Koss shares have rallied 43% in two days of trading after winning a patent battle against Apple.
The patent board declined to review Apple’s challenge to two of the company’s patents.
The headphone-maker has been caught up in the meme-stock frenzy this year.
Koss shares have surged 43% in two days after the headphone-maker won a patent battle against Apple.
Trading of the company’s shares, which have been caught up in the meme-stock frenzy this year, was briefly halted Tuesday evening amid a spike in volatility following the patent ruling.
The Patent Trial and Appeal Board rejected to review Apple’s challenge to two of Koss’ patents, Bloomberg Law reported, adding that the iPhone maker didn’t meet its burden to show it could prove that Koss’ patents for wireless earphones and headphones didn’t cover new inventions.
Koss, which has sued the iPhone maker for infringing on its headphone patents, has had a volatile year amid the frenzied trading in meme stocks. In a Reddit post Tuesday that received more than 1,000 upvotes, a Redditor asked if the Koss rally would prompt GameStop shares to “follow.”
Shares surged nearly 2,000% in January as the army of Reddit retail traders drove massive rallies in heavily shorted stocks, including GameStop, AMC, and BlackBerry, among others. Koss has a high short-squeeze score on Fintel.io, as the company’s so-called “dark pool short volume ratio” is 60%.
Koss closed at $64 on Jan. 29 at the height of its rally this year. On Wednesday, shares of the company surged 16% to $21.82 at 9:30 a.m. in New York.
A representative from Koss did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The AMC chief executive officer, who has garnered a massive following from retail traders, has been hyping up Dogecoin, Nicole Kidman, and Merck’s antiviral pill in various tweets. He’s even caught the attention of Tesla’s Elon Musk and investor Mark Cuban.
In a Sept. 21 tweet, the AMC chief posted a Twitter poll asking if AMC should start accepting dogecoin along with other cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum by the end of 2021. The result? “Yes, for sure do it.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk liked the poll, and billionaire investor Mark Cuban responded that Bitpay can accept dogecoin. “I am so delighted by the interest in #AMCandDogecoin!” Aron said in one tweet.
In another, he praised Musk. “I never thought I would see this day. @ElonMusk liked my Dogecoin Twitter Poll tweet. If you happen to see this tweet too Mr. Musk, congratulations on Tesla and SpaceX.”
Then on Friday, Aron cheered Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics seeking the US Food and Drug Administration’s approval for its antiviral COVID-19 pill that halved the risk of death or hospitalization from the coronavirus.
“Wow, wow, wow… wow, wow. MOLNUPIRAVIR. The beneficial implications for @AMCTheatres of this new anti-COVID pill are mind-blowing and breathtaking … Oh, the miracles of modern medicine. Thank you, @Merck! MOLNUPIRAVIR,” Aron wrote on Twitter on Oct. 1.
In an effort to get people back to the movies, AMC partnered with actress Nicole Kidman to make three 30-second commercials. Aron was excited.
“We had a world class team on this effort. Oscar nominee Billy Ray wrote them. Oscar nominee Jeff Cronenweth filmed them. Oscar winner Nicole Kidman starred in them,” he said in a September 28 tweet.
AMC has been a stalwart of the meme stock movement this year, and Aron has leaned into his role as an icon among the Wall Street Bets crowd. For the millions of individual investors gathering on social media who call each other “apes,” Aron is the “Silverback.”
He’s reached out to them on YouTube and Twitter, and even offered investor perks like free popcorn. He also has pounced on investor interest and raised money through multiple equity offerings this year to help shore up the balance sheet. The stock has had an eye-popping run in 2021, rising over 1,600% and leading some analysts to say the price is detached from reality.
On October 1, as #AMCtothemoon trended on Twitter, Aron reached out to his investors directly. “Sincerely and humbly, it is the honor and privilege of a lifetime to work for so many of you. YOU, who are the owners of @AMCTheatres.”
