Coinbase Site Crashes From Traffic as Super Bowl Ads Spark Public Interest

Coinbase’s promotional page, website and app went dark on Sunday following the showing of its ad during the NFL Super Bowl — one of a handful of high-profile crypto commercials that aired


Larry David critiques coffee in this frame from FTX’s Super Bowl ad


key takeaways

  • Coinbase’s site and app reportedly shut down briefly on Sunday following an influx of interest from its Super Bowl ad, though the site and app are back online and functioning as normal
  • Super Bowl ads featured an array of companies, from FTX, eToro, and more

Coinbase’s platform and app were temporarily forced offline on Sunday after it debuted its $14 million ad during the Super Bowl.

The ad, which features a floating QR code box bouncing around the screen for 60 seconds, directs to a promotional page on its website offering new users signups $15 in bitcoin. The ultra-minimalist retro-styled ad evoked early computer or console games from the 1970s and ’80s.

Shortly after the ad went live to hundreds of millions of homes in the US, Twitter users began reporting issues connecting to the exchange’s website and app. It is the first ad Coinbase has spun up for the sporting event.

The mishap calls into question Coinbase’s stability during times of large site traffic. The platform shut down on several occasions over the last two years, following erratic trading and subsequent dips in bitcoin’s price.

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The issue, which lasted just minutes, has since been resolved, and users can now access the website along with the promo page which features messages including “Less Talk, More Bitcoin” and “WAGMI.”

At press time, Coinbase was experiencing issues with Google Pay and directed customers to use alternative payment methods, according to its status page.

While the influx of interest briefly forced the platform’s website and app offline, Coinbase’s Chief Product Officer Surojit Chatterjee tweeted Sunday that Coinbase had experienced “more traffic” than it had “ever encountered,” resulting in engineers having to throttle traffic.

“We are now back and ready for you,” Chatterjee said in his tweet. “Humbled to have been witness to this.”

Other industry Super Bowl ads

A variety of industry participants were also present during the ad breaks at the Super Bowl.

Comedian, writer, director and actor Larry David was featured in an ad for crypto derivatives exchange FTX, comparing the platform to famous inventions throughout history:

As part of the campaign, FTX promised four viewers who retweeted the official tweet of the ad will win 7.54 bitcoins — the commercial aired at 7:54 pm ET.

The exchange featured a skit with basketball star Lebron James imparting wisdom to his younger self:

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Championing “social investing,” eToro’s ad depicted a swarm of flying retail traders set to a cover of “Fly Me To the Moon” — the classic 1950s ballad by Bart Howard made famous by Frank Sinatra during NASA’s Apollo moon missions.

Canadian exchange Bitbuy ran an ad with its own sports star, Kyle Lowry, while Facebook and TurboTax marketing buys also touched on crypto.

Last year, Super Bowl LV generated $434.5 million of in-game ad revenue, with an average price of around $6.5 million per 30-second segment. For every dollar spent for the coveted prime time slots, an average return on investment of $4.60 was received — more than four times the initial spend, according to data by provider Kantar.

Macauley Peterson contributed reporting for this story.

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