Crypto exchange Coinbase is forced to throttle traffic after its viral QR-code Super Bowl ad briefly crashes its website

Coinbase listed on the Nasdaq in 2021.

Crypto exchange Coinbase said it was back up and running after its Super Bowl ad giveaway crashed its website.
The Super Bowl LVI ad featured a QR code bouncing around a screen, offering $15 in free bitcoin for new signups.
Coinbase’s website couldn’t handle the huge amounts of visitors the ad prompted, forcing it to throttle traffic.

Crypto exchange Coinbase said its services were up and running again, after it was forced to throttle traffic to its website thanks to a viral Super Bowl ad spot on Sunday.

Coinbase released a 60-second commercial during Super Bowl LVI, which featured a QR code bouncing around like a retro screensaver. If users activated the code, it took them to a page on the exchange’s website offering $15 in free bitcoin if they set up an account.

Yet Coinbase, a publicly listed crypto exchange, said that it had to limit traffic after the ad drove a huge amount of visitors to its site.

“@coinbase just saw more traffic than we’ve ever encountered, but our teams pulled together and only had to throttle traffic for a few minutes,” the company’s chief product officer, Surojit Chatterjee, said on Twitter on Sunday evening. “We are now back and ready for you.”

Twitter was awash with people complaining that they couldn’t get through to the website, soon after the commercial aired.

“It’s beyond me how a billion dollar company is unable to build servers that prevent a website crash,” one user posted.

Others noted Coinbase’s history of crashes and glitches, and said the company should have done more to prepare. One said: “C’mon @coinbase, you crash on a normal Tuesday! You know you couldn’t handle this!”

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However, the advert’s simplicity also won praise. Billionaire investor Mark Cuban tweeted: “The QRcode ad with no copy was brilliant.”

This year’s Super Bowl was a landmark moment for cryptocurrency commercials, with exchanges FTX and also advertising their products. The game, in which the Los Angeles Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals, was played at LA’s SoFi Stadium, named after another digital asset-capable exchange.

Coinbase’s 60-second ad is thought to have cost around $14 million, with CNN reporting that a 30-second spot was going in the region of $7 million.

The crypto exchange’s stock was down 2.3% in pre-market trading to $189.98. It has tumbled more than 45% from a November high of above $350, mirroring the sharp fall in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

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