Much has been written about the horde of traders convening in the Wall Street Bets subreddit to pump GameStop’s stock earlier this year, but there’s a darker, less examined side of the so-called “YOLO” phenomenon that goes beyond movie theatres, video game retailers, and shiba inu-themed cryptocurrency: rooting for surveillance startup Palantir as it enables ICE deportations and expands its hoard of government contracts.
Palantir, which was co-founded by reactionary billionaire Peter Thiel and self-professed progressive Alex Karp (“Papa Karp” in the subreddit) in 2003, has for well over six months been a darling of the Wall Street Bets (WSB) community. After debuting at around $10 in late September, the stock has gone as high as $45 and currently sits at around $23, with most analysts putting their target price at that level.
In November, short seller Citron Research tweeted that Palantir was "no longer a stock but a full casino" as the company was valued at $50 billion, about 50 times its projected 2020 revenue. Though the stock closed at $27.66 that Friday, Citron announced it was shorting the stock with a $20 price target. Citron Research is, of course, the infamous short seller that helped spark the GameStop spectacle by attracting the WSB subreddit's ire as it proudly announced it was shorting the company, only to change its tune ten days later as the stock surged and its positions began to bleed cash profusely.