By Decrypt

Financial analyst turned stock and meme influencer Roaring Kitty has roared back onto social media. His surprise return to Twitter in May didn’t even directly mention GameStop—the stock whose rollercoaster ride sparked global headlines and a documentary film—but nonetheless prompted the price of GME to double briefly and preceded a 1,900% surge in a Solana-based tribute coin also named GME.

What’s the connection between Roaring Kitty—whose real name is Keith Gill—the failed video game retailer, and meme coins?

Gill is no fringe character. He was the subject of the 2023 film “Dumb Money,” which told the story of the 2021 GameStop short squeeze, after his stock analysis and campaign to promote GameStop stock largely started the fire that engulfed Wall Street in 2021—and led him to testify on Capitol Hill.

After more than two years of inactivity, the @TheRoaringKitty Twitter account came back to life on May 12 with an image of a man sitting up in his seat, holding a video game controller with a look of keen interest on his face.

It was the first tweet in over 150 weeks. And it was enough to fuel another maelstrom in both crypto and traditional investing circles. Less than a week later, after posting a series of video clips, @TheRoaringKitty fell silent again. Was the revival already over?

Not yet. Two weeks later, a new cryptic Uno playing card appeared on Twitter, but a much clearer message was also published by Gill’s DeepFuckingValue account on Reddit. Titled “GME YOLO Update,” a screenshot showed a $200 million position on GME—triggering the stock to nearly double.

Less than a week later, he returned to YouTube on June 7 after nearly three years away in a hotly anticipated livestream that drew 700,000 viewers.

Who is Roaring Kitty?

Before he took the financial sector by storm as Roaring Kitty (or DeepFuckingValue on Reddit), Gill dreamed of being a track and field star and even appeared in an edition of Sports Illustrated, according to the Wall Street Journal. Gill’s first foray into creating content on YouTube was posting a 4:33 mile run, where he lost a bet to beat 4:30.

While his dreams of racing stardom failed to pan out after an injury, Gill shifted his focus to the stock market. In 2019, Gill became a director of financial wellness at life insurance company MassMutual. That same year, he joined Reddit and began posting on the WallStreetsBets subreddit.

Gill gained widespread fame for his role in the GameStop short squeeze that occurred on January 27, 2021. Under his “DeepFuckingValue” account on Reddit, he earned a following for his investment in GameStop’s stock, his advocacy for the asset on social media, and his Roaring Kitty YouTube channel.

“FYI these positions are up in March,” Gill wrote in a Reddit post in 2020. “GME has been crushing the market on a relative basis.”

The stage was set.


At the time, the gaming retailer had been struggling financially, and many institutional investors and hedge funds believed its GME stock was overvalued, taking short positions on the GameStop stock. Short positions are an investment move where investors borrow shares and sell them, hoping to buy them back at a lower price and pocketing the difference.

At the time, a share of GME stock was worth about $5.16. Before the GameStop surge started, its share price was way down from its prior all-time high.

Users on the r/WallStreetBets subreddit, including Gill, noticed the rising number of short positions being placed on GME, sensing an opportunity to trigger a short squeeze. A “short squeeze” is when the price of an asset rises sharply, prompting traders who had bet on its price falling or “shorting” to liquidate or sell their positions.

While not single-handedly behind the GameStop short squeeze, Gill was a prominent figure in the conversation, having previously gone against the grain and deeming GameStop undervalued.

“People talk up the demise of GameStop, yet here they are about to generate over $2 billion in [revenue] in a single quarter at the tail end of a console cycle,” Gill, writing as DeepFuckingValue, wrote on Reddit. “The ‘shift to digital’ thesis is way overblown. This business model has legs, and the new consoles will be a major tailwind.”

As the price of GME rose, several firms that had bet against GameStop were forced to close their positions, including Melvin Capital, which lost nearly $3 billion for its GameStop shorting. SkyBridge Capital CEO Anthony Scaramucci compared the GameStop short squeeze to the French Revolution.

On January 28, the day after the GameStop short squeeze took place, Robinhood—the platform of choice for the legion of retail investors—was hit with two lawsuits after the trading platform blocked customers from purchasing more GameStop stock during its historic one-day run.

At the time Robinhood blocked the purchase of GameStop, the stock had already reached $492—but soon fell to $193.

The Aftermath

On February 18, 2021, Gill was called to testify before the U.S. Congress House Committee on Financial Services. Joining him at the hearing were the CEOs of Robinhood and multinational hedge fund Citadel.

“It is true that my investment in that company multiplied in value many times. For that, I feel enormously fortunate.” Gill said during the virtual hearing. “I also believe the current price of the shares demonstrates that I’ve been right about the company.”

Dispelling any notion that he was a cat, Gill also told the members of Congress that he is also not an institutional investor or a hedge fund.

