If you asked most people whether they enjoy sitting through online ads, most would say they don’t.
So what if there were a way to view only the ads truly relevant to you - and get paid for it?
Basic Attention Token, commonly referred to as BAT, is an ethereum-based token used to power the Brave platform — which is both a privacy Internet browser and a digital advertising platform.
So what is the basic attention token - and how is it used on the Brave platform?
First, let’s explore the…
Brandan Eigh is also the co-founder of Mozilla, and its Firefox browser.
Brendan has used his experience from his lifetime of projects to create a new web browser focused on revolutionizing the online digital advertising space and experience of web browsing as a whole.
Here’s how they’re doing it:
Brave is a different kind of web browser that is open-source, decentralized and totally private.
For example: If you do not like pop-up ads, trackers, and third parties spying on your activity, the Brave browser blocks all of this by default.
This gives users back their privacy, and also makes the Brave browser objectively faster. Especially on mobile.
In a speed test, it was found that Brave loads web pages 2-3 times faster on desktop and 8 times faster on mobile then other leading web browsers.
Besides protecting your privacy, another problem Brave tackles is the digital advertising industry.
The digital advertising space is filled with bots and middlemen like Google and Facebook taking 73% of all ad dollars and 99% of all growth in the digital marketing industry.
In the last year alone, bots caused $7.2 billion dollars in advertising dollar fraud. This is where BAT comes into play.
It creates a digital advertising space between users, publishers, and advertisers that doesn’t violate anyone’s boundaries or use anyone’s data without their permission.
Here’s how it works:
So the goal of Bat is to create a win-win-win situation between users, content creators, and advertisers.
You can download the Brave browser now, click on the ads, and start getting rewarded in BAT tokens for your attention right away. You can earn crypto for something you regularly do every day: surf the web.
Creators And Team
Brian Brundy - Co-Founder and CTO
Brian Brundy also played a big part in the development of Firefox, and also developed Khan Academy and Evernote.
Yan Zhu - Chief Information Security Officer
Zhu is on the list of Forbes 30 under 30, and was with Yahoo as part of its security team prior to moving to Brave. Zhu was also chosen to be part of the World Wide Web Consortium’s technical architecture group.
Greg Badros - Advisor
It should be noted that Greg Badros is acting as an advisor and board member to the project part-time.
Greg Badros has played a role as a software engineer building distributed systems at both Facebook and Google — the two companies who own the majority of the internet marketing space, and most people, including national governments, would agree they have overstepped their boundaries with regards to privacy. Greg Badros understands their systems because he helped build them.
Badros helped both Facebook and Google build their algorithms, and he understands the machine learning behind everything involved in how Facebook and Google collect, use, and sell data for digital advertising.
Brave/BAT Deeper Dive
BAT is a digital advertising cryptocurrency built on Ethereum’s network.
Its intent is to develop a method through which publishers, users, and advertisers can connect with one another in a decentralized environment.
The BAT token is how users, advertisers, and creators exchange their respective types of “value” over the Internet:
Users get paid for their attention in BAT when they get shown an advertisement. Creators receive a portion of ad revenue, and can get tipped in BAT as well. Advertisers pay in BAT to show their ads.
To complement the BAT token, the Brave team developed the Brave browser.
The Brave Browser
The Brave Browser records all your data -- only LOCALLY. Meaning your data never leaves your machine. And you retain ownership of 100% of it.
So instead of companies selling your data for a profit, YOU sell your own data to people who want to advertise for you in exchange for BAT tokens.
The Brave browser matches ads to users entirely locally -- on your computer only. It does this by using a machine learning algorithm without any tracking or data collection required outside of the data on your machine.
No hint of your browsing activity ever leaves your device.
In the Brave browser settings, you can adjust how often you see ads or choose to opt out of ads entirely. It’s all up to you.
By using the Brave browser, you earn up to 70% of the ad revenue in BAT coins, which you can then use however you’d like. You can choose which wallet your BAT tokens go into, but by default they are collected in a custodial wallet you have access to through the Brave browser.
