in Asset Explainers, WTF, Learn
Another Monday morning in crypto, another altcoin that crashed to 0 after taking just a few days to increase in price by over 280,000%.
Flashback to the start of last weekend, when I received 2 WhatsApp messages from acquaintances asking me if they should invest in Shiba Inu Coin.
I also received a 3rd message, that took me by surprise. A link had been sent, which contained the mysterious yet recognizable symbols of a circle, a triangle and a square.
What do you think? asked the message, with a link to the SQUID cryptocurrency, newly spun off from the global Netflix phenomenon.
Should I invest in squid game crypto? Is it not worth a bet to try and catch this crazy popularity?
It never fails to surprise me that these messages, asking advice on highly speculative meme coins (or sometimes outright crypto rug pulls) always seem to come from friends who are otherwise wary of crypto itself.
Friends who had previously declined suggestions to store a little of their money in Bitcoin, say, or Ethereum, on the basis that crypto is too risky. Maybe, like with the eponymous Squid Games themselves, it's the genuine thrill of risking it all that secretly brings some of us back?
Some people argue that meme coins are harmless fun that act as a gateway for new investors to learn about more "serious" crypto projects. But what of the sudden glut of Squid Game Cryptos (I counted at least 5 on Coinmarketcap); are they also just a bit of fun, or a product of something more sinister?
Let's have a look at how to dissect the anatomy of a crypto exit scam, before we go aping into them like a South Korean gambling addict who is down on his luck.
Squid Game (SQUID) cryptocurrency
So the best place to start is usually CoinMarketCap or CoinGecko. Here, I saw that the squid game crypto coin came into being just a few days prior, on 26th October. We can see that the price action so far has been a strangely linear and uninterrupted uptrend, why is that? (Spoilers coming later).
On CoinMarketCap, we can also see that the token is only available for exchange on PancakeSwap, a Binance-based DEX which has saved a lot of people from Ethereum gas fees, but which also has little-to-no quality control of which tokens can be listed, and a historical affinity with crypto scams and rug pull projects.
A token being listed solely on one or two exchanges is usually a red flag (or a yellow flag at best).
Then we move onto the website, which gave us a list of "partnership" that the project has. Wow, impressive, right? They have "partnership" with Netflix to produce an official Squid Game Blockchain Game? But wait, I never heard anything about this in the crypto news channels, and a quick google shows me that there are no press releases about this. And even if the website did contain some quickly-rendered images of what the game could look like, these could just be a decoy, right? And who claims that they have "partnership" with CoinMarketCap and CoinGecko, when literally every project gets listed there? And what, Microsoft is already involved? WTF?
The team page also looked good at first glance. CEO, CMO, CTO. Much wow.
But wait, why don't these team profiles link to any Linkedin pages? And what kind of work title is "6-year experience?" What the hell does a "Self-Worker" do? Why is an occidental woman called Christian Abbigail? Shouldn't that be Abigail Christian? WTF?
This weird use of English reminds me of some of the awkward grammar in the original description of the project:
"SQUID is the only token can be used in Squid Game. You will need SQUID to participate into a game or get restart after you fail the game."
If the project has all these Anglophone people working for them, wouldn't someone have picked up on these typos before launch? Like, does Lawrence Dan from York University even care about the product he's putting out into the world? And what kind of Self-Worker is he if he doesn't?
And perhaps the biggest red flag of all, from the perspective of a cynical crypto old-timer, is when somebody who isn't familiar with crypto suddenly knows about this amazing new token that no-one else has heard of.
I suppose it does makes sense that if you want to get away with scamming the vulnerable, you have to make sure that they hear about your product before crypto nerds can get hold of it, and gleefully stomp your project's guts out all over Twitter and Reddit.
Anyway, in true crypto-style, the Shakespearian cycle of jubilation, love, ruination and tragedy all played out within the space of a week. The price rose monstrously from 0.01 cent to a price of $2856 dollars per SQUID, with the kicker (and the catalyst) being that token holders were not able to sell their tokens due to project's patented "anti-dump mechanism."
The price then plummeted to a fraction of a cent, as the project founders apparently decided to break their own "anti-dump" technology and exit scam this morning, on the 1st November. Investors are presumably left holding SQUID tokens that are now worthless.
Still, more Squid Game crypto coins remain on the market, including Squidanomics (created on October 22nd), SquidGameToken (which dubiously claims that you can earn ETH by holding the SGT token) International Squid Games ("a token that allows ANYONE and EVERYONE to become very RICH without having to compromise your life") and Squid Game Protocol (A loosely-defined "trading mechanism" that promises "the level of excitement people will endure will be like the TV Show").
All bar one of these projects are only for sale on PancakeSwap.
I did of course advise my friend NOT to put any of his money into any of the Squid Game crypto tokens. But it struck me that, in a funny way, crypto and Squid Game are perfect for one another.
If the machinations of society have chewed you up and spat you out to the extent that your appetite for risk is verging on the suicidal; if you're willing to risk it all on the promise of untold riches from anonymous, fly-by-night strangers; if being part of something, no matter how unhealthy, is preferable to the feeling of being part of nothing, then maybe, just maybe, squid game cryptocurrencies are for you.
But remember that in the series, as it can be also in the rat race of life, 456 people entered the game, and only 1 person came out victorious.
This article, "Squid Game Crypto hits Zero - Anatomy of a Rug Pull", is part of our "WTF" series, which takes an irreverent look at the murky and bizarre underworld of crypto culture.
Previous articles in the series:
A crypto connoisseurs's guide to the most ridiculous altcoins ever
This content is for informational purposes only and is not investment advice. You should consult a qualified licensed advisor before engaging in any transaction.