In a YouTube video titled “How I Made $50,000 in 1 Week on Robinhood,” a clean-shaven thirtysomething in a white T-shirt and black gaming chair faces the camera, sandwiched between two transposed vertical images. On the left, cars zoom down the highway past a line of other vehicles parked on the shoulder; on the right, there is a screenshot of a Robinhood brokerage account with nearly $250,000 in it and a crooked green line crawling toward the upper corner of the screen.
“Wassup everyone, I’m Deadnsyde,” he begins, using his pseudonym to reiterate his core belief that one must be “dead inside” in order to make money in the stock market. The video of drivers who’d mistakenly pulled onto the shoulder after assuming it was the line for an exit ramp, he explains, is an allegory for the markets. “These people [parked on the shoulder] are part of the public,” he argues. “This is the public market, it’s the same thing. [It’s] all monkey-see monkey-do type behavior.”
He, of course, is blazing his own path, following nothing (or no one) but his own conviction. In the process, he’s quickly becoming the Jim Cramer of the new investor class, which has little in common with the Mad Money disciples of yore. Collectively, they’re mostly younger than 30; they approach the market in such a get-rich-quick way that the Wall Street establishment media has referred to them as “degenerate gamblers”; and they’re probably best represented by the r/WallStreetBets’ GameStop-fueled stock mania from a few months ago. They’re also starting to find considerable power in numbers. In fact, today, such “retail investors” represent up to 25 percent of all daily stock trades.
They seek wisdom from a sea of extremely online “Influencer Investors” — regardless of these influencer investors’ financial qualifications or the veracity of their claims (if anything, the less institutional pedigree the better) — but Deadnsyde has been a particularly trusted voice since December 30th, when he made a video telling his audience to “keep an eye on” a small genetic research company called BioNano Genomics, (or BNGO on the stock market). Citing a piece of research arguing BioNano Genomics’ new technology was more efficient than the that of a similar company that had recently garnered major investments — along with the fact that bigger investment firms like Vanguard Group were buying in, Deadnsyde told his audience that BNGO could be a “life-changing stock.”
“The more I read, the more conviction I had, the more I believed this wasn’t some stupid hype penny stock that YouTubers and everybody’s trying to pump up,” he explained. “This seems like a stock that’s actually the real deal.”
As it so happened, BNGO’s stock price ballooned from $2 to roughly $12.50 a share in the ensuing weeks. And when the feverish community of Reddit-borne retail investors took to the internet to find out more, YouTube’s algorithm served up Deadnsyde’s video as the top choice. “It led to me instantly getting around 120K new subscribers,” he tells me.
Seven months later, Deadnsyde has posted more than 150 videos spanning five to fifteen minutes each, in which he exhausts every last detail about small public companies he believes will prove to be profitable in the long run. He even added a tiered subscription offering wherein people pay $100 a month to get early insight into which stocks he’ll be covering in future videos.
The secret to his success as a Wall Street prognosticator is no secret at all. He shares it widely, in video after video. “If you can just look at one company and try to understand everything that you possibly can about it, you can make money in just that one stock,” he vows. Case in point: A company called Nano-X Imaging, whose stock price rose from $26 to $53. “I knew everything that was going on with the company. I knew what the CEO had accomplished in his past. I even looked at how many kids this guy had — I just wanted to see what kind of guy this was,” Deadnsyde relays in one video, his methodology happily laid bare for all to see.
Yet when it comes to details about himself — how he’s made the money he invests (upwards of $100,000 on Robinhood, according to his videos), what experience he brings to investing, where he lives and even his real name — Deadnsyde is less forthcoming. In my interview with him, he’d only go as far as to reveal his age (32) and that he’d found success in e-commerce. His social media and r/TrakStocks, a subreddit dedicated to Deadnsyde’s investment gospel, concede even less. He argues the secrecy is all for good reason — mainly, his safety. “There are about 10 percent of people who are either trying to stab me to death or hug me to death, sometimes on the same day depending on the volatility of the market,” he tells me. “So that’s why I want to be private.”
His influence has become undeniable. Nearly every time he releases a video focusing on a small public company, that company’s stock price skyrockets the next day. On Twitter, this became known as the “Deadnsyde Effect.”
But as John Rekenthaler, vice president of research for financial services firm Morningstar, writes, “Along with greater investor power will come the call for greater investor responsibility.” That is, in an environment where retail investors make up a quarter of daily trade volume, influencers like Deadnsyde can easily cause the market to act erratically by inspiring hordes of retail investors to buy up the small-company stocks they allege to be diamonds in the rough. Such market chaos, Rekenthaler says, will lead to an increase of “regulatory scrutiny” from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in particular.
“The commission’s focus has long been on Wall Street, not Main Street,” Rekenthaler concludes. “But what if retail investors are colluding on message boards, pooling their resources with the express purpose of altering security prices? The SEC will not and should not ignore those activities.”
For his part, Deadnsyde says he’s reached out to the SEC to better understand what he can and cannot do. “They told me there is a grey area where they can’t say if it’s illegal or legal to talk in certain ways about a stock,” he tells me. “Basically, they don’t want people to make money at the expense of others, which I understand. I just want to provide as much value as possible but as accurately and responsibly as possible.”
If anything, the more immediate threat to Deadnsyde is the post-GameStop bear market that’s testing his predictive powers. Retail investors who once had enough faith in his market prowess to cough up $100 a month now wonder whether they’ve been duped by a “master scam artist,” “a liar,” “a fraud” and “the worst thing to happen to all of us.” (In fairness, Deadnsyde almost always cautions his audience to do their own research and not blindly follow trading advice from anyone, including himself.)
In return, he hasn’t completely disappeared on them, but he’s definitely keeping a lower profile. His last YouTube video, for example, was posted over two weeks ago — a stark contrast from earlier this year when he was posting several videos a week. It’s left many of his acolytes to wonder whether he’s on vacation, on a mental-health break to get away from “all the hate” or on the run with all the cash he made.
“Most financial YouTubers went silent when the market corrected, some moved to crypto and others kept it movin’,” one redditor wrote in response to a post looking for guidance on Deadnsyde’s stock picks in his absence. “No one knows what the market will do tomorrow, next week or next year. The only thing that’s as close to certain is that over the long haul, the market is undefeated.”