Explained: The WallStreetBets movement for financial democracy

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Explained: The WallStreetBets movement for financial democrac

The WallStreetBets Dapp and the $WSB token represent the ethos of the Wallstreetbets movement. Here, founders BTCVIX and Jaime Rogozinski explain the vision driving the project.


The r/wallstreetbets subreddit became notorious for its community of young traders focused on risky trading strategies. WSB played a key role in the GameStop short squeeze that caused losses on short positions in U.S. firms topping US$70 billion in early 2021.

Following the GameStop saga, crypto trader BTCVIX created the new WSBDapp with Jaime Rogozinski, the original founder of the r/wallstreetbets subreddit, onboard as an adviser. The goal of the WSBDApp is to decentralize traditional finance by creating Exchange Traded Portfolios (similar to an ETF) on the blockchain. The WSBDApp community vote through a DAO to decide on ETP rebalancing and other ecosystem decisions. Brave New Coin spoke with VIX and Rogozinski.

BNC: Jaime, let’s start with you, what’s your background and why did you first start the r/wallstreetbets subreddit?

Jaime: My background is technology and finance. I’ve always been an active participant and observer of the changes that are taking place in the world of finance, and the demographics of groups of people that are involved. I founded the r/wallstreetbets community around 2012. At the time I had a good job with a decent disposable income. So I was willing to take on more risk.

I knew about the stock market but when it came to implementing some of the trades I was thinking about, I couldn’t find any place online where I could meet other people with similar ideas, and willing to share knowledge. Most of the communities were either really conservative or they’re just pushing diversification and index funds and things of that nature. And so that’s why I created r/wallstreetbets. There was clearly a lot of demand for this type of community because it started growing organically and doubling every year in size.

BNC: VIX, what’s your background?

VIX: Well, I definitely call myself a degenerate gambler. In all seriousness, I think I was one of the first people to be banned from r/wallstreetbets for talking about crypto in the early days. So to now come full circle back to this movement is quite exciting. I got involved in crypto in 2013. From 2015 I became known for running some of the largest Telegram groups in the space.

BNC: What’s the background to the WSB DApp and how did you both end up working together?

VIX: I think the context is important. Even before the 2008 financial crisis, there was this discontent building amongst millennials who sensed they were getting the short end of the stick. So that led to the rise of Occupy Wall Street. The question is, how do you fight back? You can protest. You can use your vote. And now, you can use technological tools. And that is what happened with GameStop, it was just a moment in the zeitgeist where average people on reddit saw an opportunity to stick it to the bankers and that narrative or meme caught fire.

So then the question is, where to next? And for me, the answer is crypto and DeFi as a way to engage with a new system on a new playing field. What if we can give these so-called degen traders an opportunity to say what they want to invest in, what the balancing should be, and create a decentralized ETP that respects the will of the community. So that’s what we are doing.