Robinhood CEO and co-founder Vlad Tenev said in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal this week that overly regulating commission-free trading could harm retail investors who were previously “shut out” of investing.
The popular trading app has come under scrutiny in the past for “gamifying” investing, and now regulators have said they’re considering a ban on the payment-for-order-flow model at the hear of Robinhood’s business. Restricting that practice, Tenev said, would “re-erect barriers” that have long kept retail investors out of the markets.
“One wonders whether the push to ban payment for order flow and overregulate modern design is about investor protection or really about control,” Tenev wrote in the article. Robinhood did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for further comment.
In August, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler said a ban on the model was “on the table,” citing conflicts of interest.
The practice of payment-for-order-flow involves brokers such as Robinhood routing customers’ trades through market makers who then execute the trades and often collect on the difference between the bid and ask price.
In the Journal, Tenev said the money Robinhood receives from market makers allows the app to offer commission-free, no-minimum investment trading, which has helped launch the “new generation of retail investors.”
“Making it more difficult to invest would hurt those who were shut out of the financial system for decades,” Tenev wrote in the article. “Many Americans face suffocating debt and financial challenges, and more regulation would make it harder to build wealth.”
Robinhood went public in July and had a volatile first day of trading. The company, listed under the ticker HOOD, is now valued at about $37.4 billion.
The app came under scrutiny earlier this year when it paused trading of GameStop shares amid the meme-stock’s epic rally. Critics have said the app gamifies investing. To which Tenev said in the article that, “Investing isn’t a game, but must it be grim and difficult to understand?”
According to its latest numbers, the app has 21.3 million active monthly users. Retail investors have begun trading in droves thanks in part to the COVID-19 pandemic and government stimulus checks.
MassMutual has agreed to pay $4.75 million as part of a settlement over allegations by Massachusetts securities regulators that one of its subsidiaries failed to adequately supervise its agents, including Roaring Kitty, the investor whose bullishness on GameStop contributed to a trading frenzy in the so-called meme stock earlier this year, reports said Thursday.
Keith Gill, known as Roaring Kitty on social media, worked for MassMutual’s MML Investors Services subsidiary until his resignation in January. Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin said MML Investors Services failed to adequately supervise the trading activity and online activities of Gill and other agents.
The settlement said Gill was carrying out trades on behalf of three other people not affiliated with MassMutual without the insurer’s knowledge, according to The New York Times. MassMutual neither admitted nor denied the allegations.
Gill amassed a following after he invested $53,000 in GameStop in 2019 and saw the valuation eventually climb to millions of dollars. He talked about GameStop stock on YouTube in his spare time away from his work as a registered broker at MML Investors Services.
A report by broadcaster WWLP said an investigation found that MassMutual failed to detect or monitor about 1,700 trades effected by Gill in the accounts of three other individuals, as well as transactions effected by Gill that were nearly double MassMutual’s per-transaction limit of $250,000, including at least two trades in GameStop of more than $700,000.
The settlement includes an overhaul of MassMutual’s social media policies, Reuters reported. Galvin said the company also agreed to pay a separate $750,000 fine for failing to register 478 broker-dealer agents, the report said.
Trying to get in touch with retail investors before your company goes public? Head to Reddit’s r/SPACs channel and ask them questions directly.
That’s what Matt Crisp, CEO of Benson Hill did on Thursday. His food technology company will be going public in New York via a SPAC later this month, and he wants input from retail investors during the process.
“We want our food system to be driven by consumers for consumers, with a greater focus on transparency and inclusion. That’s why I wanted to reach out to this community directly,” Crisp said in a Reddit post.
Crisp announced that Benson Hill will be partnering with Robinhood-owned Say Technologies to respond to retail investor questions in a forum on September 17th ahead of the company’s formal listing.
“Say has done a great job partnering with some interesting companies on quarterly earnings calls, and we wanted to extend the concept to address questions during the SPAC process, too, he said. “We recognize the attention paid to SPACs these days and want to leverage the platform in a positive way – which means more transparency and direct communications with a broad range of investors,” said Crisp.
