Have you heard about the new Squid Game cryptocurrency? It’s up over 2,000% in the past two days, prompting news outlets like the BBC and Business Insider to write about the token. But unfortunately, it’s a total scam.
It’s extremely common for cryptocurrency scam artists to use brands from TV and movies, like the crypto scam Mando, launched earlier this year and named after Disney’s Mandalorian streaming show. Netflix’s Squid Game is the most popular streaming show in the world right now, so it makes sense that scammers would use the name without permission.
How do we know the Squid Game coin is a scam? You can put real money into the cryptocurrency, but there’s no evidence you can ever take it out. That’s simply known as theft.
The website for the new Squid Game crypto looks comprehensive enough, with sections about very official-sounding things like a white paper and an audit. But anyone who’s seen cryptocurrency rug-pulls before, like the Mando coin, will recognise the style. The website, available at the domain SquidGame.cash, was registered less than a month ago, on October 12.
The so-called white paper, which the BBC and Business Insider reference uncritically, is filled with poor grammar, bizarre spelling errors, and claims that are impossible to verify. The grammar of the second sentence in this “white paper,” is pretty much all you need to read to know something fishy is going on (emphasis ours):
The Squid Game project is a crypto play to earn platform inspired by the Korean hit series on Netflix about a deadly tournament of children’s games. There is no longer dystopian world where a mysterious organisation gathers people who are in large amounts of debt and “living on the edge”.
“There is no longer dystopian world,” indeed.
Other red flags include the fact that the Telegram channel set up by whoever’s behind this scam isn’t open to comments from outsiders. And even the Twitter account makes it impossible for regular people to reply to posts. It’s not clear who’s behind the new Squid Game coin, but you can hear the voice of someone promoting the crypto through a free give-away known as an “airdrop” on YouTube in a video published October 20. The email address listed at the Squid Game website did not respond to a request for comment from Gizmodo.
But the single largest red flag is the fact that people can put money in, but can’t take it out. You can’t buy Squid Game on mainstream crypto platforms like Coinbase and Binance. Instead, you need to buy the crypto through a service called Pancake Swap, which doesn’t guarantee any of the transactions that occur on the platform. Coin Market Cap has issued a warning that people who have purchased the coin, known as SQUID, are unable to cash out.
The website for the Squid Game crypto even includes a fake endorsement from billionaire Elon Musk, who hasn’t endorsed the cryptocurrency token, but instead was talking about the Netflix show. Cryptocurrency scammers often target fans of Elon Musk on Twitter, who seem to be some of the easiest marks on the planet.
The website claims there’s a Squid Game “game” which is “coming soon.” Again, the BBC promotes this unverifiable claim without so much as a hint of scepticism. It’s not until you get to the end of the BBC article that an expert is quoted, but simply to warn that crypto in general is risky.
Yes, all cryptocurrencies are incredibly risky, and arguably a scam in the broadest sense. But some people are making real money by trading crypto as a highly speculative asset. These same retail investors would not make any money buying this new Squid Game cryptocurrency, no matter how early you got in, because you’ll never make money if you’re not allowed to pull it out and convert it to fiat.
The “schedule” for the crypto’s rollout is also filled with red flags, including a claim that there will be “hiring for Asia and Europe Market.” What does that mean? You guess is as good as ours, but it’s almost certainly bullshit.
The creators of this coin are advertising the inability to sell as all part of the Squid Game “game,” and in some ways that’s absolutely correct. This new cryptocurrency really is like Neflix’s Squid Game in the sense that there are a small handful of people invisible to the contestants who are controlling the game. And everyone else is getting screwed.
Ironically, the only thing that appears to be “real” about this new Squid Game cryptocurrency is the existence of its NFTs. Non-fungible tokens are little more than links to a receipt for something online, and whoever’s behind this coin has set up an account at OpenSea, which allows people to sell NFTs. But obviously selling NFTs of jpegs are inherently a scam, no matter what its promoters tell you.
The price of SQUID is currently sitting at $6 AUD, according to Coin Market Cap, higher than other meme-coins like dogecoin which is trading at $0.29. But that doesn’t mean SQUID is actually worth anything. It simply means that a lot of people are about to lose a lot of money when the creators finally make off with all the cash.
Normally, Gizmodo wouldn’t want to give oxygen to crypto scammers looking to cash in on some easy money through visibility alone, but obviously this one is different. When the BBC, Yahoo News, Business Insider, and many more are all writing about it, scammers know they’ve succeeded at getting the attention they were after. But don’t buy this coin, whatever you do. We’d be shocked if the website was still up by Christmas.