Quick reads

Introduction to blockchain-based browser Brave

by Blocks99

11 months ago

Potential blockchain applications are virtually unending. A recent example is a blockchain-based browser that came as a surprise to many – and might just turn the online advertising market on its head.

Many niche browsers promise to free the user of irritating advertising, yet only one blockchain-based browser so far has offered a completely different proposition: users choose whether or not to view advertising and, if so, earn blockchain-based tokens for their attention. The Basic Attention Token (BAT) was conceived by Brendan Eich, one of the architects of the browser Firefox. It could become a game-changer.

Online services like the Google search engine or Facebook earn money by selling advertisement space. Revenues from online advertisement have now overtaken television commercials. In 2016, Google netted US$ 79bn in ad money while Facebook earned US$ 27bn. That adds up to a staggering sum by any measure, but it seems especially over-the-top if you consider the hit-and-miss nature of the approach. Most digital marketing information consists of popups, banner ads or other content we can click away or simply ignore. But of course, Facebook alone currently boasts more than 2.4 billion users – close to 30% of the world’s population – which is a very difficult figure to ignore.

The online advertising ecosystem

Before looking more closely at Brave’s blockchain-based browser concept, let’s consider the current setup in online marketing. When you watch a video on YouTube, for example, an ad appears before it begins. You are the user, wishing to view content. The person who posted the video is the publisher, wishing to attract traffic and potential advertisers. The company that created the ad is the advertiser, wishing to sell products and services. The platform – in this case, YouTube – tracks private data and Internet searches and, with the help of behavioral scientists, tries to predict your interests and present you with advertisements to match.

The system is not only ethically questionable, but also profoundly flawed. Users have no reason to watch the ads and the platforms take away most of the revenue from publishers and advertisers – with no way of verifying that they are getting value for money. Here is where blockchain-based Brave enters the scene.

Transparency and speed

Blockchain technology can offer transparency, privacy and decentralization by connecting publishers and advertisers directly with consumers – no middlemen needed. The underlying BAT is a digital advertising token built on the Ethereum blockchain. Brave is an in-house native browser integrated with the BAT system. 

The Brave blockchain-based browser constantly monitors the content a user spends the most time on, and pays publishers accordingly. The blockchain records the data, rendering manipulation virtually impossible. Brave also constantly measures the attention value of each ad, calculated based on the incremental time the ad is in view and the number of visible ad pixels. Using machine learning, Brave shows users only those ads they want to see. Browsing history is kept private and third-party trackers are blocked automatically. All this adds up to make Brave considerably faster than most browsers.

BAT adoption

Users agreeing to view ads receive BATs, which they can pass on to publishers as support for their content. In addition, users could spend the tokens to access premium content or special site features. As of March 2019, the Brave app was downloaded 20 million times from the Google Play store. In August 2019, Brave became the most downloaded browser in Japan, surpassing popular alternatives including Firefox. It may have a long way to go before it can contend with the globally leading browsers (Firefox has been downloaded 100 million times worldwide), but Brave has clearly made a mark – and set an example others may follow. Download Brave and explore the most popular blockchain-based browser in the market.

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