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Fraud, deception, and propaganda in the video game collecting market...

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Money laundering makes sense, but to me, simple greed is sufficiently explanatory. This is just pump-n-dump with an industrial-scale pump. People like this don't care that the bubble bursts. They'll have made enough money by the time it bursts that whatever they had left in the market was already made from pure profit to begin with. Hopefully, the fact that this story is gaining as much traction as it seems to be gaining will cause it to go ahead and burst right now before these dudes have a chance to pull their money out of it.

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Yes, they are manufacturing a bubble, attracting new money in by engaging in self dealing to make it look like there is growth in collectible value, so money is attracted in by the growth in the market, and continuing to pump up the market with self dealing to reinforce the idea of the outside money that they are profiting on their collecting.

Ad long as the game continues to attract new outside money, they'll keep playing, then when the "new money" dries up, they'll dump what they were self dealing before and prices will crash back down as people decide it's time to "cash out".

It's a zero sum game, so all of the insider's net gains in the process are somebody else's net losses.

Note that some of the insider gains will be transaction fees. When you are paying $100,000 for something, a 1% brokerage fee seems minor ... but if it is something that would cost $5,000 in a market that was not being pumped up, that is magically pushing a 1% brokerage fee from $50 to $1,000. That extra $950 never shows up in the "value" of the collectible but it's also money in the bank account of the insiders creating the bubble.

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