South Korean series Squid Game was released on Netflix in mid-September and unexpectedly became the biggest hit of the year. A month after the show was released, the streaming service reported that 111 million accounts had watched the series — an absolute record for Netflix.
If you haven’t watched the series, then the plot is as follows: 456 people, each of whom is deep in debt and risk their lives to play a series of deadly children’s games for the chance to win a monetary prize. The losers are not just kicked out of the tournament but killed. After the death of each of those eliminated, a certain amount of money is added to the prize fund. As a result, the participant who survives until the end hits the jackpot.
Scammers decided to take advantage of the incredible hype around the series. They released a SQUID-themed cryptocurrency and a game based on the series. As a result, they were able to steal more than $3 million in cryptocurrency from users, withdraw them, and just disappeared.
What SQUID Token Is All About?
SQUID appeared at the end of October when the Netflix series was at the peak of its popularity. At the time, the price of one coin was $0.0144. The project had its own website and even a white paper that you could still read.
The project document said that SQUID is a gaming crypto platform to make money. The anonymous creators of SQUID promised that, unlike the tournament organizers in the series, they would not limit the maximum size of the main prize and the number of participants. The creators promised:
The more people join, the larger the reward pool will be.
There were six games on the platform, for access to which one had to pay an amount in SQUID. It was necessary to pay 456 digital coins to access the first game and 15K to access the last one.
To withdraw the earned money from the game, a user had to use another type of token called Marble, which supposedly allowed the SQUID token to be freely traded. Users could obtain such tokens by participating in games and buying them.
The project document states that 10% of the funds received will go to the developers, while the rest will go to the game’s prize fund.
What Was Suspicious About the Altcoin?
Those who actually went through the project whitepaper could immediately be alerted to the phrase that the more people take part in the project, the larger the prize will be. This is very similar to a typical pyramid scheme. Someone could pay attention to the fact that comments on the project’s Twitter and Telegram channel were disabled.
The value of SQUID creased on November 1. However, a few days before that, users could not sell the soaring cryptocurrency.
Why No One Noticed the Scam?
The popularity of the altcoin could also be influenced by the fact that large media outlets like the BBC, CNBC, and Fortune had started promoting it. However, the world media did not draw the reader’s attention to the fact that the entire project could be a fraudulent scheme and had nothing to do with Netflix.
This could give the SQUID legitimacy in the eyes of a newbie investor, especially given the explosive growth of the coin’s value. And not only in the eyes of newbies. Luke Hartford, described by Wired magazine as a seasoned crypto trader, decided to play the game despite all the signs of a fraudulent scheme.
Hartford compared SQUID with a DOGE coin, which had also been initially perceived as a joke but then turned into the tenth largest digital currency by market cap. That’s why the trader decided to take a risk with SQUID.
When Hartford decided to try to withdraw the earned funds, which then amounted to almost $1 million, the creators of SQUID withdrew $3.6 million from the platform, bringing its value to almost zero. As it turned out later, the scammers swapped SQUID for Binance Coin and simply disappeared.
Hartford got off easy. The trader lost $300 due to fraud, while an investor from Shanghai named Bernard lost all his savings of $28K. Bernard sadly stated:
My rush to buy this token is for a single idea that went into my brain that ‘Squid Game’ is very, very popular now, and its token must be popular now. It’s a tragedy. I don’t know how to recover from my loss.
By the way, the Binance crypto exchange has begun its own investigation of the incident and promises to transfer the obtained information to law enforcement agencies.
How to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Crypto Scams?
In such cases, as with SQUID, there is one very simple piece of advice — carefully check the project before making any investments. Cryptocurrency is a very trendy and resonant topic, so it is not surprising that scammers will try to make money on it.
In the spring of 2021, the Mando cryptocurrency appeared briefly, parasitizing the popular Star Wars TV series ‘The Mandalorian.’ A popular tiktoker Matt Lorion, who has more than a million subscribers, started actively promoting the shitcoin.
When it turned out that Mando was a fraudulent scheme, Lorion apologized and said that he himself invested $10K in the digital currency, which he then lost.
When it comes to investing money, security should always be the top factor to consider. From the minute you choose an investment asset to the moment you start exchanging, every step of the process has to be secure.
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