The WallStreetBets Dapp and the $WSB token represent the ethos of the Wallstreetbets movement. Here, founders BTCVIX and Jaime Rogozinski explain the vision driving the project.The r/wallstreetbets subreddit became notorious for its community of young traders focused on risky trading strategies. WSB played a key role in the GameStop short squeeze that caused losses on short positions in U.S. firms topping US$70 billion in early 2021.Following the GameStop saga, crypto trader BTCVIX created the new WSBDapp with Jaime Rogozinski, the original founder of the r/wallstreetbets subreddit, onboard as an adviser. The goal of the WSBDApp is to decentralize traditional finance by creating Exchange Traded Portfolios (similar to an ETF) on the blockchain. The WSBDApp community vote through a DAO to decide on ETP rebalancing and other ecosystem decisions. Brave New Coin spoke with VIX and Rogozinski.BNC: Jaime, let’s start with you, what’s your background and why did you first start the r/wallstreetbets subreddit?Jaime: My background is technology and finance. I’ve always been an active participant and observer of the changes that are taking place in the world of finance, and the demographics of groups of people that are involved. I founded the r/wallstreetbets community around 2012. At the time I had a good job with a decent disposable income. So I was willing to take on more risk.I knew about the stock market but when it came to implementing some of the trades I was thinking about, I couldn’t find any place online where I could meet other people with similar ideas, and willing to share knowledge. Most of the communities were either really conservative or they’re just pushing diversification and index funds and things of that nature. And so that’s why I created r/wallstreetbets. There was clearly a lot of demand for this type of community because it started growing organically and doubling every year in size.BNC: VIX, what’s your background?VIX: Well, I definitely call myself a degenerate gambler. In all seriousness, I think I was one of the first people to be banned from r/wallstreetbets for talking about crypto in the early days. So to now come full circle back to this movement is quite exciting. I got involved in crypto in 2013. From 2015 I became known for running some of the largest Telegram groups in the space.BNC: What’s the background to the WSB DApp and how did you both end up working together?VIX: I think the context is important. Even before the 2008 financial crisis, there was this discontent building amongst millennials who sensed they were getting the short end of the stick. So that led to the rise of Occupy Wall Street. The question is, how do you fight back? You can protest. You can use your vote. And now, you can use technological tools. And that is what happened with GameStop, it was just a moment in the zeitgeist where average people on reddit saw an opportunity to stick it to the bankers and that narrative or meme caught fire.So then the question is, where to next? And for me, the answer is crypto and DeFi as a way to engage with a new system on a new playing field. What if we can give these so-called degen traders an opportunity to say what they want to invest in, what the balancing should be, and create a decentralized ETP that respects the will of the community. So that’s what we are doing.

The WallStreetBets Dapp and the $WSB token represent the ethos of the Wallstreetbets movement. Here, founders BTCVIX and Jaime Rogozinski explain the vision driving the project.The r/wallstreetbets subreddit became notorious for its community of young traders focused on risky trading strategies. WSB played a key role in the GameStop short squeeze that caused losses on short positions in U.S. firms topping US$70 billion in early 2021.Following the GameStop saga, crypto trader BTCVIX created the new WSBDapp with Jaime Rogozinski, the original founder of the r/wallstreetbets subreddit, onboard as an adviser. The goal of the WSBDApp is to decentralize traditional finance by creating Exchange Traded Portfolios (similar to an ETF) on the blockchain. The WSBDApp community vote through a DAO to decide on ETP rebalancing and other ecosystem decisions. Brave New Coin spoke with VIX and Rogozinski.BNC: Jaime, let’s start with you, what’s your background and why did you first start the r/wallstreetbets subreddit?Jaime: My background is technology and finance. I’ve always been an active participant and observer of the changes that are taking place in the world of finance, and the demographics of groups of people that are involved. I founded the r/wallstreetbets community around 2012. At the time I had a good job with a decent disposable income. So I was willing to take on more risk.I knew about the stock market but when it came to implementing some of the trades I was thinking about, I couldn’t find any place online where I could meet other people with similar ideas, and willing to share knowledge. Most of the communities were either really conservative or they’re just pushing diversification and index funds and things of that nature. And so that’s why I created r/wallstreetbets. There was clearly a lot of demand for this type of community because it started growing organically and doubling every year in size.BNC: VIX, what’s your background?VIX: Well, I definitely call myself a degenerate gambler. In all seriousness, I think I was one of the first people to be banned from r/wallstreetbets for talking about crypto in the early days. So to now come full circle back to this movement is quite exciting. I got involved in crypto in 2013. From 2015 I became known for running some of the largest Telegram groups in the space.BNC: What’s the background to the WSB DApp and how did you both end up working together?VIX: I think the context is important. Even before the 2008 financial crisis, there was this discontent building amongst millennials who sensed they were getting the short end of the stick. So that led to the rise of Occupy Wall Street. The question is, how do you fight back? You can protest. You can use your vote. And now, you can use technological tools. And that is what happened with GameStop, it was just a moment in the zeitgeist where average people on reddit saw an opportunity to stick it to the bankers and that narrative or meme caught fire.So then the question is, where to next? And for me, the answer is crypto and DeFi as a way to engage with a new system on a new playing field. What if we can give these so-called degen traders an opportunity to say what they want to invest in, what the balancing should be, and create a decentralized ETP that respects the will of the community. So that’s what we are doing

