After a meteoric rise, a cryptocurrency inspired by the Netflix series Squid Game spectacularly nosedived into oblivion this week with its value plummeting to near-zero. While it’s not totally clear what went on, some have reported that its developers have jumped ship and run away with the funds in what appears to be a “rug pull” scam.
SQUID crypto coin is (or should we say, was) a "play-to-earn" cryptocurrency where people bought tokens to play an online game based on the South Korean survival drama Squid Game. In the hit series, hundreds of cash-strapped contestants are forced to play a string of deadly games based on kids' playground pastimes. However, the coin was never officially affiliated with the Netflix series.
The coin was only launched last week, but it instantly generated hype and attention — featuring in articles by BBC, CNBC, Business Insider, and others. The value of each coin quickly rose to around $38 by the last day of October 2021, according to CoinMarketCap. Then, within a few hours of Monday, November 1, the value shot up to $2,856 before crashing to less than $0.01.
The website SquidGame.cash has since disappeared and their Twitter account has been temporarily restricted. In a message posted on its Telegram channel on Monday, the creators of SQUID said the developers do not want to continue running the project as they are “depressed from the scammers” and “overwhelmed with stress.”
By all accounts, the creators have gone AWOL. This has led many to assume that the creators have pulled a “rug pull,” in which the creators of a crypto project suddenly cash out their virtual coins for real-world cash or another cryptocurrency of value, causing its price to plummet.
According to BscScan, an address “reported to have been involved in a rug pull of SQUID” exchanged heaps of SQUID coin in exchange for Binance Coin (BNB) on November 1. Gizmodo estimates the anonymous creators have made off with an estimated $3.38 million in total.
There were a few red flags that highlighted SQUID might not be all it was touted to be, primarily the fact that it didn’t let people resell their tokens. Nevertheless, the creators’ convincing website and a steady stream of free PR from mainstream media outlets meant that many bought into the coin — and now they’re unfortunately paying the price.
“I lost all of what I have in this project,” one investor who had bought $5,000 worth of SQUID, told CoinMarketCap.
“I guess this will serve as a valuable lesson for me to not just jump into meme coins,” another added. “I am not blaming anyone except myself, but I think there must be some mechanism to avoid this in the future, and for news outlets to stop giving attention to these scammer-type tokens.”