“I do not have clients, and I do not provide personalized investment advice for fees or commissions,” he said. “I’m just an individual whose investment in GameStop, and posts on social media are based upon my own research and analysis.”

Gill called the idea that he could use social media to promote GameStop stock and influence the market preposterous.

“My post did not cause the movement of billions of dollars into Gamestop shares,” Gill said. “It is tragic that some people lost money and my heart goes out to them. But what happened in January just demonstrates again that investing in public securities is extremely risky.”

Gill’s last Reddit post is dated April 16, 2021. He quietly left social media on June 18, 2021, after posting a video of sleeping cats on Twitter.

It would be another 151 weeks before Roaring Kitty returned.

After the frenzy around the GameStop short squeeze fizzled out, the stock’s price returned to earth. Currently, it is trading at $36.90.

GameStop did try to capitalize on the renewed interest in its business, even going so far as to make a push into cryptocurrency and NFTs. But the company’s crypto aspirations were short-lived as the firm shut down its NFT wallet in August 2023 citing regulatory uncertainty, and its NFT marketplace in January of this year.

The GameStop short squeeze and Roaring Kitty’s part in the chaos were the focus of both a documentary and a feature film. In September 2022, Netflix launched the streaming mini-series “Eat the Rich: The GameStop Saga,” which was followed in 2023 by the feature-length film “Dumb Money” starring Paul Dano as Roaring Kitty and Pete Davidson as Gill’s brother Kevin.

The Return

News of Roaring Kitty’s return inspired social media influencers like Andrew Tate dumping Bitcoin to invest their money in GameStop stock and meme coins. For his part, Tate said he would sell $500,000 in Bitcoin to invest in the latest GameStop short squeeze.

“I’m taking Wall Street down, watch me,” Tate said. “Fuck ‘em. Fuck ‘em all.”

“Hey bro, what we buying?” Crypto Influencer Ansem asked in response to a Roaring Kitty tweet.

Even Barstool Sports founder David Portnoy was also ready to jump in.

“You wanna get nuts [Roaring Kitty] let’s get nuts!” Portnoy wrote on Twitter. “Every time I think I’m out they pull me back in!” he said, quoting a line from the Godfather Part III.

It was unclear why Gill chose May 12 to return to Twitter—or if he truly had returned. His Reddit and YouTube accounts were still fallow while the series of video clips riled up Crypto Twitter. He did not respond to a request for comment from Decrypt.

But his apparent reemergence clearly riled up the GameStop gang, inspired a flood of meme coins on Solana, and stirred the broader meme coin market, which 5.4% for the day with several meme coins, including Dogecoin, Shibu Inu, and Pepe, up 5.7%, 5.0%, and 15.4%, respectively. That likely explained a nearly 8% intraday surge in the price of Solana, which rose from $138.16 to $149.99 on Monday.

After nearly a week of cryptic video posts, the tone became increasingly dark, then stopped altogether. It seemed the brief thrill ride was over.

Two weeks later, however, there was a new tweet—and more significantly, a new post on Gill’s DeepFuckingValue account on Reddit, which hadn’t been active since April 2021. Unlike the mysterious video clips on Twitter, the first Reddit post from the account in three years was strikingly clear: Gill, or at least someone controlling his social media accounts, was claiming to hold a $200 million whale position on GME. GameStop stock, unsurprisingly, more than doubled on the news.

The stage was set for Gill’s return to YouTube, where it had been nearly four years since his last broadcast. Eagle-eyed fans were watching, and after a tiny update was spotted on June 6—accompanied by another rise in the price of GME—a livestream was publicly scheduled for the next day. GameStop stock closed the trading day up nearly 50%.

In the hours preceding the broadcast, GameStop and Gill fans wondered whether GME would rise high enough to boost the value of Roaring Kitty’s stock options to $1 billion. Instead, GameStop released its quarterly earnings report four days early, disappointing investors with a 29% drop in sales over the same quarter in 2023, prompting a 30% drop in the price of GME.

Gill nonetheless revealed himself live on YouTube, a little later than scheduled on June 7, joking that “I kind of forget how to do this.”

After a litany of disclaimers, Gill cautioned viewers to do research on GameStop and its transition from brick-and-mortar video game sales. While acknowledging he should probably have a lawyer present, he expressed confidence in the firm’s current leadership. He also responded to the early GameStop earnings report and the subsequent drop in stock price.

“It is what it is. What am I going to do?” he said. “You post a couple memes, you post a couple of screenshots, and everyone loses their mind.”

This latest chapter of the Roaring Kitty saga will run at least through June 21, when the massive collection of $20 call options for GME expire—basically, a bet that GME will be worth more than $20 on that date.

Edited by Ryan Ozawa. This article was originally published May 14, 2024. It was updated on June 7, 2024 with new information from Gill’s YouTube broadcast.

Daily Debrief Newsletter

Start every day with the top news stories right now, plus original features, a podcast, videos and more.

Source: Decrypt