Brave browser and its native cryptocurrency Basic Attention Token (BAT) are two very important things for the cryptocurrency space. You might be wondering why. Well, Brave browser blocks ads and website trackers by default, and it’s a very popular alternative to the Google Chrome browser. Brave browser is open-source and built on top of Chromium. That’s why Brave ‘shares’ many basic elements with the Chrome browser itself. Brave browser has been praised by many mainstream media, including The Verge.
And recently, Brave browser has been introducing its ‘pay-to-surf’ model utilizing Basic Attention Token (BAT) cryptocurrency. This move was considered crucial to ‘revolutionize’ the digital advertising industry. So, what is Brave Browser, what is Basic Attention Token, and why they are considered important for the crypto space? Let’s find out.
History of Basic Attention Token
Image source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7p5cxCaUwm4
The digital advertising industry has been criticized a lot. By mainstream media, by politicians, and also by internet users. Many people believe facebook and google (as the biggest money makers from this industry) have been unethically selling their users data to the advertisers. There is a reason why adblock plugins have been getting more and more popular. Everybody feels fed up with all these intrusive ads on the internet. This was the reason why the BAT team presented their ideas to the people. The ideas were the Brave Browser project and its native cryptocurrency called Basic Attention Token (BAT).
The all-star BAT team wanted to create a cryptocurrency-powered adblock browser that can gain mass adoption real quick. They understand the problem with the digital advertising industry and the need for a browser with a native adblock feature. But at the same time, they also realize the need to bring cryptocurrency to mass adoption. This is why they introduced their own web browser called Brave Browser, and then they also introduced its cryptocurrency Basic Attention Token.
So, Basic Attention Token is basically a crypto token to ‘empower’ a new kind of ad exchange marketplace in the Brave browser. The idea is to connect all the three parties (content creators/publishers, advertisers, and users) in a decentralized way. All the parties need to benefit from a digital advertising industry without any kind of middle-man (i.e. Facebook or Google) selling users data unethically. And to reward the users and content creators, the BAT team believe Basic Attention Token is that global currency.
This is why they think the BAT project could revolutionize the digital advertising industry. Because they believe traditional corporations like Google and its browser Chrome exploit their users without giving anything back. With Brave browser, the users can earn BAT by opting-in to the Brave Rewards program (and they can always opt-out if they want to block all ads).
Of course, Chrome supporters can argue, “but I can still browse most websites for free using Google Chrome,” which has a good point. However, unlike Chrome, Brave browser prioritize ethics above profit. The BAT team believe users should always have default options to opt-out from internet ads without installing any third party adblock plugin. And even when the Brave browser users choose to ‘see’ ads, they are always incentivized. And keep in mind that Brave browser ads are not intrusive at all.
This idea to revolutionize the digital advertising industry, as well as the web browser industry, was very welcomed by the crypto community. The initial coin offering (ICO) to the BAT project was ‘sold out’ within 30 seconds. On May 31st, 2017, the BAT team successfully gathered $35 million from crypto investors.
Since the success of their ICO, the BAT team focused their efforts on Brave browser development. The BAT itself was created on top of Ethereum blockchain as an ERC20 token. By January 2019, Brave browser passed 5.5 million monthly active users and over 28,000 verified publishers.
Purpose of Brave Browser and BAT
Despite the fact that Brave browser block ads by default, of course, Brave browser and the team behind it have to make money somehow. The web publishers have to make money somehow. This is where BAT plays its role. BAT ‘connects’ advertisers, publishers, and users all at the same time. With BAT, Brave’s verified publishers can get paid directly by the users. On the other hand, the users will be rewarded by BATs if they surf the web with Brave browser and enable the Brave Rewards program. This is different from traditional web browsers like Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome where users won’t be rewarded for their internet browsing activities.
If you have used Brave browser before, you would know that Brave ads are not intrusive at all. Once you (as a user) enable Brave Rewards program, you will receive 2-5 ads per hour on the bottom-right of your screen. Viewing each of these ads gives you the right to receive 70% of the ad revenue (30% goes to the BAT team). If you don’t like to see these ads, you can always disable them.
In short, Brave Browser prioritizes its users above profit. You can always block all ads because the adblock feature within the browser is natively built-in. And if you decide to ‘view’ ads within Brave browser, you will be rewarded. And the technology is fantastic too because Brave is built on top of Chromium (a free and open-source web browser platform that’s also used to create Google Chrome).
Issues and Controversies
Image source: https://www.cogipas.com/brave-browser-review/
There are several big criticisms when it comes to Brave Browser. First and perhaps the biggest controversy is about the ‘real’ purpose of Basic Attention Token and its integration in Brave Browser. As everybody knows, BAT is an ERC20 token. If the BAT team wanted it, they could have used BTC or ETH for their Brave Rewards program. Many critics believe the real reason they had to create their own token was simply for the sake of ICO funding.
As we have mentioned above, BAT team received a $35 million funding from its ICO investors. Imagine if they never created their own ERC20 token, most likely they couldn’t get such a big amount of money. And this criticism has never really gone away.
Another controversy about BAT is about the ICO token distribution. During the 30 seconds ICO, 5 people bought half of the total token supply. In total, there were only 130 people who could invest in BAT ICO. Many people criticized this ICO because they felt the token distribution was too centralized in the hands of few rich people.
Partnerships and Adoptions
Image source: https://www.htcexodus.com/eu/
In terms of adoptions, Brave Browser is probably the most successful project from any cryptocurrency team. Brave has more than 5.5 million monthly active users, and more than 28,000 verified publishers. The browser has been downloaded more than 10 million times on Google Play Store. These records cannot be matched by any other application from any crypto-related startups.
And from partnerships perspective, Brave project has been doing well also. Dow Jones, NPR, and The Guardian are all verified publishers in the Brave ecosystem. And not too long ago, HTC Exodus phone made Brave Browser as its default web browsing application as confirmed by Brendan Eich himself.
BAT In The Crypto Market
Image source: https://coinmarketcap.com
In the cryptocurrency market, BAT has really good potential to keep going up. At the time of this post writing (September 21st, 2019), each of Basic Attention Token is worth $0.212943. BAT has a market cap of $285,077,818 USD with $47,726,630 USD daily trading volume. BAT is available in many top crypto exchanges including Coinbase Pro, Binance, Upbit, OKEx, Huobi, and CoinEx.
Based on these statistics, it’s possible for BAT price to go up before the end of 2019. It’s hard to predict where the price is going because cryptocurrencies are still very speculative assets but at least BAT has much stronger fundamentals compared to many other altcoins.
There’s no direct competitor to the BAT and Brave project. There are some other cryptocurrencies that try to ‘revolutionize’ the digital advertising industry such as Atlas Protocol (ATP) and FNB Protocol (FNB) but none of them come close to what the BAT team have been doing. The fact that BAT team built their own browser put them in a much better position compared to these other ‘advertising’ cryptocurrencies.
BAT and Brave Browser are important for the crypto community because they ‘introduce’ the idea of crypto-powered adblock browser to the masses. Their recent success shows it’s possible for developers to create a ‘mainstream’ application that appeals to the public while still utilizing crypto at the same time.
BAT has a really good appeal for crypto investors due to its strong use cases. Even if you don’t like BAT, at least you should give Brave Browser a chance. Many people say Brave Browser is actually better than Google Chrome itself.