New Delhi: Investors lost millions of dollars in a matter of minutes after ‘Squid Game’ – the popular Netflix survival series- inspired cryptocurrency turned out to be a scam. The Squid cryptocurrency collapsed on Monday, but the hucksters who managed to in-cash the popularity of the show made an estimated $3.38 million (roughly Rs 25.3 crore) profit. After reaching a peak value of $2,861, according to CoinMarketCap, the currency tanked to just $0, and the investors lost all their money.
Launched last week amid huge suspicion, the cryptocurrency, called Squid, began trading at a price of just one penny per token. In the following days, it drew attention from a number of mainstream media outlets. By early Monday, it was trading at $38 a token on a cryptocurrency exchange called Pancakeswap.
The three-week-old website, which is now defunct, had grammatical mistakes and several weird spellings, which should have been the red flags for investors who have been scammed. The most conspicuous way to know that the Squid Game cryptocurrency was a scam was its website – SquidGame.cash. There was also a Telegram channel for the people engaging in the Squid trade but it did not allow comments from anyone but creators – another red flag. The crypto’s social media accounts also disappeared at once.
But the biggest red flag was when investors began facing trouble selling their Squid tokens on the platform. With the spike in the cryptocurrency’s value last week – which can be mostly attributed to the bumper coverage in mainstream media, the doubts that the token could be a part of a scam began to deepen. In a 10-minute span later on Monday, the token’s value grew from $628.33 to $2,856.65, according to CoinMarketCap, a crypto data tracking website that even warned investors against putting their money into the currency telling them to “please do your own due diligence and exercise caution while trading”. Then, five minutes later, it traded at $0.0007.
The Squid Game cryptocurrency was only a front for a very common theft practice in the crypto world, called a “rug pull”. Rug Pull is when the creators of cryptocurrency cash out the coins for real money, possibly when the prices have hit an all-time high – which was more than 310,000 per cent in the case of the Squid cryptocurrency. After this there was almost no liquidity in the exchange for any further trade, hence, the investors do not get to sell their coins.