One of the hottest trading narratives of the last year revolves around the GameStop trading frenzy, which nearly brought Wall Street to its knees.
The dramatic tale of the tape, so to speak, is chronicled in a new book, "The Antisocial Network," written by New York Times best-selling author Ben Mezrich.
FOX Business talked with Mezrich about what's been going on behind the scenes, what it means for this small but mighty band of investors, and why Hollywood has already come knocking.
The hype around GameStop started back in January when a group of relatively unknown retail investors from the Reddit forum called WallStreetBets banded together to bet against Wall Street firms who shorted the struggling Grapevine, Texas-based video game retailer.
The trading volatility nearly upended the market in January.
Mezrich, like many others, was watching the drama from the sidelines and was curious to learn more.
"I've always been sort of interested in any stocks or, you know, little stocks that seem to skyrocket to the moon. And when this all exploded, I started getting tweets, I started getting emails, people saying, ‘This is the kind of thing you write about. You should check it out.’ And so I kind of dove in and I started calling the people who are involved. I started sort of reaching out to as many sources as I could," Mezrich told FOX Business. "I normally am writing about things that happened a year ago, and this was kind of a different experience being involved in the story. But it was just fascinating how GameStop just exploded and it was the short squeeze of the century."
One of the most surprising takeaways for Mezrich as he was writing the book in real time was just how much of the investor sentiment toward GameStop was driven by anger at the Wall Street establishment.
"It wasn't just a bunch of college kids trying to make a little bit of money on GameStop. It was really this David-versus-Goliath battle between regular people and felt like Wall Street had been screwing them over and over again and just finding a way to sort of fight back," Mezrich explained. "It was the idea that if we hold on, if we really have diamond hands, the stock will continue to go up. And it really did."
"Diamond hands," in trading slang, refers to investors who won't sell or give up on a stock or other asset.
Since January, GameStop shares have soared over 979% year-to-date on the unprecedented volatility and nearly 3,000% over the past 12 months. The shares have traded as low as $5.87 per share to as high as $483.
Chatter about investing has exploded on social media, with the "meme stock" revolution spreading to other companies, like AMC Entertainment Holdings.
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"The idea that there's this power in social media, that there's this power in a large group of people thinking and wanting to do something the same is something we're going to deal with over and over again," Mezrich said. "The stock price is no longer tethered to the fundamentals of the company. The stock price is based on the emotion of the crowd behind it."
While Mezrich believes that amateur investors' newfound power from social media has sent the stock market into new territory, he warns that new territory will open the door to increased scrutiny from regulators. However, he added that regulators and legislators are "behind the eight ball" when it comes to mastering social media and online investing platforms like Robinhood.
"There will be attempts made to regulate what happened. You don't really want millions of people losing their rent money, gambling on the stocks that they read about on Reddit. But at the same time, you do want people to have access to Wall Street," Mezrich said. "So they got to do a crash course in both the technology and in what's really happening out there."
Going forward, he expects Wall Street firms to take a more cautious approach on shorting stocks.
"I think that they're going to employ groups of people to scour these websites. You're going to have hedge funds monitoring social media or sentiment to see if everyone's diving into something," Mezrich emphasized. "We need to be careful and we need to look at that."
He also stressed that new investors need to be made aware of the "inequitable risk" between Wall Street and Main Street.
"A hedge fund can lose a billion dollars and be back to work the next day...so they take a loss, but they lick their wounds, they get back up and they keep playing, and that's something that you have to take into account," Mezrich noted. "Regular people sitting on that couch, maybe getting into the stock market for the very first time, betting the house on, you know, a YOLO trade…they are risking a heck of a lot more than a Wall Street banker is."
"YOLO," in slang, stands for "you only live once."
Ultimately, Mezrich hopes that anyone who picks up a copy of "The Antisocial Network" can have a better understanding of the stock market, why the GameStop short squeeze happened, and how they can make money off investing.
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In addition to the book, "The Antisocial Network" has been picked up by MGM Motion Picture Group Chairman Michael DeLuca for a film adaption. Mezrich said the project's screenwriters have developed a "phenomenal screenplay" and that a search for a director and actors is underway.
"It's not a simple story. There's many levels to it," Mezrich said. "But when you really dig into what happened with GameStop, I think you'll find it really is about a revolution that's going to change things going forward."