Unusual tokenomics left investors who bought SQUID trapped — meaning they had no choice but to watch helplessly as the token's value surged to $2,800 and crashed to $0.0007.
With Squid Game rapidly becoming Netflix’s most popular series ever, it was inevitable that altcoins inspired by the hit TV show would follow.
But even then, there were signs that something was amiss. CoinMarketCap had received multiple reports of users struggling to sell SQUID on the decentralized exchange PancakeSwap.
A token that’s surging in value has little use when its owners are unable to sell it.
Unfortunately, many of the articles published about SQUID failed to make it clear this token is not officially affiliated with Netflix — giving it a sheen of respectability that may have lulled investors into a false sense of security.
Headlines discussing its surging value will have contributed to a fear of missing out — spurring crypto investors to get their hands on the token in the hope of astronomical gains.
Then Nov. 1 happened.
SQUID owners have told CoinMarketCap how they had little choice but to watch helplessly as the token’s value rose. An anti-dumping mechanism that was imposed by the project’s developers meant they could not sell.
This is a classic sign of a rug pull, where developers abruptly abandon a project — taking their investors’ funds with them.
CoinMarketCap has been sent screenshots from a Telegram group that appears to be run by the people behind the Squid Game token.
On Monday morning, a message from the administrators claimed that they weren’t responsible for the disruption:
“Someone is trying to hack our project these days. Not only the Twitter account but also our smart contract.”
The message, in broken English, continued:
“Squid Game Dev does not want to continue running the project as we are depressed from the scammers and is overwhelmed with stress.”
The post declared that the project “will enter a new stage of community autonomy” — but it’s unclear what this would entail.
And it concluded by offering an apology for “any inconvenience” — hollow words for those who have ended up losing money by purchasing SQUID tokens.
One victim told CoinMarketCap that they were drawn in by the project’s website because “it seemed pretty decent and legitimate.”
However, they were surprised when they learned of the “anti-dumping mechanism,” which in hindsight now appears to be more of an anti-selling mechanism.
Here’s the problem: the project’s creators didn’t just create one token, they created two.
The other cryptocurrency is called Marbles — and this asset can only be earned by taking part in the project’s play-to-earn game. Only those who have accrued Marbles actually have the ability to sell their SQUID on the open market.
To cut a long story short, the project is the ultimate definition of a lose-lose situation. Investors had a choice of doing nothing and being left with a worthless token, or throwing good money after bad — deepening their losses in an attempt to claw their initial investment back.
Given how the website is now offline, even playing the game isn’t an option anymore.
‘I Lost Everything’
SQUID’s inflexible tokenomics has caused many investors to lose a lot of money.
Describing Monday’s brutal crash, one SQUID holder told CoinMarketCap:
“The price was multiplying at an abnormal level. And as I was staring at my computer screen, I watched SQUID fall down in a matter of minutes. There was no way to withdraw my funds intact.”
They said they were drawn in by news outlets that gave attention to SQUID — and that this additional marketing made them feel that the project was genuine:
“I guess this will serve as a valuable lesson for me to not just jump into meme coins … I am not blaming anyone except myself, but I think there must be some mechanism to avoid this in the future, and for news outlets to stop giving attention to these scammer type tokens.”
“I don’t trust in them anymore,” he added.
Crypto investors are regularly encouraged to scrutinize a project’s website to see whether information about the founders is prominently displayed.
Squid Game’s website did this — naming David Kanny as CEO. He was described as a University of California Irvine alum who had five years’ experience at Netflix, but no LinkedIn profile exists.
Searches for other named executives — Mabel Jah, Kevin Sam, Christian Abbigail, Daniel Jolia and Lawrence Dan — also drew blanks on Google.
In the Netflix show, Squid Game depicts characters who are willing to put their lives on the line for a better financial future.
But for those who put their money on the line by investing in SQUID, any hope of a better financial future has now been lost in the blink of an eye.