Bullish Rippers' 2021 Year in Review

Recapping the stock market and the news that shaped it in 2021 — from Elon Musk, to $GME, to the Suez Canal and much more!

StockMKTNewz Evan
January 10, 2022

Happy New Year Rippers fam 🥳

2021 was a crazy year — especially for the stock market. We had everything from a pandemic, to meme stocks, to supply chain issues. Basically, you name it and we had it in 2021.

But for all the drama and turbulence we had, each of the major indexes ended up performing really well in 2021. The performance of those indexes does cover up a large group of popular stocks that had a really rough year. For our first newsletter of 2022, we're recapping the biggest moments from 2021, including:

  • Meme Stock Mania
  • The Year of the Doge
  • The Suez Canal Situation
  • Facebook Going Full Meta
  • Elon Musk Getting Named Time's Person of the Year
  • NFTs Taking Off
  • ... and more!

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About Rippers:

If you care about stocks, just opened a Robinhood account, or are new to the world of investing — the Bullish Rippers Newsletter is for you! Every week, we're covering the biggest stocks dominating the conversation from Wall Street to FinTwit. Think of us as your go-to-guide to the stocks and crypto that are ripping.... and dipping. Ultimately, our goal is to help you try and identify opportunities and actions in the marketplace. 

Alright, let's get into what happened in 2021!

Major Indexes

Heat Map

Largest Stocks

Best Performers

Worst Performers

Meme Stock Mania

2021 became the year of the meme stock. AMC and GME began soaring to crazy highs in late January. The craze started in communities like /WallStreetBets, where people like u/DeepFuckingValue — also populalry known as Roaring Kitty — began getting behind GameStop. At that time, GameStop and AMC were underperforming stocks with irresponsibly high short interest.

Here’s Roaring Kitty talking about his GameStop thesis from back in 2020:

Stocks with the highest short interest as of Jan. 23

So, what made this time different? After the initial short squeeze, the meme stocks remained at elevated levels for the entire year instead of moving back to their previous value. AMC only had its real parabolic move later in the year. In May, AMC went from $12 to $60 in just 2 weeks.

Around GameStop’s intraday all-time high of $483 on January 28, Robinhood and a couple other brokers did something the WallStreetBets crowd will never forget.  The brokers restricted buying on the meme stocks.

Why this happened became the focus of a February trial. The trial made for entertaining watching, but ultimately led to nothing. We heard from Citadel’s Ken Griffin, Keith Gill (Roaring Kitty), Melvin Capital’s Gabe Plotkin, Robinhood’s Vlad Tenev and more speak in circles for hours.

Here was my biggest takeaway from the trial: 

The Year of Elon, Bitcoin and Doge

In 2021, Elon Musk became a large supporter and critic of crypto with his never-ending memes of Doge and his skepticism of Bitcoin’s energy usage. His influence swung the pendulum in the crypto markets, causing large soars and drops in value.

It started with the pumping of the first meme coin to ever exist: Dogecoin. The meme that has been around for years began to gain traction this cycle in January as Elon Musk became a large supporter of the project, tweeting his praise of the coin and skyrocketing the value from under a cent in January to 74 cents in May. 

Elon even went on SNL and talked about the Crypto, but unfortunately it ultimately signaled the top.

Doge pumped simultaneously with other large cryptos before a pullback in the summer that took the price back down between 20-30 cents — about where it sits now.

In addition to the Doge craze, It was announced that Elon added $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin to Tesla’s balance sheet on February 8, while also accepting the crypto as payment. Tesla adding Bitcoin to its balance sheet helped boost Bitcoin’s price from around $35,000 to upwards of $63,000. Then shit hit the fan.

Elon decided to do a classic rug pull on crypto bros, calling out Bitcoin and the crypto community for its increasingly large usage of energy and waste products. After Elon’s call out of the crypto community, retail investors began to sell. This caused the price to fall over 50% and under $30,000 before rallying into the end of the year.

On top of all of this, Elon was awarded with Time’s 2021 Person of the Year for dominating headlines and being one of the richest and most influential people in the world — and space. The meme lord’s year was summed up by pumping a dog cryptocurrency to over a $40 billion market cap,Tesla continuing their EV supremacy, and SpaceX’s first orbit launch of a private space crew. Not to mention the many other projects he’s working on, from implanting chips in human brains to building tunnels under cities

Click image for full interactive graph

EverGiven blocks the Suez Canal

2021 was a year filled with supply chain problems, but it's hard to argue any were bigger than the EverGiven getting stuck in the Suez Canal. On March 23, the container ship got caught in a sandstorm with strong winds resulting in low visibility and poor navigation.

The Canal is one of the busiest trade arteries in the world, with about 12% of the world's total trade flows through the Suez. The ship was stuck for six days and seven hours, completely blocking the canal for that time. Every day it was blocked, it’s estimated about $9 billion of global trade was disrupted. It's hard to know the exact economic impact the blockage had, but it certainly further exacerbated the already fragile supply chains of most companies due to COVID.

