The Brave project – based on blockchain – aims to clean the sea of the Web from the pollution of unwanted advertising. To do so, it has created a new browser, Brave Browser, capable of blocking advertisements, malware and trackers. If you want to use it, just download it and start browsing. It also gives you BAT every time you use it.
The issue of privacy has become a central problem in our daily lives. Every time we surf the Internet or use a smartphone application, we are giving away personal data. This data is used to profile tastes, shopping habits, passions, spending power, and is used to tailor advertising to us.
But who is behind all this? Who are the players involved and who benefits from this? Only by answering these questions can we understand the novelty introduced by Brave and decide whether to use it to benefit from its blockchain model.
The Players on the Web
Before anything else, there’s us, the users. Every day we open our browser (Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Mozilla) or an app and go online for various reasons: reading an article, buying a train ticket, listening to a playlist, looking up a recipe. We use it to write to friends, post our photos and update our social profiles.
Copywriters, bloggers, influencers, YouTubers and companies create the content we read, listen to or view every day. Brave Browser focuses on websites that provide content, such as a newspaper or a blog. Brave classifies these types of sites as ‘publishers‘ precisely because they publish content.
Publishers (or content creators) make money by selling advertising space on their sites. Companies buy that space hoping that, while you are browsing, you will be attracted to the advertisement. By clicking on them, they trust that they will convince you to buy their products or services.
The current configuration of the Web, functional as it is, has grey areas that we need to be aware of.
The Web: a Polluted Sea
Surfing the web is becoming increasingly tiring, slow and intrusive.
Ads chase us on every site, we are blindsided by pop-ups, and banners make it difficult to read content.
On average, each of us downloads over 2000 advertisements and trackers per day. Advertisements consume 21% of the battery of our devices and cause a huge slowdown in loading web pages.
Ad networks track our search activity (e.g. with cookies) and sell it to be used in new advertising. While this allows us to receive only advertising that we are interested in, it is often too intrusive and our data is managed in ways we cannot always control.
Privacy is about individual autonomy. Knowing who you are and what you like empowers you to a certain extent. So, in a very concrete way, protecting your privacy gives you the freedom to be yourself and make your own choices without any bias: from buying a cream to voting in the next election.
Not everyone knows that alongside normal advertisements, malicious advertisements can often be found, this phenomenon is called malvertising. Some of these are created by hackers to steal sensitive information. Others involve fraudulent activities. Brave Browser is literally a ‘shield’ that prevents these kinds of advertisements from ‘landing’ on your computer.
There are a number of problems with this current model that are also harmful to publishers and advertisers.
- Advertising sites can take up to 70% of the advertising revenue from content creators who sell this space on their sites.
- Content creators are driven to accept advertising on their sites in order to maintain them, as they have no other source of income (their content is free of charge most of the time).
- companies that pay advertising sites to place their ads don’t have the certainty of intercepting a truly interested audience.
The Solution: Brave Browser and BAT
Brave is changing all that. It wants to abolish the looting of personal data, give back control to the user and fairly remunerate advertisers.
In other words, it aims to make the Web:
- faster → lighter loading of web pages
- more secure → no more malvertising
- more private → no collection of your data
This is possible thanks to two elements:
- Brave, the browser on blockchain
- the Basic Attention Token, best known as BAT
The project creates a virtuous circle, where the best pages and content are rewarded and encouraged to pursue their work, because they are supported by the community of users.
The name of the token recalls the paradigm shift proposed by the project: “the product” is not your personal data, but your attention. What Brave does is to reward you for the actual attention you show by watching an advertisement.
As an intermediary, it uses your surfing habits to offer you advertisements that it has saved in an offline catalogue. Everything you do while browsing is used by Brave to optimise the advertising proposals it sends you via notification. If you want to delete your ‘profiling’, you can do so at any time. Most importantly: your data never leaves Brave. The advertisers do not have any information about the users who liked their advertising.
Who created Brave Browser and BAT?
Together with Brian Bondy in 2017, he closed a $35 million ICO in 30 seconds, selling over 1 billion BAT.
The remaining $500m was set aside to encourage user growth and fund the development team.
Proceeds from the token launch are used for the development and growth of the platform. In addition to the token launch, the project is funded by several US funds.
The Brave Browser
Brave is built on Chromium, Google Chrome’s open-source project, so that all its extensions are compatible without having to create a connection to Google in the background. It also offers a number of powerful pro-privacy features such as Tor-Browsing. Brave is available on Android, iOS, Windows, macOS and Linux.
Here’s how the 3 players of the web use Brave:
- Users: the Brave browser to surf the net
- Content Creators: the Creator dashboard
- Advertisers: Brave account services to launch ad campaigns
To track BAT’s circulation, Brave uses the Brave Micropayments Ledger. Brave Micropayments Ledger enables advertisers, publishers and readers to enter into smart contracts to transfer payments between them, with the aim of providing anonymity to the parties involved in online media transactions.
Where can I buy BAT?
You can buy BAT tokens on exchanges such as Young Platform. This makes accessing its ecosystem faster and easier.
In the future, the Brave team wants to take BAT beyond the web browser, into messaging applications, games and social networking.
How to earn BAT with the Brave Rewards
BAT: the new money of the Web
Brave integrates the BAT token for 3 purposes:
- Brave Ads: a system that allows users to see advertisements and be paid in BAT tokens for each ad they see.
- Tips: a system that allows users to make a donation in BAT tokens to their favourite websites and content creators.
- Auto-contribute: an optional system that allows users to automatically distribute BAT tokens to websites they visit, based on the amount of time they spend on their content.
How does BAT work?
While you are browsing, Brave alerts you about offers or advertisements that might interest you, and you can view them by clicking on them. They are notifications, so they don’t intrude on your browsing and you can turn them off.
When you view an ad chosen by Brave, you are rewarded with 35% to 70% of what the advertiser paid for the advertising space. The amount of BAT you earn is calculated according to:
- how long the ad is visible in the active tab
- the number of pixels of the ad in proportion to the number of pixels that make up the rest of the page content
You can also earn BAT by clicking on an ad or notification, which takes you to a new tab that hosts only that ad. Here the attention value is measured simply by the time you spend viewing the ad.
Brave loads major news sites up to six times faster than Chrome, Safari and Firefox on mobile and desktop devices.
If you particularly like a site, podcast or blogger and want to support it, you can buy BAT and fund it directly. Alternatively, donate the BAT you have accumulated by watching the advertisements. To make a donation, just click on the BAT icon in the Brave address bar, and select how much you want to send.
BAT tokens will soon be redeemable for premium content, gift cards and other services.
Privacy and private browsing
By selecting incognito browsing, Brave allows you to open a private page with Tor. Other browsers claim to have a ‘private mode’, but this only hides your history from other users using your browser. Tor not only hides your history, but masks your IP address from the sites you visit by routing your browsing through several servers before it reaches your destination. These connections are encrypted to increase anonymity, so not even your internet provider can see what sites you visit.
Brave’s machine learning helps it to select ads from its catalogue that might interest you. These are created in collaboration with verified companies and brands with whom Brave does not share any sensitive data. Brave itself distributes the advertisements to its users privately. Thanks to Brave, your browsing habits never leave your browser.