‘The real Robinhood’: Student who bet big on GameStop stock donates Nintendo consoles to children’s hospital

Hunter Kahn, 20, of Cornell University makes generous gesture after earning $30,000 from taking on ‘big boys of Wall Street’

Joe Sommerlad@JoeSommerlad
Tuesday 02 February 2021 13:17
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Related video: ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ Jordan Belfort weighs in on Reddit investors buying GameStop stock

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A 20-year-old mechanical engineering student who gambled and won in last week’s run on GameStop stock has used his earnings to make a major donation to a children’s hospital.

Hunter Kahn, of Cornell University in New York, cashed out early on Wednesday and spent a portion of his $30,000 windfall buying up six Nintendo Switch consoles and games to entertain young patients at Children’s Minnesota Hospital in Minneapolis, according to CNN.

“As a beneficiary of the recent events on Wall Street I think it is important that myself and others pay forward our good fortune,” Mr Kahn, who hails from the town of Stillwater, Minnesota, wrote in an Instagram post.

“These events have highlighted a lot of corruption and with this transfer of power it is important that we don’t become men in suits ourselves.”

He told the network he had become involved in the trading frenzy to take on “the big boys on Wall Street” and said of his donation: “If we’re criticising these people on Wall Street and moving the money from one side to the other side, it would be meaningless if we behave exactly like these people that we were criticising.

Fans on social media were quick to hail Mr Kahn as “the real Robinhood”, a reference to a trading app that infuriated investors by moving to temporarily block trades in GameStop at the height of the chaos.

The student’s generosity is just one of several astonishing stories of amateur investors riding the wave of excitement to enrich themselves following a wild few days on the stock market.

The GameStop saga began when a collective of Reddit users who followed the site’s WallStreetBets forum came together to buy up shares in the ailing video games retail outlet as a challenge to established hedge funds engaged in short-selling in anticipation of its demise, the business having been hard-hit by lockdowns implemented to battle the coronavirus pandemic.

Their efforts to create a short squeeze saw the company’s share price skyrocket and the likes of Melvin Capital lose 53 per cent of its value in a David-and-Goliath contest cheered on as a popular uprising by the likes of California tech entrepreneur Elon Musk.

GameStop’s CEO George Sherman saw his 3.4 per cent stake of 2.36m shares balloon in value to an estimated $800m on Friday, retired billionaire Donald Foss’s 5 per cent holding was valued at $1.2bn while a fund with a 13 per cent stake owned by fellow board member Ryan Cohen suddenly found itself worth $3bn.

Over the weekend, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren called on the US Securities and Exchange Commission to launch an investigation into what had transpired, branding the stock market a “rigged game”.

By Monday, the investors had turned their attention towards silver and precious metals and GameStop shares had fallen 30.8 per cent, suggesting an imminent bursting of the bubble.

Another astonishing story from this riskiest of businesses was that of 10-year-old Texan gamer Jaydn Carr, who enjoyed a 5,000 per cent return on the 10 shares his mother had gifted him as a Kwanzaa present in 2019, making the primary school pupil a tidy profit of $3,200.

Others have recounted stories on social media of making enough money to pay off their student loans or buy themselves new domestic appliances.

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