Online discussion forum Reddit went down on Wednesday at the same time as the GameStop trading frenzy returned to Wall Street, with the price of shares in the video game company more than doubling in just a few hours.
The stock of GameStop, which has been extremely volatile over the past few weeks, closed at $91.71 (£64) a share – itss the best performance since 27 January when it had climbed up to $347.51 (£245).
Meanwhile Reddit, some of whose members were instrumental in the stock’s huge rise last month, was inaccessible for several hours of Wednesday afternoon, though its system recovered and it returned online later in the day.
Though there is no clear explanation for the rise of the stock on Wednesday, several theories were doing the rounds online and in media reports, including the fact that the video game company announced its chief financial officer will be stepping down on 26 March.
“The CFO exited the company and there’s talk of the company finally transforming from a brick and mortar to deploying their product in a digital way, and this is why we believe the stock shot up at the end of the day today,” said Gust Kepler, chief executive of stocks and options platform BlackBoxStocks.
The sharp rise in GameStop’s shares appears to have surprised members of Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum, which largely triggered its meteoric rise last month. Users were left asking one another for theories as to the cause, with one requesting: “Can we honestly sound off on what we think is happening?”
Rod Breslau, an esports consultant, in a series of tweets said “here we go again GameStop up over 100% in the last hour”, while noting that the price per share hit $174 (£122) after trading hours.
“Reddit is now down, the power of wallstreetbets …” he added.
The case has been repeatedly referred to as the victory against big Wall Street hedge funds – making the subsequent outage of Reddit on Wednesday a rich source for online conspiracy theories. “Something is up,” wrote one Twitter user, while another shared a meme asking “Coincidence?”. There’s still no confirmation that the two events are directly linked, however.
Additional reporting by agencies