What To Do With BAT Tokens
Once you’ve collected a bunch of BAT tokens, you can pass them on and tip your favorite content creators on Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, Vimeo, GitHub, and many more…
Or, you can use your BAT tokens to buy gift cards for Amazon, Walmart, and Uber among others through the TAP network.
Alternatively, you can exchange them for another crypto on an exchange. Or simply hold them long term. The choice is yours.
Brave Browser Adoption
The more people who use the Brave browser, the more holders there will be of the BAT token. So how many people are already turned on to Brave?
As of February 2021, the Brave browser has over 25.4 million monthly active users, 8 million daily active users, and over 1 million verified creators accepting BAT tokens.
Contrast this with 20 million monthly active users in November 2020.
To date, Brave has over a million verified publishers and content creators earning BAT tokens - including popular sites such as Wikipedia, the Washington Post, the Guardian, NPR, and many more.
Brave Ads has also brought in thousands of campaigns since their launch with campaigns for well-known brands such as Verizon, PayPal, Amazon, Logitech, Quickbooks, and Evernote to name a few.
Brave Code And How They Collect Data
Brave is fully open-source and was built on top of the Chromium web browser.
When you’re browsing with Brave, all information required for ad tracking purposes is blocked. However unlike many other ad blocker plugins, Brave blocks them ALL with no bias.
Zero ads, ever, unless they’re coming through the Brave browser and you’re being paid to view them.
The Brave browser is automatically monitoring your behavior to determine what type of content you view the most. It can monitor your behavior even better than Facebook or Google because it can see how far you scroll down on a page, or what you type into the browser and then delete, for example. But nobody sees this data without your permission. It’s recorded using blockchain tech and stored locally on your computer, so it remains your asset solely.
Based on the info gathered, publishers receive payment accordingly. Plus, since Brave uses blockchain technology to track the data it gathers, it’s nearly impossible to tamper with.
Not only is Brave monitoring user attention, but Brave also measures what it calls the “attention value” of every ad on its browser.
Brave calculates this measurement based on the amount of time the advertisement is being viewed, along with the number of pixels the user can see in relation to the content. The browser relies on machine learning to determine the value of various advertisements.
Once that’s determined, Brave shows users the type of ads they’re most likely to want to see. And, again, this is all being done locally on your machine. Nobody else sees what’s happening.
Brandan Eigh has stated users have the potential to earn up to $200 - $300 dollars a year from viewing ads on the browser. He said they are working to increase that number, too.
Monetization Of Your Data:
With the Brave browser, your data is stored locally so it is your asset. Once you have that data, here’s the process of how you monetize it:
Brave calls this process Brave Rewards - it’s how you earn the Basic Attention Token.
You can earn BAT tokens by viewing ads. The ads you see are personalized to you, based on your browsing data. Brave’s machine learning algorithm determines which ads to show you locally on your computer.
Advertisers pay BAT in order to serve these ads to you. You get 70% of ad revenue for each ad you view. Brandon Eigh said he got this idea from the model of the Apple App Store -- Apple takes 30% of in-app purchases or app sales and passes the rest on to the developers. He wanted to bring the same thing to digital advertising.
This way, advertisers are getting more bang for their buck than with traditional ads. Because they know it’s going to the right target audience who is welcoming the ad rather than being forced to watch it.
There’s also another stakeholder in the Brave ecosystem: the content creators or publishers:
They can get tipped in BAT by users for the content they produce. You can tip them right through the browser. And they can also earn BAT as a reward for earning users’ attention.
This is basically the crux of the Brave browser and BAT ecosystem.
Brave Main Features Overview:
Speed - Brave has published several studies where they prove pages load 3 - 6 times faster with Brave than Chrome or Firefox. They can achieve these speeds because they automatically block everything from the internet that is trying to collect your data, and all ads. That frees up bandwidth, and can even help you save on your data plan.
Privacy - When you browse with Brave, your data is all kept entirely private, and stored on your machine locally. Any information required for ad matching by third party companies will be unavailable as a result. The browser also automatically blocks all third party trackers.
Enhanced advertisement matching - The browser maintains a collection of data which includes active tabs, keyword searches, URLs, and browsing information. While the user is browsing, Brave will also determine whether or not they're in a preferable time and place to show the ads. If you’re in the middle of watching a video, for example, the browser won’t show you anything.
