I recently found this reddit post in which a user found a bug in a software that did not set a limit on a margin call (my knowledge of what a margin call is is really shaky so I might mess up words), and generally allowed to let them over-leverage quite a bit. Edit: This post is not based off of the thread but rather inspired by

Ignoring the overwhelming possibility that this will probably not go through, lets say hypothetically this trader loses quite a bit of the money, and owes the bank quite a large sum - judging by the percentage this would easily be in the trillions. A quick google search informs me there are currently about 40 trillion physical money that currently exists.

I'm just curious, what would be the implications of owing a bank trillions of dollars; I'm sure the debt will get passed down for many generations, and surely this must have some form of implication. Another possibility is that the trader makes a lot of money, when the bank pays them that money, what would be the implications of having the bank owe you trillions of dollars?

Im aware that I am not quite sure how margin trading works and so some of my terminology may be off, for which I apologize. I am more interested in the sheer amount of the money and how much it would affect global economy, if at all

  • 2
    In the US legal system, debts aren't inherited. (The poor sap who owes the money would file for bankruptcy, too, and after seven years of shitty credit would be back to normal.)
    – ceejayoz
    May 3, 2022 at 1:45
  • 4
    I would take this Reddit information with a grain of salt. Redditors aren't known for having a high financial IQ. May 3, 2022 at 3:26
  • @BobBaerker Of course, the post simply inspired the question May 3, 2022 at 4:38
  • @ceejayoz In other legal systems, things might be different.
    – glglgl
    May 3, 2022 at 6:37
  • @BobBaerker That depends on the individual, not on the platform they use.
    – glglgl
    May 3, 2022 at 6:37

1 Answer 1


A famous quote by J Paul Getty

If you owe the bank $100 that's your problem. If you owe the bank $100 million, that's the bank's problem.

The simple truth is that there is no functional difference between being on the hook for $10M or $10 quadrillion dollars. The debt will never be collected in full. Some of the debtors assets would be seized, they would be nigh unemployable in finance, and the remainder of the debt would evaporate when the person died because you can't inherit someone else's debt. At least not in the US except in very specific circumstances.

I guess you COULD be sentenced to be someone's butler. Source: Seinfeld.

  • 4
    "because you can't inherit someone else's debt." That depends on the legal system you are in.
    – glglgl
    May 3, 2022 at 6:49
  • Made an edit to address that
    – JohnFx
    May 3, 2022 at 22:29

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