Basic Attention Token and the Brave Browser
Most people will agree that the invention of the internet has been a net positive for the human race. Both the convenience it brings to our lives, and the availability and diversity of knowledge and websites available are astounding. Whatever you need, or need to know, is right there at our screens.
Whether it is on our phone, our laptop, our monitor or even our smart TV. It is everywhere and we use is always. However, the availability and our dependence on it have not gone unnoticed. Companies are getting an increasingly larger amount of knowledge about their users, sometimes anonymous sometimes not so much, and the ways in which they are gathering our data are getting more sophisticated with every passing year.
It’s standard now for websites and apps to ask for our current location, even when our whereabouts have got nothing to do with the website or app itself. Cookies and tracers are checking everything we do and sometimes, whether it may seem paranoid, we get the idea that our microphone and webcam are secretly recording our every move. Big tech companies are harvesting everything we do and see on the web .
Browsers that are getting regular updates to improve our browsing experience may seem to be available to us for free, but it’s only free because we are the product ourselves. Our data is being sold at enormous prices to the biggest bidder. Although new laws and rules are made regarding online privacy, people often simply click ‘Accept all’ to advance towards an article they intend to read, or a webshop to browse products, not knowing what they have agreed to.
In the meantime, we are being influenced by a huge amount of advertisements, with most websites having more space for ads than for what the website is supposed to be for.
Browsers are fighting a cold, and sometimes not so cold, war among themselves. They understand how important it is to keep, or increase the number of consumers leaving behind their breadcrumbs of data willingly.
In the process of keeping your experience as good as it can be, your current browser are getting regular updates. Consumers think it is just to keep up with the latest technological advancements. What most people don’t know is that behind the scenes, they are implementing all kinds of trackers and cookies which are taking an ever-greater toll on your computer, sometimes gobbling up an excessive amount of memory, bandwidth and, general computing power.
The internet appears to have become a double-edged sword, something that a couple of smart, freedom and privacy-loving people decided to change.
A new browser has been developed which eliminates a ton of the above mentioned issues. It’s private, it values your attention, it’s fast and it even has a built-in incentive for both content consumers and creators.
The Brave Browser
The Brave browser was first shown to the public in January 2016 and was initially met with mixed reactions by the press. Its main focus was the ad-free experience and its fast loading times. Obviously, most sites that are dependent on income from those ads weren’t too fond of this new development. It’s high point? The CEO of the American Newspaper Dave Charn publicly calling out the Brave browser illegal and sending a letter to the Brave browser offices. Top-level people going public to tell something about your start-up often gives a good sign that you’re onto something spectacular.
4 years since its first release the Brave browser has made some ripples in the browser space, and official numbers state that there are now 8.7 million active users browsing via the Brave browser. And that’s not without reason. Brandon Eich started developing a new browser due to him being fed up with his, and his families’ experience while browsing the (mobile) web. Eich wanted to improve speed, battery life, the network bill, the data plan bill, the clutter and annoyance and creepy feeling of being stalked by ads and decided to make a better browser. Furthermore he wanted to change the current advertising model where a lot of excess fees are being paid to third parties, that’s where Basic Attention Token, or BAT comes in, but we’ll cover that later on in this article.
(for more insights regarding why Brandon started this project we recommend you check out his interview with Peter Mccormack)
Brave Browser unique selling points
Brandon Eich already gave a sneak-peek regarding the features that make the Brave browser unique, but we’ll dive a bit deeper into its features here.
First and foremost the Brave browsers excels at privacy. Currently, while browsing the web, you are being attacked by a huge amount of different trackers. Website tracking is the practice by which data is collected about a person’s behavior online, and while it’s not always 100% evil, it rarely is in the users’ best interest. Brave has invented the Brave Shields. Shields helps with reducing the number of trackers tracking you. It’s a lot more than that though. Shields is also a build-in adblocker, makes it difficult, or impossible for cookies to track you, and blocks malicious code and sites (for example the ones that secretly try to mine crypto’s using your hardware!). Brandon’s team has tried to make browsing the web safe again, and while it will probably remain a never-ending battle to stay a step ahead of newly created malicious tech, rest assured that it’s miles ahead of its competition.
Besides privacy, the Brave browser reigns supreme in the speed department. Because Brave Shields has a build-in ad and tracker blocker, sites are able to load up to 6x times faster than competitors. Most sites are flooded with ads in different sizes and types. Images, video’s and Gif’s take up the largest chunk of the loading time. Not having to load these makes a big difference.