Improved User Experience - Since all the ad matching is done at the local level, users get better battery life on their device, high quality browsing, undisturbed content, and less data usage.
BAT first came to be on May 31st, 2017 and within 6 months, on January 9th 2018, was at 98 cents.
The all-time-high for the BAT token came in April 2021, where it reached $1.85. As of this writing it is at $0.59.
So what makes BAT different from a lot of ERC20 tokens?
For one, it’s a utility crypto token that is already in use, demonstrating a very real-world application of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
BAT is also supported on multiple DeFi platforms - like Compound and MakerDao, where BAT holders can use BAT as collateral to generate loans and earn interest.
According to a report from dApp.com, BAT was the most used coin in DeFi in Q2 2020 by generating the best return on compound finance.
BAT’s volumes in DeFi came to $941 Million dollars, over $300M more than Ethereum.
The BAT ICO caused a bit of a stir from the crypto community. This is primarily because the project received 35M dollars in roughly half a minute. It sold out in thirty seconds.
This is the only time this has ever happened. BAT raised all the capital it targeted in less than the time it took for you to read this section.
But here’s where the biggest controversy came in: Only 130 people bought BAT during the ICO. Five people purchased half the supply of the coin.
This is why the project is not as decentralized and distributed as other crypto coins.
The BAT project has a total supply of 1.5 billion tokens, with more than 1.35 billion currently in circulation, and a market cap of $832.7M.
The Brave Team is Helping Us Defeat “The Man”
Earning BAT rewards is great, but the Brave team is also doing a lot for online privacy in general.
Brave did not only release a privacy-enhancing browser. The Brave team has also put forth a concerted effort to keep the “powers that be” -- the big tech monopolies -- in check.
One example is their submission to the UK competition and markets authority: They showed that failing to enforce GDPR in the UK facilitates Google’s monopoly. This hinges on two articles in the GDPR legislation that have not been enforced, and exposed a whole slew of data about how Google continues to overstep boundaries with data and privacy.
This has allowed Google to operate an internal-data free-for-all, which cross-uses the personal data from many of Google’s disparate services.
The Brave team is taking steps to be everyone’s David facing off against the big tech Goliath. They didn’t have to do this, but are pursuing it anyway, because it is valuable to their users.
Brave uncovered another pervasive privacy-breaching tactic in the UK used by large companies as well:
Companies have been able to track the usage by citizens of numerous council websites — government websites used by people to get information on dealing with their disabilities, addiction, and poverty.
The UK council websites actually allowed data on these people to be sold. They used this data to exploit people who are in a bad place in life and trying to get back on the upswing.
Essentially, all council websites permit at least one company to learn about the behaviors of people who visit them.
There were 198 council websites that allow “real time bidding” data breaches. And 409 council sites that expose visitor data to private companies. 23 councils permit data brokers to profile their users.
Brave continues to release white papers, reports, and studies that expose these kinds of things, with the intention that these papers will cause a ruckus and raise more awareness about data and privacy in the long-term.
In a world of increased surveillance and monopoly power in tech, our privacy is becoming an ever-scarcer resource. It’s entering the public awareness at a rapidly increasing rate.
You can use private browsing models in other browsers, but they’re not default and they’re nowhere near as efficient or all-encompassing as the brave browser.
As evidenced by numerous studies, Brave is way more efficient than any other browser and reduces unnecessary resource usage on your PC.
Its combination of privacy, efficiency, and functionality make it unique.
Users are looking forward to the growth of the broader Brave ecosystem. It’s blossoming into the organic attention marketplace that many had hoped for, and that Brandan Eigh had set out to build.
Attention is valuable -- some argue more valuable than gold -- and finally there’s a way to monetize it fairly.
Users, creators, and advertisers realize the advantage of consensual and well-targeted ads combined with high-quality content.
Apart from tech and rewards, the team’s efforts to combat big tech privacy issues give users the sense they're on their side. This is something they’ve proven with their research into online tracking, and their tangle with Google into GDPR.
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