Mariella Moon·Associate Editor
A cryptocurrency inspired by Squid Game successfully enticed enough investors to see its value soar to over $2,800… before its creators cashed out and vanished. The cryptocurrency called $SQUID, which wasn’t officially sanctioned by Netflix, launched in late October and rose up to 310,000 percent in value within just a few days. It was sold supposedly as a way to play an upcoming online game based on the South Korean series, in which people buried in debt are forced to play a deadly game.
At 5:40AM on Monday morning, however, the coin’s value plummeted to $0, its website disappeared (you can view an archive here) and its Twitter account got blocked. As Gizmodo explained, its creators staged what’s called in the crypto world as a “rug pull,” wherein the coin’s creators cash out for real money and disappear. The scammers may have made off with as much as $3.38 million.
There were multiple signs that the cryptocurrency was a scam from the start — people merely missed or ignored them, perhaps due to the promise of a game based on the popular Netflix show. Its website was riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, and as Gizmodo pointed out, people were able to buy coins but weren’t allowed to sell them.
This isn’t the first time a coin based on a pop culture phenomenon was launched, and it won’t be the last. While some may be legit, those interested to invest in them will have to keep an eye out for signs of fraud. Just earlier this year, a cryptocurrency based on The Mandalorian turned out to be a scam, as well.