Saw that last night, was going to post it.
Let's highlight something:
Although Robinhood won’t release the details of his account, it‘s possible that Kearns was trading what’s known as a “bull put spread.” Put options give buyers the right to sell the stock at the strike price anytime until expiration, while put-sellers are on the hook to buy the underlying stock at the strike price, if assigned. This happens automatically at expiration if the price of the underlying stock closes that day at a price one penny or more below the strike price.
In Kearns’ note, he says that the puts he bought and sold “should have cancelled out,” because normally a bull put spread involves selling put options at a higher strike price, and buying puts at a lower strike price, both with the same expiration. The trade generates a net credit, which the options trader keeps if the stock price stays above the higher strike price through expiration. It’s generally considered a limited risk strategy because the simultaneous purchase and sale of put options means the maximum loss on a per-share basis is the difference between the strike prices, less the amount earned when the puts are sold initiating the trade.
As ahosai can attest, "options" are the black spot in the macular degeneration of my investment understanding. But I mean, I'm not an abject moron and I try real hard to understand this stuff and it's... non-intuitive. So here's a kid, who has probably been doing this for not very long, being told by the slot machine that he owes it a couple Ferraris. What kind of money management do you think he was taught in high school? I'll bet none.
We have laws that require credit cards to put "if you pay the minimum on this balance you will take 76 years to pay it off at which point you will have paid $322,000 in interest fees" but RobinHood has nothing in their software that says "whoa hold on that six figure debt will magically vanish tomorrow" or even "hey you don't actually owe us three quarters of a million dollars" because the SEC assumes people trading options aren't 20-year-old neophytes.
I don't trade options because I don't know what the fuck I'm doing. But then, I grew up in the Charles Schwab universe where once a year you call some disinterested business major who throws five mutual funds at you and tells you to fuck off. I didn't know that "knowing what the fuck you're doing" is an option.
I don't think it should be.