This all looks remarkably like something I'm actually old enough to remember: trading OTC "pink sheet" stocks. Same dynamic, 40 years ago. With a few thousand $$$ you could move the price of a stock from 2 cents to 50 cents and get a bunch of noob investors fired up over "XYZ Corp stock up 2500%! Buy now before you miss the boat!" So people would pile on and drive the price up further to $2.00 or even $5.00 and the SELLERS on the second wave up would be those who started the rally at 2 cents. I'm sure many made an absolute killing, selling absolutely worthless junk.
In truth, very few of the actual companies actually had a pot to piss in, and likely never ended up making a profit... OR a significant impact on their industries.