The above-mentioned assets are enough to recommend the Brave browser above other browsers, but the reason why Brave is revolutionary, and why we dedicated time to writing this article, is because it’s the first browser that combines blockchain technology and cryptocurrency with browsing the internet
The team that created the Brave browser is also responsible for Basic Attention Token. A cryptocurrency that is destined to be the link between Internet users, advertisers, and publishers.
Basic Attention Token (BAT) has been developed to improve the current old advertising model which not only has been set in its ways for decades but also has an ever decreasing return on investment on the advertisers’ money spent. Furthermore, we see that advertisers are having a harder time each year to get through all the newly installed adblockers online. To counter this we see ads getting more intrusive, with publishers giving more space to advertisers on an annual basis. Youtube now forces users to watch multiple ads before being able to see a video, sometimes forcing 2 to 3 ads between 3-minute videos, severely hindering the user experience.
Websites are trying to earn their part of the advertising budget by enabling more spaces on their site to be available for ads, placing them in their video items and sometimes even offering popups, again severely hindering the user experience. Since ads are getting so intrusive often the exact opposite of the desired result occurs. Consumers can get so annoyed with how these ads are presented that they start to dislike the brand showing the ad.
BAT’s goal is to flip over this system and search for a more sustainable and fairer system. In essence, the ideal marketplace ridden of all obsolete intermediaries, that will benefit all 3 parties: the User, the Advertiser, and the Publisher.
How does Basic Attention Token benefit the User?
The Brave team acknowledges that the user, and especially its attention, is extremely valuable. Users are able to earn Basic Attention Token (which can be used or sold for any other cryptocurrency or FIAT money) simply by viewing privacy-respecting ads. We already mentioned that the browser is private and will not sell your data to advertisers, it does, however, use a machine-learning algorithm to ensure you are only being shown ads that resonate with you. These ads can be turned on or off. If you want to earn some extra funds while browsing then enable them if you want an ad-free browsing experience then turn them off. It’s that straight forward.
The second party involved are the Content Creators and Publishers, how do they benefit?
People’s attention will only go where their needs are met, whether this is a blog site, a news site, a video platform or any other type of website. The Brave browser tallies (only on your local device storage) where users spend the most time, and once a month Brave Rewards will send the appropriate amount of BAT based on users’ attention to the publishers’ wallet. Users can choose which sites they want to support, exclude ones they dislike and can even tip publishers directly with their BAT.
Publishers aren’t limited to their own websites. Social media accounts can be verified by Brave, users can support their favorite streamers on Youtube and Twitch, and users can send Tips to content creators they follow on Twitter.
Getting verified is easy enough for everyone to do, and we recommend everyone that has a site or social media account to do it!
All of this is done anonymously, we cannot stress the fact that the entire Brave ecosystem values privacy enough.
The third party that benefits are the Advertisers.
Advertisers should be immediately drawn into, and interested by, the prospect of getting a substantially higher ROI by investing in the Brave browser. Since all regular ads are being blocked, and users have to physically accept seeing Brave ads by pressing a button, ads that are being shown to the Brave users are actually seen by their audience. The algorithm makes sure that people see ads they find interesting. Users aren’t bombarded by 15 ads at the same time, and they don’t come over as being intrusive. Users accept the ads because they also get some rewards for watching them.
This, and in essence the entire Brave ecosystem, is a gamechanger and revolutionizes the way people will use the internet. An entire new Attention Economy has been created where everybody seems to get a better result. The economy connects all players: Users get paid for watching ads and can reward their favorite content creators, better content gets rewarded by higher revenue and advertisers can bypass adblockers and get the desired result.
However, for most people, this is merely a nice side-affect. Far more interesting for everyday consumers is the Brave browser experience itself. The fact that you will now be able to browse the web in a private and secure fashion alone can be a gamechanger for many. Top that with the ability to earn some funds if you do decide to watch some ads (only with your consent), finally valuing your time and attention should be the dealmaker. Furthermore, content creators and websites can start earning Basic Attention Token by getting verified accounts, and the more people using the browser will result in higher rewards for the content creators, in the process creating a flywheel effect with an ever-increasing rate of adoption.
The Brave ecosystem is showing how cryptocurrencies can create new economic models and incentives, and it’s one of the first projects providing people with tangible benefits of blockchain technology. We expect that in a couple of years people will find it normal to be rewarded for their time spent on a website or other medium, and Brave will either be the main browser people will be using, or it will have laid the groundwork for future projects. Whatever may become the standard in years to come, at this moment Brave Browser is by far the best option available.
Not yet using the Brave browser? simply click this link to get the right version. After downloading you can easily import your current bookmarks and settings!