Coinbase's QR Code Super Bowl Ad Crashed Their App

Coinbase had a seemingly simple Super Bowl ad with a QR code directing viewers to its website, but the company was not prepared for its success. On Sunday night, the cryptocurrency trading app went offline for a while due to the increased traffic, according to a report by The Verge. In spite of this hiccup, Coinbase's signup offer is apparently still valid.

Coinbase offered a reprieve from the flashy action and celebrity cameos of this year's Super Bowl commercials with what basically amounted to a screensaver. It was a play on the old bouncing DVD pause menu meme, but with a QR code bouncing slowly around the screen for 60 seconds instead. That code took some viewers to the Coinbase app where they were offered $15 worth of Bitcoin for free for signing up. For others, it showed an apology from the company for the lagging site.

"Well, that was more popular than we thought," the error page read. "We need a quick time out, but don't worry. We'll email you when things are back to normal." The webpage even tried to keep things light with a doge meme, invoking crypto users' beloved Dogecoin in the process.

At the time of this writing, Coinbase is working again and seems to have stabilized. New users can still get $15 worth it Bitcoin for free from Coinbase in exchange for signing up for the app. No purchase is required, but users must sign up by 12:30 p.m. PT on Tuesday, Feb. 15, and they must verify their identity. Existing Coinbase users can also log in to enter a drawing for a $3 million cryptocurrency giveaway.

The fact that the website and app crashed may be a good sign that at least people were interested in checking out the promotion. However, many may not have known what they were getting into since the QR code was unexplained until the very end of the ad. Coinbase is a service referred to as a "crypto wallet," allowing users to store and trade their cryptocurrencies in one account.


Of course, many people are still wary of cryptocurrency as the untested technology experiences hiccups in its worldwide adoption. Cryptocurrency is ostensibly a decentralized, untraceable form of currency, but so far it has functioned more as a speculative investment since it became widely available. Judging by the direction lawmakers are going in cryptocurrency legislation, that is not likely to change any time soon.