We have all heard the news. Whether you work in the financial industry or not, you probably know about the recent events that turned heads across countries, industries, and age groups.
"A group of Redditors trolled Wall Street which eventually led to people losing billions" is one example of clickbait news headlines popping up on the internet.
The mentioned group of Redditors comprises the members of an infamous subreddit called WallStreetBets. For those into equities trading, this name may be familiar. It is probably the largest online group of people discussing trading ideas, mostly lacking any financial background or knowledge of fundamentals and risk management. While there may be WSB users who deeply understand the markets, the vast majority consists of people having a common attitude toward investing: all-in to make it or break it. WallStreetBets is so big that it is among the largest Reddit groups across interests.
Instead of a boring analysis of how and what happened here, I will try to provide a different perspective on how these past couple of days created a vast demand for financial education for the average Joe, a demand we knew existed back when we founded Echofin.
WallStreetBets (I will refer to it as WSB going forward) had about a million users in the Reddit group. Not all of them were active traders, but regulars discussing in various rooms on their Discord team. Upon joining, you'd see hundreds of different chatrooms, from trading-related to online games. Imagine independent mini-communities inside a community. Now imagine an additional 6 million people with access to "a group of Redditors who pick stocks and skyrocket them." Absolute mayhem. People blindly rode whatever trends they saw on social media, Reddit, Twitter, each one screaming out their own picks, trying to be as loud as possible to sway the herd in their direction.
As soon as the WSB Discord group went down, clones popped up on Discord and Telegram. Joining the voice chat would be a one-of-a-kind scary experience. Thousands of voices shouted with no focus, no direction, and no coherence. Some described this as a virtual trading floor. Having been to an actual trading floor, it reminded me nothing of it. Try to imagine what it must have sounded like in the streets when the people led Louis XVI to the guillotine during the French Revolution. That's what it is for the small trader Joe, a revolution of the little guys against Hedge Funds.
Suddenly, a huge wave of trading newbies, who had never had any interest in investing before, joined the WSB subreddit in two days. A lot more joined various clones of the WSB.
I recall when we pitched VCs for our pre-seed round we were asked what the Addressable Market was; since Echofin aspired to become the dedicated communications platform for retail traders. The question is valid. There are estimates on how many retail traders there are. However, we were always confident that the estimates meant nothing, as any person with an internet connection and some savings could become a retail trader overnight. Investors - mostly west coast Venture Capitalists - were skeptical of the market size.
Over the past couple of days, we’ve had the chance to chat with hundreds of users on our platform who never invested in anything in the past, but felt that this gold rush would be a great opportunity to start exploring their financial freedom through investments. But financial education is indispensable for financial freedom. The most common statement of people who land on Echofin searching for a community to join is "I am new to this, I want to start learning". The demand is there. The time is now.
What Discord and Telegram fail to deliver is the supply side of the equation.
Echofin is the only valid supply-side solution. Unlike the IRC-like chat platforms, the workspace is designed to maximize communication efficiency, enhancing dialogue over the hubbub, incorporating tools like charts, price feeds, and others directly into the layout. Through the meetings and webinar solution, financial educators can host their courses and by utilizing the integrated billing and subscription automation management, they can create virtual classrooms to educate this new wave of trading newbies.
To further assist on the supply-side, Echofin is the only communication platform to provide branding features to community owners, as well as a complete CRM with business analytics. We focus on providing the tools to groups of people to build and grow thriving communities. We allow them to be proud of their brand and provide an enterprise-level experience to them and their members.
The WSB hype will subside soon. However, we are as confident as when we founded Echofin that a new, larger wave of traders will get the appropriate level of support and education to make wiser decisions based on knowledge and facts rather than invest their life savings based on what a guy in a Telegram group told them.
CEO / CoFounder Echofin Inc.