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Twitch for Traders: From Let’s Play to Let’s Trade

With the vastness that is the Internet, the sources traders can use to be informed and stay on top of their game is increasing by the day. While trading podcasts have become a big thing in the world of trading and finance in recent years, a new medium has also stepped into the field: live streaming.

While podcasts allow people to verbally communicate everything that is trading, a live stream takes it to the next level by integrating video and screen shares in real-time. The biggest player in the world of live streaming is Twitch.

Owned by Amazon and boasting over 15 million users, Twitch is a platform like YouTube, which allows users to stream video in real-time. Born in 2011 as a platform focused solely on video gaming content, up until recently, it was a place only for so-called 'let’s play' games streamed by gamers. Gamers play their favourite video game while streaming everything that is happening on screen, their faces also shown on screen. In 2019, over 80 million hours of content were streamed on Twitch.


Photo by Caspar Camille Rubin on Unsplash

How a video game streaming platform diversified

However, things have been switched up over at Twitch, and it is not solely made up of video gaming content anymore. Twitch is now a versatile platform, with categories such as art and music, health and beauty, travel and food and many more.

The sports section, for example, shows live streams of sports being played all around the world, from soccer matches to snooker tournaments. Other gaming-related topics were introduced, such as the “slots” category, which allows casino players to stream their games at the online casino., for example, offers a wide selection of slots, from classic three-reel games to innovative 3D-instalments, which are now being streamed on Twitch for the audience to watch and feel the action.

One of the new categories which took off like no other is “Just Chatting”, a place, where people come together to do exactly that: just chat, about anything and everything.

Letting Twitch play the stock market

Along with the new categories, traders also found their way onto Twitch, as the topics of trading, investments and finance began appearing on the streaming platform.

Categories such as “Stocks and Bonds” or “Day Trader” opened up the doors for traders to share charts, market analyses and their daily trading lives with their audience. People new to the field, as well as experienced traders, are now able to get another source of information and a tool for communication within the community to share ideas, opinions, analyses and more.

This has led to giving “playing the markets” a rather new meaning, as a trader on the Twitch channel StockStream used the community to make real trading decisions. Mike Roberts, a former engineer at Amazon, created what became one of the first crowd-sourced investment games, giving the audience control over his funds of $50,000, trading stocks with his own money. What started as a simple experiment for fun turned out to be a massive hit.

Via the live chat, Roberts let thousands of viewers decide what to invest in. The top-voted trade was executed every five minutes by a bespoke algorithm Roberts wrote, using his real money to buy and sell stocks. It was the first-ever multiplayer stock market game. And it went viral.

What started out as a game, and what Roberts called an experiment on finding out what strangers would do with his hard-earned money, eventually became a big success: a couple of months after the game started, streaming financial news network Cheddar acquired the whole operation and hired Roberts.

While Twitch still has a major focus on 'let’s play' video games, it's clearly becoming so much more than that. And now that traders have found their way onto the platform to share content with the community via live streams, it seems there's plenty more to come when it comes to Twitch and trading.

By Sophie Kreimer