Elon Musk Questions Robinhood's CEO About Last Week's GameStop Stock Drama on Clubhouse

Elon Musk interviewed Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev on Sunday night on the audio app Clubhouse. He asked Tenev about why Robinhood stopped users from trading "meme stocks" such as GameStop.
Elon Musk Questions Robinhood's CEO About Last Week's GameStop Stock Drama on Clubhouse
Image credit: PETER PARKS | AFP | Getty Images via Business Insider

Free Book Preview Winfluence

Get a glimpse of how to influence your audience’s buying habits using traditional and unconventional influencer marketing techniques.
3 min read
This story originally appeared on Business Insider

The GameStop stock saga took a new turn on Sunday night when Tesla CEO Elon Musk unexpectedly interviewed Vlad Tenev, the CEO of the trading app Robinhood, on the new audio app Clubhouse.

Robinhood was the target of widespread outrage last week when it stopped users from purchasing shares of GameStop, AMC, BlackBerry, and other so-called meme stocks that had rocketed over the week, fueled by Reddit users.

Musk went on Clubhouse for a wide-ranging interview in which he spoke about his plans to colonize Mars, his neural-technology company Neuralink, and his love of memes. At the end of the interview, Musk brought in Tenev, introducing him as "Vlad the stock impaler."

"Spill the beans, man, what happened last week? Why couldn't people buy the GameStop shares?" Musk said. "The people demand an answer, and they want to know the details and the truth."

Tenev said Robinhood had been forced to temporarily stop users from buying those stocks because the surge resulted in a deposit requirement of $3 billion from the National Securities Clearing Corporation. Robinhood had raised only $2 billion in venture capital, so it spoke with the NSCC to get that requirement reduced to $700 million, Tenev said.

His comment echoed a statement from Robinhood on Friday.

Vlad Tenev, a cofounder and CEO of Robinhood.
Image Credit: Noam Galai | Stringer | Getty Images via Business Insider

Tenev said that the NSCC's decision-making process to get to the $3 billion figure was "opaque" and that it was hard to know why it settled on that.

"Did something maybe shady go down here?" Musk said.

Tenev answered that he wouldn't say so and that the NSCC had been cooperative after the initial $3 billion deposit request.

Musk also asked whether Citadel, a major hedge fund and intermediary for Robinhood, could have influenced the NSCC's decision.

"There was a rumor Citadel or other market makers kind of pressured us into doing this," Tenev said, "and that's just false."

"But wouldn't they have a strong say in who got put in charge of that organization, as it's an industry consortium and not a government ... regulatory agency?" Musk said.

Tenev said he didn't "have any reason to believe" that. "Then you're getting into the conspiracy theories a little bit," he said.

Musk regularly chimed in during the interview with jokes; at one point he asked Tenev, "Is anyone holding you hostage right now?"

Many of the Reddit traders said a motivation for galvanizing meme stocks was to take on hedge funds with heavily shorted stocks. Musk, who has historically attacked short-sellers, has been described as a sort of folk hero for Reddit day traders.

This wasn't the first time Musk demanded answers from Robinhood. Last week, he expressed support for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's call for the House Financial Services Committee to hold a hearing on the app's actions.

Robinhood allowed trading of meme stocks to resume on Monday with some restrictions.

More from Entrepreneur

Our Franchise Advisors are here to help you throughout the entire process of building your franchise organization!
  1. Schedule a FREE one-on-one session with a Franchise Advisor
  2. Choose one of our programs that matches your needs, budget, and timeline
  3. Launch your new franchise organization
Entrepreneur Insider members enjoy exclusive access to business resources for just $5/mo:
  • Premium articles, videos, and webinars
  • An ad-free experience
  • A weekly newsletter
  • Bonus: A FREE 1-year Entrepreneur magazine subscription delivered directly to you
Make sure you’re covered for physical injuries or property damage that occur at work by
  • Providing us with basic information about your business
  • Verifying details about your business with one of our specialists
  • Speaking with an agent who is specifically suited to insure your business

Latest on Entrepreneur