Robinhood CEO on the short squeeze that caused GameStop to skyrocket

Published on April 15, 2021

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Retail investor participation in the markets have reached new heights recently. Co-founder and CEO of Robinhood Vlad Tenev sat down with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin to discuss the rapid rise of GameStop and whether he thinks those who are causing the share price to rise fully understand what they are investing in. For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO:

Online investment platforms are seeing a surge in usage as retail investors flock into historically-unloved stocks like GameStop and BlackBerry.

Shares of GameStop started climbing wildly on Friday in an epic short squeeze. The brick-and-mortar video game retailer has gained a reputation as the most hated stock on Wall Street.

A wave of retail investors have challenged GameStop short sellers in online forums. The Reddit community r/wallstreetbees, which has 2.8 million members, is awash with users encouraging each other to pile on and keep pushing the stock higher.

They have found other favorites, including software firm BlackBerry and retail chain Bed Bath & Beyond.

The flurry of Redditors taking on Wall Street appears to have resulted in a usage boom for share trading apps that are used by mostly younger, millennial traders. U.S. investing app Robinhood, for instance, hit a record on market intelligence firm Apptopia’s app rankings on Tuesday.

Robinhood ranked No. 8 in the company’s list of top iOS apps in the U.S. overall, its highest ranking to date. It’s seen usage creep up over the past couple of weeks, with the number of daily sessions — registered when a user opens an app — rising to nearly 3.8 million on Jan. 26 from almost 3.6 million on Jan. 17.

Robinhood was ranked the No. 1 financial app on iPhones Tuesday, according to App Annie, another app data company. Another trading platform, WeBull, also rose in popularity, surging to the No. 9 spot among other finance apps.

“Like other brokerages do, we monitor volatility and we take steps as appropriate like raising the margin requirements,” Robinhood co-founder Vlad Tenev told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Wednesday.

“I do think it’s wrong to assume though that most of our activity is characterized by trading of volatile stocks.”

Meanwhile, Britain’s Freetrade said the value of buy orders for GameStop in the first two trading days of the week was already 177% higher than for all of last week. BlackBerry buys saw a 163% increase during that same period.

The start-up, which has over 300,000 users, said the number of premium accounts on its Freetrade Plus subscription brand have more than doubled since Jan. 1. GameStop and some other stocks with high levels of short interest, like Bed Bath & Beyond, are only available on Freetrade Plus.

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Did eTrade Block Gme Buys, Robinhood CEO on the short squeeze that caused GameStop to skyrocket.

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