Since Netflix’s Korean survival series Squid Game became the platform's most successful original drama debut, the show has been immortalised in memes and Halloween costumes – but also in cryptocurrency.
A Squid Game cryptocurrency mysteriously appeared in late October and saw its price quickly skyrocket to more than $2,000 in a matter of hours after investors pumped the price to soaring highs.
But investors quickly found themselves stuck with Squid Game tokens, unable to sell it on exchange PancakeSwap, as the price rose rapidly before falling to $0 in a matter of minutes, as developers behind the coin deleted social media accounts and its website.
Here's what the controversial Squid Game cryptocurrency is, the price it rose to before its huge drop and what happened.
What is Squid Game cryptocurrency?
The Squid Game cryptocurrency, trading as Squid, was launched as the cryptocurrency of a crypto play-to-earn platform called the ‘Squid Game project’ paying homage to the hit Netflix series.
"The Squid Game project is a crypto play to earn platform on BSC chain inspired by the Korean hit series on Netflix about a deadly tournament of children's games,” says the project’s official Telegram channel with almost 90,000 members but none able to reply to posts from founders across channels.
Apparently set to be revealed in November, according to CNBC, the Squid Game project pledged to let players compete in a virtual simulation of the games featured in the notoriously violent and tense survival series – except with no deathly recourse, limit on the number of players or prize money, which in the Netflix show is some 45.6 billion won (~$38.7 million).
The Squid cryptocurrency was also reported to be used as the official currency of this project, with participants having to pay for entry fees, NFTs of characters and more exclusively with the Squid Game coin.
It was built on the Binance Smart Chain blockchain network administered by crypto exchange Binance, which supports smart contracts allowing developers build their own decentralised applications with access to Ethereum tools and manage crypto assets with reduced latency.
BSC runs in parallel to the regular Binance Chain network.
The Squid Game cryptocurrency’s Twitter account @GoGoSquidGame references the Netflix show’s first episode, known as ‘Red Light, Green Light’ in English, which reads:
"Mugunghwa flower has blossomed.
"Are you ready to participate in the Crypto Squid Game on BSC Chain?"
Trading on crypto exchange PancakeSwap, Squid was trading up by almost 2,400% on Thursday 28 October
As of 28 October, Squid was already up nearly 2,400% on the previous 24 hours as meme and alt coins such as Shiba Inu coin enjoyed a burst of popularity with investors.
What happened to Squid Game cryptocurrency?
Between Sunday 31 October and Monday 1 November, Squid prices continued to soar from $38 to more than three times that by Monday morning, as investors complained that they were unable to sell the cryptocurrency and forced to hold or ‘hodl’ ahead of a huge price pump on Monday.
On Monday morning, the Squid Game token had skyrocketed from $91.34 at 7.20am to $2,856.64 at 9.35am.
But within ten minutes, at roughly 9.44am, Squid’s value plummeted to just $0.0008329 in value and continued to fall thereafter.
The coin saw its price drop by 99.99% on Monday morning, with the cryptocurrency currently trading at $0.003359 as of 4.25pm on Tuesday.
Have Squid investors been scammed?
Such a sudden drop, combined with the disappearance of ‘the Squid Game project’ website and some social media channels, has led many to conclude that the enterprise can be easily identified as a scam.
The creators have posted in their official Telegram channel that “someone is trying to hack our project", claiming that both the project’s Twitter account and smart contract has been hacked – leading to an ‘abnormal price’ of Squid coin.
But many crypto analysts and experts have dismissed this, with the ‘rug pull’ of the currency, its promotional materials and the closed-off nature of its communications indicating that the cryptocurrency showed signs of a scam which should have been recognised in earlier stages of reporting by major media outlets.
The alleged crypto scam appears to reflect the grim reality of the world savagely shown in Netflix’s official series, with contestants attempting to escape cycles of debt and poverty by fighting their fellow contestants to the death for money and the entertainment of wealthier members of society.
What is a ‘rug pull’?
Crypto data platform, CoinMarketCap, has been displaying a message on its Squid Game cryptocurrency page warning users about investing in the coin which warns of “growing evidence that this project has rugged.”
The alert says: “We have received multiple reports that the website and socials are no longer functional & users are not able to sell this token in Pancakeswap.
“There is growing evidence that this project has rugged.
"Please do your own due diligence and exercise extreme caution.
"This project, while clearly inspired by the Netflix show of the same name, is NOT affiliated with the official IP.
The term ‘rugged’ or ‘rug pull' is one used in crypto to describe when a coin or currency suddenly has its support withdrawn or is removed from a decentralised asset or cryptocurrency without warning.
It is a tactic routinely deployed in crypto scams - allowing developers to abandon their product and simply take investors’ funds without recourse.
These can be more commonly seen in decentralised exchanges where cryptocurrencies can be listed more easily and without the oversight or audits present in centralised exchanges such as Coinbase.