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Coinbase Super Bowl Ad Crashes Its App

During the telecast of the Super Bowl on Feb. 13, 2022, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global, Inc. (COIN) ran an ad that generated such massive traffic that its app crashed. For a full 60 seconds, the ad consisted of a colorful bouncing QR code that, when scanned, brought the user to a promotional website where, as part of its "Less talk, more Bitcoin" campaign, new customers who sign up by Feb. 15, 2022, will get $15 worth of Bitcoin (BTC).



Although the Coinbase outage lasted only a few minutes, it sent the company's stock plunging by as much as 5% prior to the opening of trading on Feb. 14, 2022.2 However, Coinbase stock opened at $193.49, only marginally below the previous close of $194.53, and was up by as much 3.8% in morning trading, eventually settling back to a gain of roughly 1.7% by mid-morning.3

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase ran a Super Bowl ad that advertised free Bitcoin for new accounts.
  • The heavy response caused its app to crash for a few minutes.
  • Coinbase stock fell prior to the open on Feb. 14, 2022, but posted a gain in morning trading.

Super Bowl of Crypto

Other crypto-related companies also used the 2022 Super Bowl to promote themselves, their products, and projects. Among these were Crypto.com and FTX Exchange. Meanwhile, Meta Platforms, Inc. (FB), the parent company of Facebook, was one of several companies that decided to have some fun at Coinbase's expense.1

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Poking Fun at Coinbase

Shortly after the Coinbase ad aired, Meta's Quest account tweeted its own bouncing QR code that linked to a Foo Fighters-led virtual reality (VR) afterparty that it already had planned for after the game. The tweet said: "Hopefully this doesn't break."1

Those who tried to access the Coinbase app while it was down got a screen saying: "Well, that was more popular than we thought. We need a quick time out, but don't worry. We'll email you when things get back to normal."1

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