Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy took Robinhood CEO Vladimir Tenev to activity over his firm’s conduct throughout final month’s dramatic surge of GameStop’s inventory fueled by a bunch of beginner merchants.
Portnoy had beforehand known as Tenev a “rat” and a “liar” and urged that folk from Robinhood “must go to jail” after the inventory buying and selling firm blocked inventory purchases of GameStop and different corporations whose inventory market worth surged with the assist of organized Reddit customers.
However, regardless of the public hostility, Tenev accepted an invite for a livesteam debate together with his most outstanding critic.
“Okay Vlad, that everyone right here that is watching hates your guts, proper?” Portnoy started.
“That’s what I hear,” Tenev chuckled. “But look, I’m glad to be in your present and hopefully we will get into it and reply numerous these questions.”
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Portnoy grilled Tenev on whether or not or not Robinhood’s actions had been primarily based on a “liquidity challenge,” enjoying him remarks he instructed CNBC denying that liquidity considerations had been concerned whereas telling Congress about the $Three billion that was raised throughout the ordeal.
“To me, that looks as if a transparent 180,” Portnoy reacted. “Do you not view that as a 180 and what’s the actual reply?”
Tenev rejected the notion, arguing that taking both place Portnoy proposed about liquidity can be “overselling and underselling” the challenge because it’s actually a “systemic challenge.”
“So in case you had the $Three billion sitting in the financial institution, would you’ve got nonetheless acted the identical means?” Portnoy requested.
Tenev responded by saying it is arduous to invest with hypotheticals however did acknowledge that if Robinhood did not take any motion the firm would have “probably” confronted a liquidity challenge “in the future.”
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“We needed to act to guard our agency and our prospects as a result of if the agency cannot proceed to service our prospects, that is a a lot worse state of affairs,” Tenev defined.
“So why did not you say that clearly?” Portnoy pushed again.
Tenev acknowledged that he “may have been extra clear” throughout short-form TV interviews and that he was “working on fumes” throughout the ordeal.
Portnoy then pointed to Tenev’s congressional testimony, telling the Robinhood CEO that House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., “chewed you up” and “made you appear to be that you simply had been simply afraid of reply questions.”
“It sounded such as you had been lawyering up,” Portnoy stated.
After conceding that Tenev’s liquidity considerations had been a “honest level,” Portnoy argued, “But the means you acted, and I feel that is the largest drawback… Robinhood clearly- their advertising, the whole lot about them, ‘we’re democratizing buying and selling, we’re for the retail dealer,’ that is the branding of Robinhood and it clearly labored… Knowing that, if you drive folks to promote, you solely enable them to promote however they cannot purchase, you cratered the inventory,” insisting Robinhood ought to have simply frozen its buying and selling and as an alternative “manipulated” GameStop’s inventory value.
“Look, I get it,” Tenev stated. “We did not need to do that. We needed to act in a short time to make it possible for this did not change into a much bigger drawback. Everything Robinhood stands for letting folks commerce and giving folks entry and raised the capital [inaudible] as quick as we may.”
Tenev vowed to Portnoy that he’ll do the whole lot he can to verify “we do not see this occur once more.”
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“I feel there’s numerous issues we may enhance on, however I’m pleased with the means the workforce dealt with the disaster by inlarge,” Tenev stated.
“How may that be doable?” Portnoy pushed again. “You guys are billed as a agency to retail merchants and also you screwed them over! I imply, you protected the agency and that is what you probably did… however the whole lot that you simply constructed up as this picture of catering… in case you wished to guard the prospects, you would not have stopped shopping for. That resolution mainly needed to crater the value and left a ton of your prospects holding the bag.”
“I perceive how you’re feeling that means and the way prospects may really feel that means,” Tenev responded, “But prospects shopping for meme shares rests on the basis of our enterprise having the ability to function, which rests on a basis of the monetary system working, proper? If the monetary system breaks down, issues may go south actually, actually rapidly.”
Tenev firmly denied that there was any “collusion” between Robinhood and the hedge funds, accusing Portnoy of being “mistaken” for “perpetuating misinformation.”
“We assist the little man, we’re all about that,” Tenev stated.
“You did one thing and gave an enormous benefit to the large man. That is the actual reverse of serving to the little man. You killed the little man,” Portnoy pushed again.
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Portnoy later reiterated his prediction that Robinhood “couldn’t come again” from this ordeal as a result of if there’s one other main incident, “you will not have my again.”
Tenev expressed optimism that “systemic change” is coming to resolve the present issues instructed Portnoy “you’ve got my phrase” that Robinhood will “preserve getting higher and higher.”
The Barstool Sports founder closed the change by telling Tenev, “I’m not going to say good luck as a result of I’m not wishing you good luck. But I recognize you approaching.