Squid Game is one of the hottest things on the planet right now, and using the show’s popularity as inspiration, anonymous crypto scammers just made off with millions of dollars within a week. Since its Netflix release on September 17, Squid Game has proven to be a home run. It drew in over 111 million viewers, is estimated to generate $900 million for the streaming giant, and is still a worldwide phenomenon nearly a month and a half after its release.
As with any popular IP, it creates a hurricane of countless companies trying to get in on the action — and many of them aren’t doing so with good intentions. A prime example of this happened back in April with the ‘Mando’ cryptocurrency. Following the wild success of The Mandalorian on Disney+, a cryptocurrency called ‘Mando’ started making the rounds online. Mando was paraded as a legit new coin, but shortly after its release, it turned out to be a big scam — costing one TikTok influencer $10,000.
Fast forward to November 2021, and something similar has happened again. Last week, a new coin called ‘SQUID’ started making the rounds as a Squid Game-themed cryptocurrency. The coin obviously had no affiliation with Netflix or the show’s creators, but it used the name to attract people familiar with the series. Gizmodo reports that the now-deleted website was riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, the SQUID Twitter account didn’t allow any replies to its posts, and the coin’s official Telegram channel prohibited comments from anyone. All red flags, right? That didn’t stop major news outlets like CNBC and BBC from reporting the news. SQUID kept rising in popularity, the coin’s value shot up by 83,000 percent, and it hit a peak value of $2,861 per coin. Around 5:40 AM ET on November 1, however, SQUID’s value shot down to $0.
What in the heck happened here? If you visit SQUID’s Telegram channel, there’s a pinned message from the creators claiming that someone was trying to hack their Twitter account and “smart contract.” The anonymous message continues with a pity story for the SQUID creators, saying, “We are trying to protect it but the price is still abnormal. Squid Game Dev does not want to continue running the project as we are depressed from the scammers and is [sic] overwhelmed with stress.” In reality, this was all planned from the beginning. That’s because the SQUID cryptocurrency was nothing but a ‘rug pull’ crypto.
While some cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and Litecoin are legit forms of digital currency, others like Mando and SQUID exist for the sole purpose of ripping people off. They pop up out of nowhere, create an enormous amount of hype, get as many people to invest as possible, and then run off with the funds before anyone’s the wiser. In the case of SQUID, specifically, anyone who invested money didn’t have the option to sell their coin. Once someone invested in SQUID, there was no way to turn it back into any other currency. Thanks to all of the buzz surrounding SQUID and its dubious investing setup, the folks behind the coin ended up with a cool $2.1 million. Even better, it’s doubtful those funds will ever be returned to the people who lost them.
If anything, this should serve as a reminder to be conscious of any crypto investing you decide to do. Do your research, never invest more than what you’re willing to lose, and try to stick with coins that have proven to be genuine. SQUID will be far from the last crypto scam of its kind, but here’s to hoping people are better prepared when the next big one rears its ugly head.
This content was originally published here.