Learning Zero Trust from Squid Game

Netflix’s Korean drama series Squid Game has recently gained popularity because of its bizarre storyline – a survival game where participants need to clear each stage for money, and their lives. Unfortunately, it’s also inspired real-life crypto consequences.

Since taking the world by storm, different commercial industries have created Squid Game products, from fashion to toys and apps, to ride the hype. It also prompted cryptocurrency developers to create a brand with its namesake.

SQUID started trading hot, launching with a whopping 2400% price run-up in its first 24 hours and a market capitalisation above 130 million GBP.

SQUID used the crypto play-to-earn platform which is trendy nowadays with the likes of Axie Infinity and other highly curated non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The SQUID token mimicked the game itself, which consisted of six children’s games. But unlike its TV show counterpart, it apparently did not involve any gruesome consequences.

Also, unlike the show which capped the grand prize at 28.6 million GBP for the lone final winner, the crypto game virtual simulation said it wouldn’t limit the final prize, nor the winners. However, the stakes did not come cheap; a NFT to be able to join the final stage was 25,000 GBP.

A sensational start in October intrigued fans and prompted whale crypto investors to pour into SQUID in the hopes of a promising trading portfolio. However, it was criticised for not allowing holders to resell their tokens.

Then, the rug pull.

In early November, the rug pull happened. This scam happens when a cryptocurrency token draws in buyers, stops trading activity, and runs off with the money from sales. To put it simply, the developers abandoned the project.

Earlier on, their website already contained critical premonitions such as several spelling mistakes. Despite having multimillions at their disposal, they were still unable to hire content managers to straighten grammatical blunders.

When the rug pull incident happened, the website and its social media accounts went offline as well – there goes the only credible proof that the coin was indeed legit.

Meanwhile, the online role-playing game Roblox also went down for a good 48 hours causing havoc amongst kids, but their PR team quickly pacified the frenzy with outage announcements. See the obvious difference.

Now, instead of rocketing to the moon (lingo for a vertical increase of token value), “hodlers” (hold on for dear life, a.k.a. holders who wish to stay with the token for a while and choose not to trade) are now left with nothing.

With the rise of cryptocurrencies following the legendary Bitcoin, as well as fast-growing NFTs, everyone needs to be mindful of what’s real and what’s not when it comes to how we invest with our digital wallets.

Not only are the digital coins volatile, but so is its market.

As crooks exploit Squid Game in various ways, security researchers have discovered a poisoned app masquerading as a wallpaper downloadable in Google Play. Detected with the Joker malware, it was downloaded at least 5,000 times before its takedown.

In mid-October, there were already a couple hundred of Squid Game apps in the leading android digital marketplace, with one harmless app passing 1 million downloads. Imagine if that would have been infected; with the show’s wide fanbase, who knows how many would fall for it.

As twisted as Squid Game’s plot is, our digital world is filled with dubious acts and threats of different sorts. We should use this as a point of reflection, ensure we all stay in digital safe spaces, and remain logical when dealing with transactions online.

Like Squid Game, our daily online lifestyles pose a similar situation where we get to decode which steps keep us from trouble. We need to be keen on red flags, as wrong choices may forever haunt us, or worse, take a toll on our living.