Avoid politics at Thanksgiving and talk about markets instead. Here's a refresher on the craziest stories this year, from meme stocks to NFTs.

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Avoid politics at Thanksgiving and talk about markets instead. Here's a refresher on the craziest stories this year, from meme stocks to NFTs.
The Thanksgiving turkey.Hiroko Masuike/Getty Images
  • Markets have been on a wild ride in 2021 amid new phenomena like meme stocks, NFTs, and DAOs.
  • The year began with shares of GameStop soaring and is ending with a DAO trying to buy the US Constitution.

Forget politics at your Thanksgiving dinner this year. Talk markets.

Think about everything that happened this year, starting with an army of retail traders causing GameStop shares to spike, to cute Japanese puppies becoming the mascots for a crypto revolution, and ending in a bunch of internet friends trying to buy the US Constitution.

So here's a refresher of what happened with 10 possible ideas to get the conversation going on Thanksgiving.

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1) What's your favorite meme stock?

Meme stocks became the first big market event this year when an army of retail traders mobilized on Reddit to drive up the prices of cheap stocks like GameStop, AMC, and BlackBerry. Then well-known trading app Robinhood halted the buying of meme stocks, initiating an uproar from traders, a Congressional hearing and a regulatory report. The meme-stock phenomenon has continued throughout the year, with new companies constantly added to the basket. For some, AMC is still their favorite. It's now accepting cryptocurrency as payment, and its CEO is a hit among retail traders.

2) Want to see my NFT?

Non-fungible tokens surged in popularity this year, and now the market as a whole is worth billions of dollars. The tokens are generally digital pieces of art tied to the blockchain. They're worth anywhere from a handful of dollars to millions of dollars. If you're really a crypto enthusiast, you might even bring your tungsten cube to Thanksgiving dinner. The cubes have become all the rage in the crypto world for their small size and surprising density.

Avoid politics at Thanksgiving and talk about markets instead. Here's a refresher on the craziest stories this year, from meme stocks to NFTs.
Shiba inu dog.Yuki Cheung/EyeEm/Getty

3) I've been thinking about buying a shiba inu! (The puppy not the coin; I already have that).

Demand for the Japanese hunting dogs has surged this year along with the price of meme coins like dogecoin and shiba inu coin. The cryptocurrencies, whose mascot is the shiba inu, have garnered the attention of the retail investing crowd, in addition to Tesla CEO Elon Musk and AMC CEO Adam Aron. Another shiba inu-based coin called Floki, a reference to Musk's new Japanese pup, has also joined the space. Be careful if you want to buy in, though, the cryptocurrencies — and the dogs — can be volatile.

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4) How's your home improvement project going with those crazy lumber prices?

Inflation is at 30-year highs thanks to a bevy of factors like shortages, supply chain bottlenecks, and government stimulus checks, among others. The price of lumber, along with a lot of other costs, surged this year as first-time buyers joined the housing market and current homeowners made updates. More recently, lumber prices have since slumped from highs earlier in the year.

5) I ordered my PS5 forever ago. One wrong turn in the Suez Canal, and I'm stuck with what I've got.

In March, the Ever Given cargo ship became lodged in the pivotal waterway, prompting memes and adding to supply chain problems. After about a week blocking the canal, a fleet of tugboats and a dredger successfully freed the vessel.

6) Have you seen my Facebook — ahem, the company formerly known as Facebook — posts lately?

Facebook is no longer Facebook. In October, it rebranded to Meta as it plans to move into virtual reality and the future of the internet that has been dubbed the metaverse. Since then, the concept of the metaverse has become mainstream.

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Avoid politics at Thanksgiving and talk about markets instead. Here's a refresher on the craziest stories this year, from meme stocks to NFTs.
Elon Musk.Picture Alliance/Getty Images

7) Let's talk about voting! Did you vote yes or no on Elon Musk's poll to sell his Tesla shares?

Musk posted a poll on Twitter on Nov. 6 asking if he should sell 10% of his stake in Tesla. The resounding answer was yes, and he's so far offloaded about $9 billion worth of shares. The Tesla chief's tweets have become increasingly influential this year, as his posts about digital assets, like dogecoin, bitcoin, and ethereum, have helped drive broad crypto rallies. On top of that, his own company has joined the $1 trillion club, and he's now the wealthiest man in the world.

8) What did you think of Squid Game?

The Netflix hit show that garnered more than 140 million viewers, according to Forbes, also inspired a cryptocurrency that soared in value in a matter of days in October. But it was a scam. The owners took their profits and the crypto went offline.

9) How much did you make off Trump's SPAC?

Blank-check companies known as SPACs were once a little known way for companies to go public, but during the pandemic they became wildly popular. Former president Donald Trump used one called Digital World Acquisition Corp. to take his company, Trump Media & Technology Group, public. DWAC shares quickly became a meme and surged in value on the news.

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10) Can someone please explain to me what a DAO is?

It's a decentralized autonomous organization, better yet, it's just a bunch of internet friends getting together to accomplish a goal. One DAO bought the secretive Wu-Tang Clan album once owned by infamous pharma bro Martin Shkreli. Another tried to purchase the Constitution but was outbid by Citadel Securities' Founder Ken Griffin. Now one is trying to buy an NBA team.

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