The word “meta” has evolved into online gamer talk for using knowledge of a game to cheat other players, in addition to serving as a buzzword for being self-referential. So the week that Facebook changed its name to Meta was exactly the right time for the hit series “Squid Game” to inspire a crypto token sale that soon turned out to be a scam to cheat would-be players of an online game based on the show. Remarkably, the Squid Game scammers actually showed an understanding of the SEC’s crackdown on token sales since 2017 and recent crypto developments such as decentralized finance (DeFi).

The boom of the token sale was as meteoric as the rise of the series itself, and so was its bust. The Oct. 26 launch of the sale of SQUID tokens became an overnight sensation, with the tokens rocketing in value more than 230,000% (!) by Nov. 1. Then, the value of SQUID plunged to almost nothing after the token sale website disappeared, revealing the game and the associated token sale to have been a fraud.

The now-defunct SQUID token sale website, from Archive.today

The SQUID token sale website was so amateurish in appearance that it is difficult to believe that anyone (e.g., a news reporter) could have seen it as genuine. But despite its simplicity, the site appears to reflect an understanding of the SEC’s enforcement actions against similar sales since 2017. The sale marketed SQUID as a utility token for playing an online game, not as an investment. As a result, there is a…

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