Meanwhile, SPAC shareholders’ discontent with companies is evident in the growing number of redemptions. On average, SPACs that closed in August saw 58% of shares get redeemed, according to SPAC Research data cited by DealBook.
Bitcoin has skidded to its lowest in around a month this week, after El Salvador’s adoption of the cryptocurrency as legal tender unleashed a tidal wave of forced selling, but trading exchange Kraken said there’s another bull run in the making.
In a research report on Tuesday, Kraken noted that investor interest has picked up over the summer, but is well below the peaks seen earlier this year, while interest from the retail community also has scope to improve.
Bitcoin plummeted by as much as 20% over Monday and Tuesday this week, briefly falling below $43,000 at one point for the first time in around a month, after El Salvador made the coin legal tender, prompting a “buy the rumor, sell the news” effort to take profit among traders that snowballed into mass liquidation across various exchanges.
But this does not change the optimistic outlook, according to Pete Humiston, manager at Kraken Intelligence.
“While these moves look dramatic, they can be a sign of a healthy market. Because many market participants use derivatives to speculate on price, market leverage can get to a point where it needs to self-correct and reset. This results in a sudden jump in market volatility, much like the one we saw yesterday,” Humiston told Insider.
Bitcoin lost roughly 50% in value over the early part of the summer, but rallied steadily throughout July and August. “Signs suggest overall market interest has yet to return to the levels seen in April/May, when BTC and altcoins were setting new all-time highs,” the report said.
Open interest for bitcoin futures rose $10 billion in August to reach $33.2 billion, but it has “not yet returned to the market in the size we saw in April,” the report said, suggesting there was room for derivatives investors to come back into the market.
The report noted that there is room for an upswing in buying from institutional investors. For example, bitcoin-backed products logged eight straight weeks of outflows from crypto funds until last week, when they saw their first inflows, according to data from CoinShares.
“Assuming the market remains in an uptrend, we could see a resurgence in institutional demand that could fuel the market to all-time highs,” the report said.
Retail investors have also shown less appetite for bitcoin lately. There has been a reduction in the numbers of Google searches and subreddit subscriptions, which has left overall interest below where it was in the second quarter, when bitcoin and ethereum’s ether hit record highs, the Kraken report said.
“All things considered, one could argue that while we’ve seen the market post generous returns, interest has yet to return to ‘mania’ like levels, and interest in the market is starting to pick up again. That said we ought to brace for a surge in demand as we head into the year-end,” the report said.
Kraken is the 5th biggest exchange by volume according to CoinGecko.
In an archived post from r/TXBountyHunters seen by Insider, one member said the law had opened up a “brand new arena of revenue” to private citizens.
“We are here to capitalize on that,” they said.
Vice reported the group had 68 members when it was shut down, and that its description said it was “dedicated to sharing tips on identifying, reporting, and collecting bounty on those breaking Texas law TX SB8.”
Cryptocurrency advocates, including billionaires Mike Novogratz and Charles Hoskinson, believe that owning digital assets would have helped the people suffering in Afghanistan during the recent cash shortage.
Some point out that placing your money in a supposedly “safe” bank puts you at risk of losing it, since financial institutions are controlled by the government.
Novogratz warned during a recent investor call that he was sure wealth in Afghanistan would be confiscated to avoid misuse, and this situation could have been prevented had the financial system not existed in its current form.
“Part of bitcoin’s mission is to give the world a ledger where wealth can be stored safely, where governments can’t come and take your money, they can’t deflate it away,” he said.
Charles Hoskinson, the founder of cardano and co-founder of ethereum, in a video message called for an end to financial regimes in their current form.
“I firmly believe if we change our money, and we change the institutions of how our democracy works, collectively over time as nation states, even if they exist in their existing form, we will stop tolerating these things,” he said.
