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Matt Levine

Maybe the Memes Are Over

Also Netflix NFTs, Robinhood IPO Access, crypto network instability, the LeBron James of pump-and-dumps and MicroStrategy Bitcoin accounting.

This week is the one-year anniversary of the GameStop thing. From Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, through Friday, Jan. 29, 2021, GameStop Corp.’s stock traded as low as $61.13 per share and as high as $483; it ended the week at $197.44, up 204% from the previous week’s close. Trading in the stock was halted for volatility 37 times during that week, plus Robinhood Markets Inc. and some other brokers briefly restricted customers from buying it due to clearinghouse margin troubles. By mid-February there were at least seven movies and television shows about GameStop in the works. Everyone’s brain broke that week and stayed broken. More meme stocks followed. Elon Musk made Dogecoin into a meme. Donald Trump did a meme stock. Everything was like this. It was the year of the meme stock. That is, 2021 was the year of the meme stock. “I will see you back here in 2022,” I wrote, in my last column of 2021, “when everything will be absolutely normal.”

I don’t want to say that that was right — honestly I was kidding — but I do feel a little bit like people are celebrating the anniversary of the meme stock boom by declaring that it’s over? For instance, here is a Wall Street Journal article about WallStreetBets, the Reddit forum that ignited the GameStop boom and became the center of the meme-stock world for a while: