One of the most consistently entertaining features of the video game streaming platform Twitch is the series of “Twitch Plays” videos that allow users to work together to beat a game. Today, a software developer who is either a genius or a fool launched StockStream, a channel in which users are trying to beat the stock market using $50,000 ($39,129) of the developer’s money.
StockStream is touting itself as the “world’s first cooperative multiplayer stock market.” It’s the brainchild of a man who only wants to be identified as Mike. Mike tells PC Gamer that he’s using an app called Robinhood to feed the real-time graphs and make the trades. The beauty of Robinhood is that it allows him to make trades for free. That’s pretty crucial because he’s already making a lot of trades. The way his automated system works is Twitch users comment what stock they want him to buy or sell and at the end of a five minute round, it tallies up the votes and makes the most popular trade.
Mike plans for this to be a long-term project. He insists that he’ll keep it going until he runs out of money. (Of course, he could always get super rich.) Ultimately, he can only lose $25,000 (£19,560) because regulations under the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority require the portfolio to maintain a value of $25,000 to limit the risks of day trading.
The system allows for 78 trades a day while the stock market is open, and he tells PC Gamer that he’s run simulations that “lasted weeks even losing a hundred dollars a day — which is a lot to lose in the stock market. I don’t think it would happen that fast.” He tells Polygon that he’s feeling even better about the project now that he’s had his first day of trading, “I was a bit skeptical — thought I might lose money quickly, but things seem okay.” The day wrapped up with Mike’s portfolio being valued at $50,055.94 (£39,173.53).
While one would assume that StockStream would immediately be plagued by trolls who just want to see everything go wrong, the Twitch Plays crowd seems to be doing all right with Mike’s money. I’ll certainly be checking in, and it’s easy to imagine certain stat-oriented types becoming obsessed with making this work. If all goes to plan, economists may one day look at this experiment as the stock market equivalent of the infinite monkey theorem. More likely, Mike’s gonna lose some cash. Thanks for keeping us entertained, Mike.