Ships waiting to get into the canal on March 29

The event also inspired some of the best memes of the year. Here’s a couple of my favorites:

The Collapse of Archegos

If you thought you had a bad year, Bill Hwang is here to remind you there’s always someone who did worse. Archegos Capital went down in flames back in March, when Hwang was forced to liquidate more than $20 billion due to a margin call.

Hwang had built up massive positions in a couple stocks, including ViacomCBS ($VIAC), DIscovery ($DISCA) and a few Chinese ADRs. Hwang built these positions through swaps, a leveraged derivative that lets investors build positions without having to disclose them to the public.

These bets became a problem when ViacomCBS announced a $3 billion stock offering, causing selling in the name. The selling triggered a chain of events where the prime brokers rushed to exit the positions on Archegos’ behalf. This resulted in a massive margin call — a $20 billion massive margin call.

China and the EverGrande Situation

Chinese-based ADRs had a rough 2021. $KWEB, the ETF that follows large cap Chinese Internet stocks, was down approximately 49% in 2021. There were a lot of reasons for this decline, with a couple popular headlines from the year, including:

The latest major headline out of China that arguably turned into the biggest story of the year is the EverGrande situation. For a couple weeks in late September, headlines like this became normal: “EverGrande: Will it collapse and what would happen if it did?”. EverGrande would go on to officially default on its debt on Dec. 9, but by that time, broader US Markets moved past the situation. 

Facebook Goes Full Meta

After Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook almost missed the push into mobile, the company was determined to not fall behind and be ahead of the next trend. For Zuck, that meant rebranding his empire to the Greek word ‘Meta’ and pivoting to the metaverse. The seeds for this pivot were formed back in March 2014 when Facebook acquired Oculus for $2 billion. Facebook went on to change its name on October 28, 2021, signaling the beginning of a spike in searches for the term: “What is the metaverse?”.

Search terms for "What is the MetaVerse" on Google Trends

While the name change may come as a surprise, Facebook has been toying with this idea for a good bit of time. Although Facebook’s businesses have been on fire over the past few years, the company has been facing many growing problems under the hood. 

The recent senate trials, Facebook’s brand identity, and data privacy problems have all plagued Facebook and threatened their health as a company. Zuckerberg wants to leave all of Facebook’s problems in the past, and rebranding to Meta is a big part of that strategy. The question begs now — will he make all employees live in the metaverse?

The move from Zuck inspired others to make moves, with Jack Dorsey quickly following suit. On December 10, Dorsey changed the name of Square to Block to pursue a business model more in crypto and the metaverse… 

Here’s a bad shapes joke from me:

Ken Griffin Gets His Revenge

In the greatest “f*ck you’ moment of 2021, Citadel CEO and retail investor head-hunter Ken Griffin bought a copy of the constitution for $43.2 million after outbidding the ConstitutionDAO. For those who don’t know, the ConstitutionDAO was a DAO created and run by numerous crypto individuals that’s main goal was to raise money to buy the Constitution.

The group raised over $40 million in seven days thanks to the help of 17,000 crypto enthusiasts and random people wanting to own a piece of US history. The mission was simple: Crowdfund as much money as possible in the week leading up to the auction, buy the constitution, and store it in a public place for all to see and visit. In addition, the people who contributed money would have a say in what was done with the document and other governance-related matters. 

While Griffin got his revenge on retail, contributors to ConstitutionDAO either got their money back (minus gas fees) or a token that mooned over 900% in the days after. Individuals can now attempt to own an NBA, Blockbuster, or Mcdonald’s franchise, among other crazy ideas that blossomed in the space in 2021.

Insider Trading

The moves of government officials became a huge talking point in 2021. We had everyone from congress members to FED members buying individual assets. The FED quickly changed its policies, banning policymakers from owning individual stocks after they got into the controversy.  

The same restrictions haven’t been placed on members of Congress, and there’s a growing popular sentiment that they should be — well from everyone but the people in Congress.

Nancy Pelosi has become the poster child for members of Congress who are trading, as she has profited a lot from her bets on individual stocks in the past. She filed a couple different trades throughout the year, most of which turned out to be very successful.

If you can’t stop them, you can watch them. Here’s Nancy’s most recent trades:

NFTs Take Off

NFTs became a trending topic in 2021, with multiple works selling for over $1 million. Exclusive projects like CryptoPunks, originally minted in 2017, skyrocketed in value as the OGs of the space started to cash out. Digital artist Beeple also influenced the space with his animated paintings, one of which sold for $69 million and topped off the list of most expensive NFTs sold this year.

Want to hear more from us? Follow Bullish Rippers and Stock Market News on Twitter and let us know what you want to see from us in 2022!

Stay bullish and we'll see you all in the next one 🔥

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