The South Korean series Squid Games was released on Netflix in mid-September and unexpectedly became the biggest hit of the year. A month after the show's launch, the streaming service reported that 111 million accounts had watched the series — an all-time record for the series. Netflix.
If you haven't watched the series yet, the plot is as follows: 456 people, each of whom are deep in debt and risk their lives to play a series of deadly children's games for the chance to win a cash prize.
Losers are not just kicked out of the tournament, but killed. Upon the death of each of those eliminated, a certain amount of money is added to the prize pool. As a result, the participant who survives to the end wins the top prize.
The scammers decided to take advantage of the incredible hype surrounding the series. They launched a cryptocurrency themed SQUID and a game based on the series. As a result, they managed steal over $3 million worth of users' cryptocurrencies, withdrew the cryptocurrencies and simply disappeared.
What is SQUID Token?
SQUID appeared in late October, when the Netflix series was at the height of its popularity. At the time, the price of a 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 cryptographic gaming platform to earn money. The anonymous creators of SQUID promised that, unlike the tournament organizers in the series, they would not limit the maximum jackpot size and the number of entrants. The creators promised:
The more people who participate, the bigger the reward pool.
There were six games on the platform, for access to which it was necessary to pay an amount in SQUID. It was necessary to pay 456 digital coins to access the first game and 15.000 to access the last one.
To withdraw the money earned in the game, the user had to use another type of token called Marble, which supposedly allowed the SQUID token to be freely traded. Users can get these tokens by playing games and purchasing them.
The project document states that 10% of the proceeds received will go to the developers, while the rest will go to the game's prize fund.
What Was Suspicious About Altcoin?
Anyone who actually went through the project white paper can be immediately alerted to the phrase that the more people who participate in the project, the bigger the prize. This is very similar to a typical pyramid scheme. One might call attention to the fact that comments on the project's Twitter and Telegram channel have been disabled.
But most of these oddities went unnoticed because, at its peak, the cost of shitcoin grew to nearly $2,9—several thousand percent in total.
The value of the SQUID rose on November 1st. However, a few days before that, users were unable to sell the growing cryptocurrency.
Why Did No One Notice the Coup?
The altcoin's popularity can also be influenced by the fact that major media outlets like the BBC, CNBC and Fortune have 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 SQUID legitimacy in the eyes of a novice investor, especially given the explosive growth in the currency's value.
And not just in the eyes of newbies. Luke Hartford, described by Wired magazine as an experienced cryptocurrency investor, decided to play the game despite all the signs of a fraudulent scheme.
Hartford compared the SQUID to a DOGE currency, which had also initially been seen as a joke, but later became the tenth largest digital currency by market cap. That's why the trader decided to take a risk with the SQUID.
When Hartford decided to try to withdraw the funds won, 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 exchanged SQUID for Binance Coin and simply disappeared.
Hartford got away easily. The trader lost $300 due to fraud, while a Shanghai investor named Bernard lost all of his $28K savings. Bernard sadly declared:
My rush to buy this token is due to a single idea that popped into my brain that 'Squid Game' is very, very popular right now, and your token must be popular right now. It's a tragedy. I don't know how to recover from my loss.
By the way, the Binance exchange has started its own investigation of the incident and promises to transfer the information obtained to law enforcement agencies.
How to Avoid Being a Victim of Cryptocurrency Fraud?
In such cases, as with SQUID, there is very simple advice — carefully check the project before making any investments. Cryptocurrency is a very modern and resonant topic, so it is not surprising that putschists try to make money from it.
The fact that SQUID is named after a popular TV series should raise suspicion. Furthermore, this case is not the first this year.
In 2021, cryptocurrency Mando briefly appeared, parasitizing the popular Star Wars TV series 'The Mandalorian'. A popular tiktoker Matt Lorion, who has over a million subscribers, began actively promoting shitcoin.
When Mando was discovered to be a fraudulent scheme, Lorion apologized and said that he himself invested $10K in the digital currency, which he later lost.
Conclusion About Cryptocurrency Scams
When it comes to investing money, security should always be the main factor to consider. From the moment you choose an investment asset to the moment you start trading, every step of the process should be safe.