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Squid Game
via Netflix

The creators of a Squid Game cryptocurrency scam have made off with £2.5m

Less ‘Squid Game’, more damp squib

A cryptocurrency inspired by the South Korean Netflix phenomenon and anti-capitalist allegory, Squid Game, has lost nearly all of its value and has been revealed to be a scam.

Squid, a ‘play-to-earn’ cryptocurrency, had seen its value skyrocket by thousands of per cent in recent days – last Tuesday (October 26) it was trading at one cent, and in less than a week it surged to over $2,856 (£2,094). However, it turned out to be less Squid Game, more damp squib as it’s value has now plummeted to zero.

Buyers were prevented from converting their tokens into real world currencies, and shortly after its launch the developers made off with $3.38m (£2.48m), according to Gizmondo. Take that crypto-bros.

‘Play-to-earn’ cryptocurrencies are a form of token bought in online games, which are normally exchangeable for other cryptocurrencies or real-world national currencies. As this privilege was not afforded to buyers of Squid, they were effectively paying its developers for nothing in return.

This form of scam is referred to as a “rug pull” in the crypt-bro world, when the promoter of a currency draws in investment and makes off with the money. In this case, the Squid currency was going to be usable in a game based on the TV series, due to be released this month. 

Crypto experts warned that the Squid currency had telltale signs of being a scam, notably many grammatical and spelling errors on its website, and the fact that it was not exchangeable for other currencies. Economist and author Professor Eswar Prasad told the BBC: “It is one of many schemes by which naïve retail investors are drawn in and exploited by malevolent crypto promoters.”

He added: “In fact, open pump and dump schemes are rampant in the crypto world, with investors often jumping in with eyes wide open, perhaps hoping that they can ride the wave and dump their holdings for a quick profit before prices collapse. Nowadays new coins can be listed on decentralised exchanges on the first day they are created, without any regulation or due diligence, so you could be buying coins from anyone with any agenda.”

Meanwhile, the hit TV series is responsible for 99 per cent of Halloween costumes this year, and also genuine labour movements in South Korea calling for better working conditions. On October 20, tens of thousands of workers took to the streets in protest of better conditions and a higher minimum wage, dressed as the black-masked guards from the hit Netflix series.

A real-life Squid Game also recently took place in Abu Dhabi, where – thankfully – there weren’t any killings (or a multi-million cash prize).