One person is letting Twitch viewers trade stocks using $50,000 of his own money

Over the last few years, Twitch viewers have collectively played everything from Pokemon to Dark Souls, but today they’re going to be playing a different kind of game: the stock market. As we speak, Stock Stream has just started its first day of trading, letting Twitch viewers vote for which stocks to purchase and sell using a whopping $50,000 from the wallet of Stock Stream’s owner, a software developer named Mike.

I learned about Stock Stream over the weekend, and sat down with Mike to get some more info about why he’s letting Twitch handle his stock portfolio. “It’s basically the same concept as other Twitch Plays games, but with stock trading,” Mike says. “I’ve created an interface that shows a livestream of the Robinhood app, so you can see in real time the graph of the value of all of the assets and cash.”

Like any Twitch Plays game, the instructions are straightforward. During a five minute period, viewers can vote on what stocks they wish to buy by typing it into the chat using a simple command. Once the five minute “round” is up, the most popular votes are tallied and executed automatically by the program. Mike has even set up a scoring system to rate Twitch viewers’ stock strategies based on return on investment. All of this is using Robinhood, a free app for stock trading.

The stream will automatically start and close with the stock market, with the first stream having started today at 9 am EST. Beyond that, Mike doesn’t have much of an idea of what to expect but plans to keep the stream going until he runs out of money—which hopefully won’t be the case. “This is all just my money,” he explains. “I saved it up, and as for as who benefits it’ll just be me. I mean, I’m taking all the risks.”

Considering that Twitch viewers so far have beaten any game put before them, it’ll be interesting to see if Stock Stream actually ends up growing a decent portfolio or crashes and burns. Even if it does, it’ll likely take some time. With trades happening every five minutes, there’s only 78 trades that can happen a day. “I’m not sure what to expect,” Mike says. “I was able to do a simulation that lasted weeks even losing a hundred dollars a day—which is a lot to lose in the stock market. I don’t think it would happen that fast.”

While Mike is putting $50,000 into the portfolio to start, Twitch viewers will have to keep the portfolio valued at over $25,000 in order to continue trading due to regulations imposed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to help offset the risks of day trading (selling and buying of the same stock in a single day). Still, that’s a lot of money to be placing in the hands of internet strangers. “I guess I’m a little nervous,” Mike laughs.

Stock Stream is, without a doubt, the most bizarre version of a Twitch Plays that I’ve seen, but the idea isn’t Mike’s. Though similar iterations have existed before, Mike originally got the idea from a post on the Wall Street Bets subreddit from five months ago. He’s just the first person to feel comfortable putting some actual money on the line.

As someone without any stock market experience whatsoever, I find the idea fascinating. If you want to help manage Mike’s portfolio, you can tune into the stream each day while the stock market is open. You can also check out Stock Stream’s website for more information.

Steven Messner

With over 7 years of experience with in-depth feature reporting, Steven's mission is to chronicle the fascinating ways that games intersect our lives. Whether it's colossal in-game wars in an MMO, or long-haul truckers who turn to games to protect them from the loneliness of the open road, Steven tries to unearth PC gaming's greatest untold stories. His love of PC gaming started extremely early. Without money to spend, he spent an entire day watching the progress bar on a 25mb download of the Heroes of Might and Magic 2 demo that he then played for at least a hundred hours. It was a good demo.