Jamie: If I can add something to this, I agree that the 2008 GFC sparked something in the collective unconscious. That’s also when the crypto movement started. It’s not about taking down the central banks, I don’t think that that will ever happen. For me the message is ‘hey, we the people can have a voice, we can participate in the global economy’. It should be possible for a guy in India or Mexico to buy Tesla stock. Why shouldn’t they?At the same time if an American citizen wants to buy Korean or Japanese stocks, why can’t they? Can we increase transparency? Can we increase the number of participants? The price of a stock is much more valuable and accurate when you get that price information from 10 million or a hundred million people. So that is the natural evolution of where we are going.BNC: So the Wallstreetbets Dapp is community owned and operated, and decentralized. How does it work?VIX: One way of understanding it is that we want to make index indexing a democratic process. Think of how powerful indexes are in traditional Wall Street, whether it be the S & P 500, the Dow Jones, and so on. So these are all decided upon by centralized entities such as BlackRock, and Dow Jones. A very small number of people once a quarter, get into a room and make their determinations. So what we’re looking at doing is trying to establish an industry standard that’s run by the WallStreetBets crowd, and it can be further expanded from there. Thing is, these aren’t like your grandpa’s indexes. These are a little bit more creative. They get a little bit more wild. It’s kind of the concept of, we can either get a Lambo together or get wrecked together.Now, people can determine whether they’re going to go and buy these specific ETP products, but it’s ultimately the community that determines the composition of the constituents. From a technical perspective it’s only been very recently that we’ve started to see some of these synthetic stocks pop up. Balancer is allowing some of the pools to be used for this. They didn’t initially envision this concept, but it’s become an organic phenomenon where now you’re able to basically take these constituents and put them in a basket and into your own ETP, or balanced index in terms of what the community has voted on.So like I was saying, our flagship product would be the WSB Yolo stocks ETP, and this is a benchmark that tracks the sentiment and the more popular stocks that the WSB community likes. We’re looking at doing anywhere from four to eight ETPs in the next one to two years depending on the demand from the community.Think about the value that collective intelligence has. For decades, we’ve seen collective intelligence be great. We saw it with Wikipedia. We’ve seen it with open source projects. Group intelligence, if leveraged properly, can be really, really powerful.BNC: And so people can access these ETPs via Metamask and the WSB Dapp, and the ecosystem is based on the Binance Smart Chain?VIX: That’s right. However, from a legal standpoint, the reason why we are using ETP (exchange traded portfolio) over ETF is there is no pooling of funds. The funds are fully segregated which is very important legally, so I want to clearly state that.The reason we decided to go with the Binance Smart Chain and the BNB protocol is simple. The Ethereum gas fees have become cost prohibitive for the average retail investor who is getting priced out of that market. So right now BSC makes sense. Some of the things we want to do will involve the tokenized stocks on the Binance chain. The guys at FTX are doing something similar with tokenized stocks as well.So, you know, this has been something that’s been developing. I think what’s really interesting is over time in DeFi, this may eventually become the primary marketplace for these tokenized stocks and companies, rather than going to Wall Street to raise money or do it that way. Really though, it all comes down to what the WSB Dapp community wants.Anyone in the DeFi community would say that this is indeed where we are heading. Tell us more about the community side of things?Jaime: One of the things that I’ve learned through starting r/wallstreetbets is that the power of the community is strong. The ability to draw powerful ideas from the collective is real, that’s when things really start flourishing. So I never pretend to take credit for anything. It’s about the community. There’s so many opportunities and I can’t pretend to know what those are going to be, but I know that they’re there and having that in the hands of this intelligent collective is the most powerful part of it all.For example, there are a lot of people that have a core competency in both DeFi and traditional finance. And when those two worlds meet, we can come up with some creative new ideas. Ultimately it is the community that will make this a success or a failure

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