Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase was forced into an outage after its ad during Super Bowl LVI between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals brought about a surge in traffic.
The Nasdaq-listed firm's debut in the most expensive commercial airtime slot on the U.S. advertising calendar prompted "more traffic than ... ever encountered," Chief Product Officer Surojit Chatterjee said in a tweet.
Coinbase had to "throttle traffic for a few minutes," Chatterjee tweeted at 8:17 p.m. ET. According to Downdetector, users had been experiencing problems accessing the exchange since 7:20 p.m. The exchange announced on its main Twitter account that it was back up and running at 8:23 p.m.
With viewership in the U.S. consistently around the 100 million mark over the last decade or so, commercial airtime during the National Football League's annual championship showpiece is among the most sought after in the world. The price of a 30-second Super Bowl ad slot on NBC was reportedly around $6.5 million – up around $1 million from last year – with some slots costing as much as $7 million.
Read more: Ads of the ‘Crypto-Bowl’
This year, for the first time, Super Bowl viewers were shown ads from a number of crypto companies. Along with Coinbase, crypto exchanges FTX and Crypto.com and eToro all appeared during commercial breaks. FTX's ad featured comedian Larry David while Crypto.com's starred National Basketball Association legend LeBron James.
Coinbase spent as much as $14 million on its ad, which featured a QR code bouncing around a black screen for its full 60 seconds. Viewers who scanned the QR code were taken to Coinbase's site, where they were invited to sign up and receive $15 in free bitcoin plus the chance to win $3 million in prizes.
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