Monday, February 22, 2021
The Musk fan who fooled Reddit
“I have no idea about that shit”
A month ago on Reddit, an alleged Tesla employee predicted that Elon Musk will soon buy Bitcoin – and is celebrated when it actually happens. “You heard it here first,” writes Henning Kastner (last name changed) under the pseudonym TSLAinsider on Reddit. When Tesla later bought Bitcoin for 1.5 billion dollars, Kastner went viral with his supposed inside information from his room in snow-covered northern Hesse. A few days later, however, he revealed in the tabloid “New York Post” that he was not a Tesla employee at all, but had written the post on LSD. “I got this inspiration that Elon was going to buy bitcoin, so I made this troll post,” he says. But even that is apparently only half the story. How it really was, he explains in a Zoom interview with Finance Forward. His version of events cannot be fully verified, but his identity and the fact that he is the infamous TSLAinsider can. The story is weird and a testament to how crazy the financial markets are these weeks.
Henning, a few days ago you became famous in one fell swoop: Your prediction that Tesla would buy Bitcoin on a large scale, which you posted on Reddit a few weeks ago, came true. Your post was quoted everywhere. What was your first reaction?
I thought: What the fuck! Everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame at some point – and I had that now. The first thing I did was hook up with my buddies and we’d laugh each other out loud. The situation was completely surreal. Many would have surely made a profit from such a situation and tried to drive the price of other stocks higher.
You mean that suddenly you were awarded expert knowledge because many people believed that you were a Tesla insider?
Absolutely. My Reddit inbox exploded. And there were messages among them from people who wanted me to advertise their crypto-coins. One of them offered me 1.5 Bitcoin for this. Another consideration was to post that Tesla had sold the Bitcoin again, then the price would have gone down and I could have bought more cheaply. But seriously: I didn’t want to do that because it would also have made the people from the Reddit forums lose money if in doubt. I didn’t mean to pull my people away.
Instead, you spoke to the New York Post and revealed that you are not a Tesla employee. However, you pretended to be Hendrik, who studied politics and took LSD. And you said that you stopped the post under the influence of drugs.
I thought about how far I can go – and what will actually be printed. The “New York Post” is a kind of American “Bild” newspaper, so I thought I could take hops too. For the interview, I googled how to translate “divine inspiration” well, I really wanted to accommodate that. I was aware that the drug story would escalate on social media. In fact, I didn’t take any LSD that night.
Honest? Is that the truth now?
I’m certainly not a child of sadness, but I definitely wasn’t on drugs that night. But I didn’t find the assessment so far-fetched – other people also predicted that Tesla could buy Bitcoin.
Bloomberg columnist Matt Levine wrote that he hoped you were “already hired by a hedge fund” and had “been given a generous budget for LSD.” Because if someone had bought Bitcoin because of your post, they would have made around 50 percent profit. Have you already received a job offer?
I’m still getting inquiries about what Tesla is doing next. My answer then is: “mobile refrigerators”. But I haven’t received a job offer yet – luckily. Because I have absolutely no idea about that shit. Even if I’ve earned a lot. But I have a feeling that right now it is difficult to find a stock or investment that is not going up. Everyone makes money in this market.
How did you go
When the lockdown started in March, I was sitting at home and had plenty of time. I got involved with leverage products and made so much money. At Gamestop, I was there when Reddit users drove up the value of the stock. I got out at $ 400. The whole thing is like sports betting, there you also assume that in case of doubt you will lose your stake completely. That’s why I wasn’t afraid.
Judging by your Twitter profile, you are mainly interested in crypto values.
Finance Forward is the magazine for the new financial world. It reports on the fintech scene, the banking industry and the world of blockchains – curious, critical and independent. The magazine is a cooperation between Capital and OMR. Follow Finance Forward on Facebook, Twitter, Xing or LinkedIn. The podcast is available on iTunes, Spotify and Podigee. Click here for the newsletter.
I have owned Bitcoin since 2014 and was very lucky that I didn’t sell too much or that my crypto values were at Mt.Gox (the crypto exchange was hacked, editor’s note). I always invested part of my salary there. But you also have to be able to afford not to sell. When the rate goes from $ 400 to $ 5,000, the temptation is great. I was lucky again.
What attracts you to cryptocurrencies?
I believe that gold and silver will be digitized sooner or later, that’s why I invest in Bitcoin and Ethereum. I also read through studies on individual crypto projects and then invest there. But I believe that once the lockdown is over, the trading hype will level off.
People will go back to their hobbies. I’m actually a very social person, I do a lot with friends or put on music. That will come again.
The interview first appeared on Finance Forward.
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