The SQUID coin is set to make a comeback one year after one of the biggest rug-pulls in crypto history, but developers are still at large.
The SQUID coin launched on Binance SmartChain last year to much fanfare, rekt more than 40,000 investors as it rose from $0.01 to about $3,000 in six days, then plummeted to zero.
SQUID developers rug-pull
Developers released the SQUID project while a Netflix show called Squid Game was rapidly growing in popularity and targeted GenZ and millennial investors looking for quick returns. Netflix confirmed that the project is not officially affiliated with the show.
According to Katherine Wooler at U.K. crypto company Dacxi, the team capitalized on the Netflix show’s focus on games. In Squid Game, cash-strapped adults play children’s games for the chance to win a cash prize and gain worldwide fame. Similarly, the developers attracted investors by offering a play-to-earn game where they could earn marbles needed to sell their SQUID.
After the coin price skyrocketed, the developer team behind the project drained all liquidity, making off with about $3.3 million. One Twitch streamer caught the rug-pull on a live stream in real-time. In the video, the coin’s market cap dropped from $2.2 trillion to almost zero instantaneously.
Developers disappear after using Tornado Cash
The project had numerous red flags, including a website replete with grammatical errors and an anti-dump mechanism that made it harder to sell SQUID coins.
At the time, the CEO of Exodus, J.P. Richardson, said this last bit should have alerted investors.
“If your money has to be locked up, that made it pretty clear it was a scam,” he said at the time.
Not long after the developers launched the project, they apparently took the website down. They also stopped communicating using most social media. They later posted a Telegram note claiming a hack.
“Someone is trying to hack our project these days. Not only the Twitter account but also our smart contract… Squid Game Dev does not want to continue running the project as we are depressed from the scammers and [are] overwhelmed with stress.”
Tech publication Wired said they had sent an email to a support address in the project’s whitepaper, which also went unanswered.
BscScan, a Binance Smart Chain blockchain explorer, identified eight wallet addresses linked to the scam. One of the addresses, holding five percent of all SQUID in circulation,
swapped $3.38 million of SQUID to BNB before sending the funds through crypto mixer Tornado Cash.
Crypto exchange Binance launched an investigation into the project using a forensics tool and said they would report any findings to law enforcement.
To date, neither Binance nor law enforcement has not identified the team behind the rug-pull.
SQUID is expected to pump soon
Still, one year on, the SQUID coin, despite having no team, continues to be traded speculatively. It has a market cap of around $4.1 million. A community now runs the project, according to CoinMarketCap, and is fully decentralized. According to one Reddit user, investors believe that SQUID’s price will increase significantly on the first anniversary. Another user said this might happen when season two of the Squid Game television series comes out.