meme coin sector increased by more than 6%.