Crypto exchange Binance announced a multi-year partnership with social media influencer Khaby Lame, whose signature hand gesture helped him garner more than 142 million followers on TikTok and 78 million on Instagram. Khaby is currently the most followed creator on TikTok.
The influencer joins Binance as the company’s global ambassador and will participate in campaigns aimed at boosting global crypto adoption while addressing misperceptions around Web3. He will also launch exclusive NFT collections.
According to Binance, Khaby will provide “bite-sized crypto education, delivered in classic Khaby Lame style, topped off with his signature ‘Khaby move.’” Binance founder and CEO, Changpeng Zhao (CZ), who frequently imparts his knowledge in the form of short tweets, said Khaby was “good at explaining things in a simple way.”
"I've been curious about Web3 for some time, and jumped at the chance to partner with a leader like Binance because it aligns perfectly with what I usually do: make complex stuff easy and fun for everyone,” the influencer himself said in a statement.
First video is in, but misperceptions are yet to be tackled
Khaby’s first video on Binance is already live. It’s unclear what misconceptions it is debunking.
In the video, Khaby awkwardly dons a black Binance superhero costume and rushes to help a frustrated woman who can’t seem to figure out how to Google, or, as the video reads, Boogle, “WTF is Web3???????”. She gets a bit frustrated.
Khaby reaches her, grabs her laptop and proceeds to advertise Binance. Then, the “Khaby move” comes along and the woman is saved. Khaby, back in his poolside outfit, relaxedly strikes off a task in his Binance notebook.
The partnership with Khaby has at least as much to do with advertising as it does with education. Binance has been busy striking deals with celebrities for months now, and other exchanges have seized on the same strategy. It's not hard to do, as partnerships of this kind usually entail some benefits for the star as well. An NFT collection to get fans to engage further while also shelling out, for instance.
And so in February, CZ’s company partnered with the BWT Alpine F1® team, entering the world of racing. Weeks later, a smaller crypto exchange OKX onboarded McLaren stars Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris.
Then, Binance dwarfed OKX with the news that Cristiano Ronaldo, arguably the most popular football player in the world, was to release multiple NFT collections on Binance. The NFTs won’t be available anywhere else.
Celebrity partnerships also help soften big crypto companies’ image in the eyes of potential customers who have yet to purchase their first batch of crypto.
The strategy builds on encouraging statistics about the growing number of crypto-curious people in both developed and developing countries. According to Gemini’s Global State of Crypto report based on a 2021 survey, 41% of respondents globally admitted they were either interested in learning more about the space or likely to acquire cryptocurrency in the following year.
In the case of Binance’s partnership with Khaby Lame, an Italian of Senegalese descent, the move could also signal the exchange’s intention to diversify its team of ambassadors in a bid to become more approachable to potential customers in Africa, a continent where crypto is quickly gaining traction. The partnership comes weeks after the Central African Republic announced it would make Bitcoin legal tender.
Khaby is also likely to get through to a younger, predominantly male crowd, something that partnerships with racing stars and Cristiano Ronaldo suggested was Binance’s goal. Despite more and more women entering crypto, young men remain the most promising target group for companies like Binance, even as retirement plans featuring crypto are making headlines. According to a report by the Pew Research Center, in 2021 about 43% of men aged 18 to 29 in the US said they already have some experience trading crypto, compared to 19% of women in the same age box.