The buyers of a curious cryptocurrency stamped Squid Games were unpleasantly surprised to learn that it was a scam.
Since cryptocurrencies colonized the digital landscape, everyone has seen that it is a particularly volatile market. Those who invest in currencies known as Bitcoin know for a fact that sometimes their wallet hangs on a tweet from Elon Musk, and it is not uncommon to see microcurrencies explode or disappear within hours. This is also what happened to the buyers of a new cryptocurrency stamped Squid Games.
When the SQUID token appeared last week, it didn’t take long for its price to skyrocket; not surprisingly, knowing the popularity of Netflix’s latest planetary cardboard box. Riding the popularity of the Korean series, its creators dangled an online version of the contest; in theory, users could have put this currency into play in a virtual equivalent of the events in the series.
A concept that seems to have appealed to many curious. In a few hours, the price of this cryptocurrency soared from around € 4 to € 2,446. The promise of frenzied high-stakes games… except that nothing went as planned. For buyers, it even turned into a disaster.
According to CoinMarketCap, shortly after this peak, investors began to receive nebulous emails in very broken English. In these messages, the creators explain that they have decided to simply go out of business. The reason given? They feel “depressed by crooks” and “overwhelmed by stress”. A few empty promises and apologies later, the ax falls, and the price begins to drop at breakneck speed. As of this writing, each token is now worth… 0.00315 dollars.
Several warning signs ignored
Looking back, it is now clear that this was a bona fide scam. Because the price did not collapse on its own. After seeing that the fish had bitten off the hook, the creators quickly decided to convert their chips into real money. Obviously, this had the effect of killing the market value of SQUID and trapping investors.
There were, however, many signals that were all ignored, starting with the project website. This has since been deleted, but it is still available as an archive. It had magically appeared three weeks earlier, which is already cause for suspicion. In addition, it was apparently riddled with faults and suspicious turns. More importantly, according to the BBC, buyers had no way to resell their SQUIDs, which is a Tier 1 red alert.
In any case, the moral of this story is still the same. Cryptocurrencies are a potentially very profitable market for savvy investors; but they are also a formidable bait, thanks to which crooks can extract small fortunes from their victims. Admittedly, in this case the editing was quite crude. But the web is also populated with real scam artists, capable of confusing even sophisticated users. It is therefore advisable to remain cautious, insofar as cryptocurrencies have surely not finished colonizing the world economy.