The Weeknd and Binance Enter the Metaverse
The digital experience arrives amid The Weeknd’s Binance-sponsored, “crypto-powered” world tour, which is currently in Europe.
Cryptocurrency exchange giant Binance and pop artist The Weeknd have launched a specially created online space called the “Metaverse Dimension,” in an expansion of the pair’s ongoing partnership.
Users of the web-based game can take part in a treasure hunt challenge designed to unlock exclusive areas, content, and rewards, and “bring The Weeknd’s creative world to life in a new way,” per a press release. In practice, it’s a simple 3D experience in which players can explore a glossy world adorned with imagery from The Weeknd and Binance.
Those entering The Weeknd’s metaverse will get an avatar and virtual outfit, styled in campaign imagery and branding. Areas in the game include a club room, an art gallery, a Binance-themed zone designed for Web3 and crypto “education,” and a secret door. Completing challenges will unlock access to a VIP area and a stage, as well.
Binance says that users who solve puzzles integrated within the digital experience can potentially win tickets to future Weeknd concerts, along with exclusive merchandise. The exchange will also have augmented reality (AR) experiences available during stops of The Weeknd’s current world tour.
The move adds an extra dimension to the partnership the pair had already announced in 2022. Binance is sponsoring the artist’s After Hours ‘Til Dawn world tour, which began in July 2022 in the United States and Canada and has now expanded to Europe this summer. Latin American dates have been announced for this fall.
Other crypto elements in the Weeknd/Binance partnership come via an NFT collection co-designed by the Toronto-based HXOUSE community incubator. Concert-goers will also receive a virtual ticket stub that can be redeemed for commemorative NFTs.
Binance said last year that it would donate $2 million to the XO Humanitarian Fund, which The Weeknd formed in his role as a United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Global Goodwill Ambassador. The pair also noted plans to collaborate on future NFTs and donate 5% of sales proceeds from the collection to the fund.
Binance is the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume. It also operates an NFT marketplace. An NFT is a token that serves as a proof of ownership to an item, and they’re often used for digital goods like artwork and collectibles. The NFT market swelled to $25 billion worth of trading volume in 2021 and nearly matched that tally again in 2022.
While still the largest exchange by a considerable margin, Binance has faced increasing regulatory scrutiny of late. Earlier this month, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a lawsuit against Binance and its co-founder and CEO, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, for alleged securities violations. Binance is fighting the claims.
This isn’t the first time The Weeknd (real name Abel Tesfaye) has flirted with Web3. In 2021, he released an NFT collection on the Nifty Gateway marketplace, and also joined the board of directors for NFT platform Autograph. The latter platform was co-founded by NFL star Tom Brady, and The Weeknd ultimately released his own Ethereum NFTs through it.
The Weekend also joined celebs like Will Smith and Marc Anthony in investing in Everyrealm, a firm that invests in and develops virtual NFT land properties in metaverse video games like The Sandbox and Decentraland. He also previously performed a virtual concert on TikTok in 2020 that pulled in more than 2 million viewers.