- GameStop millionaire Keith Gill is testifying before Congress on Thursday.
- Gill goes by u/DeepFuckingValue on Reddit and Roaring Kitty on YouTube.
- The value investor, who loves cat memes and reaction gifs, was a leading figure in Wall Street Bets’ clash with short-sellers.
- Ten of his Wall Street Bets peers shared their views of him with Insider.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A retail investor who goes by u/DeepFuckingValue on Reddit and the name Roaring Kitty on YouTube is set to testify before Congress on Thursday.
The man behind those usernames is Keith Gill, a 34-year-old marketer and financial educator at insurance firm MassMutual. He shot to fame last month for turning an initial $54,000 investment in GameStop in 2019 into a $48 million fortune at the height of the GameStop boom, according to screenshots he posted on Reddit that Insider was unable to verify.
DFV is one of several witnesses set to appear in front of the House Financial Services Committee to discuss their roles in the GameStop saga.
Members of Wall Street Bets – a retail-investing subreddit – led the charge in driving GameStop shares up as much as 2,000% in January. They also worked in concert to spike the stock prices of AMC, BlackBerry, Bed Bath & Beyond, and other heavily shorted stocks. Their goal was to score quick profits and squeeze short-sellers into covering their positions, sending the stocks even higher.
DFV didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment from Insider. However, several of his peers on Wall Street Bets shared their insights into his character and explained why he’s earned their respect and admiration.
Cat memes and cash flow
DFV is a far cry from the stereotypical day trader many associate with Wall Street Bets. Rather than flitting from hot stock to hot stock, his only posts on Reddit have been screenshots showing the value of his GameStop position, dating from September 2019 to February 3.
His Reddit comment history and Twitter feed may be littered with cat memes and reaction GIFs, but DFV has repeatedly stressed that his goal is to invest shrewdly and maximize his long-term returns.
He’s calmly and confidently defended his GameStop investment thesis since his first post about it. He’s dismissed daily price moves, trumpeted the video-game retailer’s free cash flow, touted its cheap shares, highlighted its competitive moat, underscored the opportunity for share buybacks, and celebrated its shareholder-aligned management.
“I’m a fundamental value investor through and through,” he said in a Reddit post in December 2019.
Read more: A veteran options trader breaks down the intricate strategy that Reddit traders used to outsmart Wall Street’s bet against GameStop – and shares 2 ways the parabolic rally could permanently alter the stock market
On his YouTube channel, he even described GameStop as a “a roach not a cigar butt a la Warren Buffett,” referring to the famed investor’s analogy that buying cheap businesses in terminal decline can be like picking up a discarded cigar butt and enjoying one final puff.
“GameStop is an established, uniquely positioned player,” DFV said. “Its final puff is a legitimate opportunity to reinvent itself as a premier gaming hub. That last hit might not be the prettiest or the cleanest, but it could get the job done.”
Making the case
DFV laid out his investment case for GameStop in an hour-long YouTube video in July 2019, the month after he made the stock the biggest holding in his portfolio. The shares were trading around $4 then, giving the retailer a paltry $260 million market capitalization (it surged past $30 billion at one point last month).
The retail investor said he was bullish on GameStop because he viewed the threat of an industry-wide shift to digital game purchases as overblown, thought the negative sentiment around the company was overdone, and believed the value of its business was being overlooked.
While DFV takes investing seriously, he also plays to his audience. He often pairs a bandana with sunglasses, and recently dunked a chicken tender into a glass of champagne to celebrate his massive windfall – a reference to “tendies” being the slang for investment gains on Wall Street Bets.
Moreover, he has a self-deprecating sense of humor. When a commenter pointed out he had made a profit on his GameStop position in December 2019, he replied, “SO FAR BUT THAT IS IRRELEVANT YELL AT ME FOR BEING DUMB OR BE DOWNVOTED.”
Yet DFV has been unabashed about the money he wants to make.
“Given the risk I’ve taken on, I’m shooting for at least 10x on the position,” he said in a Reddit comment on November 2019. “15-20x would be terrific. 20x+ is possible but not worth seriously entertaining right now.”
When GameStop shares hit $20 last December, he uploaded a screenshot to Reddit showing he had $1 million in cash and $2.5 million worth of stock and bullish call options.
DFV downplayed the rigorous research behind his lucrative bet in a Christmas Day video.
“When you have a thesis and by and large it unfolds as you hope that it could, that’s nice,” he said. “This was a true YOLO for me. I don’t know what I was doing, I still don’t.”
He also underscored what the gains meant to him.
“When I was building this position last year, we had nowhere close to $1 million,” he said. “I certainly do not drive a lambo, we rent this house that you see, so it’s been a wild ride for us as a family.”
Other Wall Street Bets members praised DFV’s diligence, humility, and unwavering self-belief in interviews with Insider.
They also compared him to Michael Burry, the investor from the book and movie “The Big Short” who was widely ridiculed for making a billion-dollar bet on the US housing bubble to burst in the mid-2000s, but ultimately proven right.
Here’s what 10 Reddit users said about DFV:
“He was never arrogant. He was the quirky guy doing his thing until people started to ask him what he saw.” – SoDakZak
“I don’t see him as a leader. I just see him as a guy who made a decision and stuck to it.” – Auslander
“He genuinely cares about helping people and showing the resources available to individual investors so they can study the market. He’s created the spark and now there’s a lot of momentum behind it.” – Dancinrobot
“DFV ultimately showed people that they can make it in the stock market just like the big hedge funds. He’s started a revolution.” – 360T-Posed
“DFV is the Michael Burry of this story. He believed in GameStop since 2019 and held despite all the bullying he received and all the losses he endured. He became a legend.” – mad-max-308
“A lot of people laughed and thought he would lose it all until a few months ago. He’s basically WSB’s Michael Burry. He had an impact on all of us.” – mEDo4
“DFV is an example of learning the ropes of trading, putting in the hours to gather all the relevant information for an investment thesis, and ultimately having the strength of willpower to stand by your plan.” – BarTendiess
“He’s been harping on about GameStop since it was $4 a share and was being laughed out of Wall Street Bets. He never faltered in his conviction. His ability to take criticism and roll with it is incredible. He would just reply with memes or little quips. I’d say he’s the Michael Burry of this generation. He saw an opportunity and he capitalized on it when no one else would even listen.” – Xylosoxidans
“Most of Wall Street Bets just wants to get a lucky lotto ticket, so when someone like DFV comes along and shows them a different way of doing things, it’s like seeing a shining star in the darkness. People tend to gather around the light and the light DFV gives off can’t be ignored.” – Xylosoxidans
“DFV taught a lot of people in this sub to be patient if they want to play out a thesis. You would think he is some arrogant douche that only flaunts his gains. Far from it. If you see his videos, he might be the most mild-mannered dude you might ever come across. And very humble too.” – GadnukBreakerOfWrlds
“He is the quintessential WSB member that we all aspire to become.” – I_shah