Following the monumental success of Netflix’s Squid Game, which has become the streaming service’s biggest series launch of all time, there’s now some cryptocurrency tie-ins cropping up, apparently inspired by the show.
The show centers around financially destitute South Koreans who are recruited by a shadowy organization to participate in a macabre contest. The 456 competitors are promised a life-changing sum of $38 million if they succeed in a series of children’s games. But the catch is if they lose, they die.
Both of the cryptocurrency tie-ins are related to the Binance Smart Chain Network.
According to a report from News18, a Squid Token is on the Binance Smart Chain and has been developed and is inspired by the show. According to its website, players and Squid Token holders will have the chance earning Ethereum cryptocurrency.
The token doesn’t appear to be created directly by Binance, who has launched their own social media-centered “Whale Game” in which contestants on Twitter compete to win $50,000 in Binance Coin (BNB), the blockchain’s own cryptocurrency. The Whale Game doesn’t involve a token, however.
The Squid Token also involves a game of sorts, as well, centering around the top pre-sale holders being given a chance to apply for a prize pool which “will be 2% of the amount raised on the presale, and 10 of you will be able to participate in the games in the application and 3 of you will split the prize pool. All you have to do is play and survive,” the token’s website said.
According to CoinMarketCap, the Squid Token has surged in value by more than 2,000%. Having started out at a value of $0.088 per token, it was sitting comfortably at around $2.23 at press time.
Token Vs. Coin: What’s The Difference?
Some may be wondering just what a crypto token is as opposed to crypto coins. According to the blog Liquid, crypto coins are a form of digital money, with which users can buy tokens representing assets or deeds. Users can buy tokens with coins, but some tokens can actually become more valuable than the currency itself, though there may be restrictions on where you can spend a token.
Should You Trust Binance?
For those who may be leery of investing in cryptocurrency, there may be good reason for that. Though Binance boasts the largest exchange of daily trading volumes of cryptocurrencies, according to Investopedia, it has also faced a number of regulatory actions around the world.
Originally based in China, the company has since moved its headquarters to Malta, which is part of the European Union. The move was in response to the Chinese government’s increasing regulation of cryptocurrency.
In terms of its relationship with other countries, Binance is also currently under investigation by both the United States Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service on allegations of money laundering and tax offenses, as has been reported in Bloomberg and other outlets.
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In addition, there have been reports of fraudulent Squid Game apps flooding users’ phones with malware, with some reporting an unsavory connection to Binance Coin (BNB) as well. According to TechRepublic, some online games purporting to be digital versions of Squid Game are supposedly offering 100 BNB (approximately $48,000 USD) as the grand prize. The user is then asked to sign over personal data, resulting in identity theft and malware infection that will only collect more personal data if not found and stopped. It’s unclear if Binance has officially endorsed any of these malicious apps, however, but the cryptocurrency’s association with them is certainly not a good look either way.
Suffice it to say, there is no indication whatsoever Netflix has endorsed the Squid Token as an official product of the franchise, either.
Regardless of whether Binance’s business practices are on the up and up, some are still taking umbrage with the very notion of cryptocurrency and tokens, even when they are lawfully operating their business.
An example of that can be found in the controversy surrounding celebrities, such as Lil Nas X, associating their image with TikTok non-fungible tokens (NFTs)—albeit, in a capacity largely unrelated to Binance.
The Ethereum-backed TikTok NFTs, in which you can buy video clips that essentially contain the artist’s digital signature of authenticity, are associated with social media celebrities like Bella Poarch, Gary Vaynerchuk, Curtis Roach, Grimes, Brittany Broski, FNMeka, and Jean Marciante.
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Though some have lauded NFTs as a way of putting the power back in the hands of artists, the problem many point to is that Ehtereum and other cryptocurrencies allegedly may have an adverse effect on the environment.
According to CBS News, Ethereum’s yearly energy consumption is comparable to that of an entire country, for instance. This has to do with cryptocurrencies often being “mined” by computers that must solve increasingly difficult math problems, essentially, meaning many digital miners often set up farms running hundreds or thousands of computers 24/7 in vast warehouses. That’s a problem for those who care about limiting humans’ output of carbon emissions and exacerbating global warming.
We can’t say we can wholeheartedly recommend buying Squid Tokens or getting involved with Binance without at least doing a bit of research on your own, but we hope we at least gave you a good jumping-off point for that. But we can fully endorse watching Squid Game on Netflix — assuming you are old enough to handle its graphic content, as it’s a fine example of well-crafted storytelling.