The hit South Korean Netflix series “Squid Game” has inspired many great things in the current space of pop culture. Recently, a new cryptocurrency token was created based on the hit show, with many investors hoping to cash in on the property’s rising popularity. However, the token suddenly plummeted in value, with the token itself trading at $0 after its creators cashed out, effectively stealing an estimated $2.1 million from investors.
The token, called SQUID, surged as high as $2,861 before dropping to $0 as of Monday, according to CoinMarketCap. The scam, typically called a “rug pull” in the industry, managed to dupe multiple investors in one of the biggest crypto scams in recent memory. The creators managed to cash out of their coins in exchange for real money, quickly devaluing the cryptocurrency’s value.
Before the rug pull, the token’s market cap was a little more than $2 million, and it was billed as a token that could be used for a new online game inspired by the hit show “Squid Game.” The premise of the show centered around a deadly game where participants played a series of children’s games to earn a sizable amount of money, but losing meant forfeiting one’s life and adding more money to the prize pool.
Experts have continuously pointed out the numerous signs that it was a scam, including its website, which was riddled with spelling errors. Another red flag of the cryptocurrency was the fact that investors could only purchase SQUID tokens but not sell them. CoinMarketCap warned potential investors that SQUID was probably a scam, displaying a warning to “exercise extreme caution” if they bought the crypto.
“Squid Game” has become a massive global phenomenon earning the title of becoming Netflix’s top show globally. The show has been viewed by 111 million accounts since its debut in September, making it the company’s biggest series launch. Netflix executives have pointed to the show as evidence that its growing slate of international content can resonate with a variety of audiences.
Netflix has denied any claims of being part of the cryptocurrency scam and the unidentified creators of the token have yet to be discovered. SQUID marketed itself as a “play-to-earn cryptocurrency,” which could be used for a future online game inspired by the hit series. The price soared in recent days by thousands of percent before its value plummeted by 99.99%, currently trading at $0.
“It is one of many schemes by which naïve retail investors are drawn in and exploited by malevolent crypto promoters,” Cornell University economist Eswar Prasad told the BBC.
Professor Prasad said buyers need to be aware when buying cryptocurrencies as there is almost no regulatory oversight.
“In fact, open pump and dump schemes are rampant in the crypto world, with investors often jumping in with eyes wide open, perhaps hoping that they can ride the wave and dump their holdings for a quick profit before prices collapse,” he said.
The SQUID token was available for sale on decentralized crypto exchanges, including PancakeSwap and DODO, which allows buyers to connect directly to sellers without a central authority. “Nowadays, new coins can be listed on decentralized exchanges on the first day they are created, without any regulation or due diligence,” said Jinnan Ouyang from Singapore-based crypto company Openmining. So you could be buying coins from anyone with any agenda.”