At the same time, both men recognized that people in Afghanistan are most concerned about simply surviving the next day.
Not all crypto advocates believe the situation has a straightforward answer.
Jaime Rogozinski, the creator of Reddit’s Wall Street Bets and strategic advisor of blockchain project dApp, told Insider that owning bitcoin translates to “a reasonable store of value” that is independent of the current geopolitical or economic situation in Afghanistan.
“Having bitcoin allows the wealth to move around the globe seamlessly, much like we’ve seen on several occasions dating back to the Cyprus banking crisis in 2012,” he said.
Erik Voorhees, one of bitcoin’s earliest proponents, told Vice that crypto can help prevent wars and occupations by throttling the flow of taxpayer money that governments need to fund them.
“We shouldn’t pretend that bitcoin will fix the immediate suffering there, but it absolutely helps solve the problem of empire, by starving the empire of tax revenues and curtailing its ability to print currency for the funding of wars,” he said.
It can be extremely useful during crises to be able to access your crypto wallet and the coins inside it from anywhere in the world, according to Ian Kane, co-founder of Unbanked.com.
“As long as you remember your password and have access to your wallet, then you’re able to access your bitcoin balance and exchange it for goods, services, or the local fiat-based currency,” he told Insider. “This would be crucial for Afghans who reached asylum in a country they have never been to and need food or shelter.”
“Bitcoin bros” seizing on the plight of people in Afghanistan to trumpet crypto have angered the families of those who are suffering.
One Reddit user who fled Kabul in 2000 – when the Taliban was still in charge of the country – recently posted a message on the social platform, exasperated at the idea that cryptocurrencies could have been helpful in any way.
“When the Taliban circled Kabul, hyperinflation occurred,” they wrote. “Prices of all foods skyrocketed out of fear of dying of starvation. Do you really believe cryptocurrencies could have changed this?”
Reddit is eyeing a $15 billion valuation for its public market debut in New York early next year, and is looking to hire advisers to help it with the launch, Reuters reported late Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.
The online forum, which inspired this year’s meme-stock trading frenzy, scored a $10 billion valuation in a private fundraising from Fidelity Investments last month.
Aiming for an initial public offering in early 2022, Reddit is working on hiring investment bankers and lawyers, two sources told Reuters. The timing and size of the IPO depend on market conditions, they added.
The company’s CEO Steve Huffman said “all good companies should go public when they can,” speaking recently to the New York Times about Reddit’s stock market ambitions. But no firm timeline has been decided for the IPO, he added.
Reddit didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on the IPO valuation and recruitment of advisers.
The number of people using the discussion site surged in 2021 as retail traders coordinated their efforts on forums such as Wall Street Bets. Their aim was to drive the price of GameStop, AMC, and other highly shorted stocks higher, hoping to profit as hedge funds covered those short positions. The chat on the WSB subreddit took on a populist tone where rebellious novice investors banded together to give Wall Street a black eye.
It counted about 52 million daily active users and more than 100,000 sub-reddits as of October 2020, Reuters reported. Its total number of active users stood at 430 million as of July this year, according to Statista data.
Founded in 2005, Reddit was acquired by magazine publisher Conde Nast just a year later. The employee headcount stood at 700 at the start of 2021, but Reddit had announced plans to double that number. Fidelity Investments, Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, and Tencent Holding are its biggest investors.
Trading app Robinhood, among the popular brokerages used by investors in the Reddit-fuelled rally, launched an IPO in July. Its shares are up 28% since.
It’s paid to follow what stocks Reddit’s Wall Street Bets crowd are talking about this year, as several have gone through epic rallies and seen heightened volatility.
From GameStop in January to AMC Entertainment in June, the near 11 million-member forum has driven the conversation in so-called meme stocks that have exploded higher amid overwhelming demand from retail investors. Strong demand for stocks with shaky fundamentals has led to several hedge fund blowups that were caught on the opposite side of the trade betting against the company in question.