If special purpose acquisition companies have jumped the shark, they may have done so with Digital World Acquisition (NASDAQ:DWAC). The so-called Trump special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), Digital World is the blank-check firm that will take the former president’s media firm Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) public. Undergirding DWAC stock is the much-eyeballed social media platform Truth Social.
Personally, it’s difficult not to view Digital World as a controversy within a controversy. For one thing, the vehicle by which TMTG will enter the capital market has raised eyebrows. As you likely know, SPACs are incredibly dilutive because their architecture allows sponsors to distribute shares and warrants that may ultimately not contribute cash to the end business combination.
Further, on a year-to-date basis, SPACs have underperformed benchmark indices. With DWAC stock shedding 20% of its value since the Oct. 28 session, some stakeholders may be getting an ominous feeling in their gut.
At the same time, let’s be fair and balanced. While SPACs can be incredibly risky, they also provide opportunities that may otherwise not be available for retail investors. And given the controversy that former President Donald Trump himself generated, some investment banks might skimp out on underwriting the risk against a traditional initial public offering.
Casual observers are concerned about the potential underlying impact of DWAC stock. For instance, Truth Social promotes itself as an alternative to censorship. But the question is, why are some content censored in the first place?
Primarily as a business concern, mainstream social media platforms censor content and behaviors to stymie toxicity. Therefore, the alternative to such dynamics may well result in more toxicity (so long as you don’t attack the platform itself!).
DWAC Stock Could Be a High-Potential Investment
So it’s not surprising that many have criticized DWAC stock. Indeed, one cybersecurity expert, in an interview with the Daily Beast, went so far as to state that Truth Social is headed for a “series of embarrassing security and policy failures.”
I’m not going to go that far but the point remains: Trump is deeply unpopular among many circles. Theoretically, then, DWAC stock is headed for trouble.
However, I have a contrarian attitude — and not because I want to be contrarian for its own sake. Rather, I genuinely believe that you can make money with DWAC stock longer term. Depending on your personal feelings, you might have to plug your nose — but the opportunity exists.
Although immediacy bias leads us to believe that the fractious nature of the internet became a problem under the Trump administration, in reality, the internet has always had a dark underbelly. For instance, if you had paid attention to Yahoo’s comment section, you would have received more than your fair share of xenophobia and other opinions which many America will find vituperative.
As a 2012 article from Scientific American demonstrated, people have been angry on the internet for a long time. As the piece explained, the distance and lack of accountability allow hate to thrive online. The difference with DWAC stock is that finally, retail investors have an opportunity to profiteer from a very robust movement.
Yes, DWAC stock may be distasteful, but no more so than investing in tobacco firms or private prisons.
The Numbers Might Actually Work
The concept of right-wing social media platforms is nothing new. Without giving oxygen to certain organizations, let’s just say that websites and public forums catering to even extremist ideologies have always existed. Further, the best examples have performed well relative to their total addressable market.
But does strong historical performance for right-wing content suggest that the business combination undergirding DWAC stock has a chance? Last year, McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) dropped its sponsorship of NASCAR driver Kyle Larson after he dropped the N-bomb. Naturally, businesses shy away from controversies like this given the ugly history of racism, colonization and exploitation.
Still, from an objective perspective, Voanews.com indicates that right-wing extremist talking points thrive online despite concerted efforts to stymie such content. To me, such information suggests that the demand for this content is alive and well.
But just how big of a demand picture are we talking about? Given how relatively tight the 2016 and 2020 elections were, I think you can take the U.S. daily active user count for Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) and split it down the middle. But to be conservative, let’s say 40%. That gives us a domestic potential market size of 74.4 million for Truth Social.
In the grand scheme of things, that’s not a big number. However, those 74-million-plus people could be unusually loyal. Whereas people on Twitter may be sated idolizing inane postings from celebrities, the folks on Truth Social are there for ideological reasons.
Let me be crystal clear: such narratives can be incredibly dangerous. But they’re also incredibly profitable for the right kind of businesses, in the way certain kinds of fear benefit firearms manufacturers or retailers of survivalist gear.
Balancing Profitability with Principles
Ultimately, whether you want to get involved with DWAC stock depends on your particular comfort level. I think if you ask most people, they will view Truth Social as being more harmful than good. We’ve already seen how radicalization doesn’t materialize at the business end of a rifle but rather the imprudent narrative at the point of vulnerability.
And that segues into the rise of troubled youth in America. Without proper counsel and guidance, young impressionable people can find themselves lured to controversial content. The power of Truth Social and the Trump aura is that they tap into genuine frustrations, but unfortunately they can direct the collective emotions toward unproductive (and sometimes destructive) pursuits.
Still, making money off cynicism is incredibly and shockingly easy. That’s why you might earn significant profits from DWAC stock. Just be careful you don’t lose a part of yourself in the process.
On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
A former senior business analyst for Sony Electronics, Josh Enomoto has helped broker major contracts with Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the past several years, he has delivered unique, critical insights for the investment markets, as well as various other industries including legal, construction management, and healthcare.