The latest Squid Game scam is a doozy. Someone had the bright idea of using the show’s name for a new cryptocurrency — known by the trading moniker SQUID — and it’s managed to jump in value from about $0.01 a week ago to nearly $8.00 today. In the last 24 hours alone it’s gone up 267 percent.
The only problem: As far as we can tell, there’s no way to actually cash in on those profits. It’s easy enough to buy SQUID, but, as Gizmodo points out, selling it is impossible.
And um, okay, actually, it looks like there may be more than one problem. By that, we mean that, in the course of writing this piece, we found there are actually two cryptocurrencies using Squid Game as their namesake, both with very similar play-to-earn premises — both almost certainly scams.
Pancake Flop — Gizmodo’s deep dive focuses on a token simply going by “Squid Game,” which uses the trading symbol SQUID. As a new, unverified cryptocurrency, most big-name sites like Coinbase won’t touch something like SQUID. That makes buying it a little trickier — and far more dangerous.
SQUID is being traded via a platform called PancakeSwap, which is basically like an indie version of the mainstream trading sites more people are familiar with. Anyone can create and distribute a new cryptocurrency on PancakeSwap.
Because it’s so easy to use, though, the site is also very susceptible to scams. PancakeSwap doesn’t guarantee anything about your transaction will be legitimate. In fact, CoinMarketCap has even gone as far as to add a warning to the top of the SQUID trading page:
We have received multiple reports that users are not able to sell this token in Pancakeswap. Please do your own due diligence and exercise caution while trading! This project, while clearly inspired by the Netflix show of the same name, is unlikely to be affiliated with the official IP.
And some other bright red flags — The currency’s website is just absolutely flooded with oddities and warning signs. Take, for example, the site’s large banner claiming “Elon Musk Shilled For Squid Game, $SQUID To The Moon.” The banner links to a tweet where Elon simply mentions Squid Game. Nothing about the currency. Not even a little bit.
One section of the site is dedicated to some sort of game that’s ostensibly in the works, whereby anyone will be able to “win” SQUID tokens by playing. There is no evidence that this game, which seems central to the token, will ever exist.
Wait there are two? — At least two. Gizmodo’s investigation focuses on SQUID; that token’s official site can be found here. A number of notable publications, including BBC, Insider, and CNBC have reported on this token with little to no skepticism.
While looking through the replies to Musk’s Squid Game tweet, a reply from an account called “Squid Game Token” stood out for its thousands of likes and retweets. At first this seemed to be further evidence for SQUID’s con artistry — but the Twitter account actually linked to a different Squid Game crypto project.
This project, which goes by “SquidGameToken” and trades under the moniker SGT, is currently worth much less than SQUID — just $0.00008 at the time of this writing. In almost every other regard, though, SGT is exactly like SQUID. Its official website claims users can win SGT by playing a game — the difference here being that SGT’s game is apparently already in beta. Clicking the download link leads to a Turkish hosting site that just screams of malware.
SGT’s Twitter presence is also very strange. This one isn’t closed off to comments, but almost every tweet warns users to “stay away from scam projects and fakes.” And there appear to be many bots replying to the account’s tweets with identical affirmations that this is a “very awesome and great project.”
Neither of these projects exudes any sense of legitimacy. The fact that there are two of them — and, perhaps, more we haven’t found yet — only underscores how very easy it is for anyone with a basic understanding of the crypto space to choose a catchy name and ensnare unsuspecting victims. Plenty of people are innovating with crypto as their bedrock, but picking out the real projects from the scams is like stepping into a minefield.