When we think of the Brave browser, we instantly associate it with its native cryptocurrency token BAT (Basic Attention Token). If you are like me you probably also associate the token as a reward for opting into their advertisement system, and an easy way to make contributions to content creators. For a lot of people the buck stops here, and BAT is nothing more than a token you get for watching ads. Despite advertising companies raking in hundreds of billions of dollars of revenue yearly, its still not a good selling point for opponents of the BAT token. Regardless of their beliefs the BAT token has to be purchased on the open market if advertising is going to be facilitated in the BAT rewards program. Whether the ad system will be a success or not is still a mystery. However there is other lower hanging fruit that often gets overlooked, and the 10.4 million userbase they have grown is a pretty big asset.
If you are currently opted into the brave rewards program you may have been lucky enough to receive this survey from Brave in the form of an ad.
The disclaimer may be a little disheartening, but the survey does leave the mind to imagination. Some of the products and services include a passive crypto miner in the browser, a private email service, a coupon searcher service similar to honey (just acquired by paypal for $4B), a widget to buy crypto in the browser, and a VPN service among other things. We may never see some of those products, but we have been given a few hints about things like the VPN. Here's a tweet from the CEO explaining that they are actively looking into adding VPN services. https://twitter.com/BrendanEich/status/1208498496329768960?s=20
You can even find some of their research papers here. https://brave.com/vpn0-a-privacy-preserving-distributed-virtual-private-network/
The VPN market is growing and the market size is set to reach $36B by 2022, and thats another good use for BAT. In the research around Braves VPN0 service, customers could pay for the service in BAT, and also be rewarded in BAT for running a VPN node.
There was however another potential service that I forgot to mention that is a large overlooked market. Market research is a nearly $50B a year global industry. Braves new services survey was just that, it was market research, and it could potentially be a new service offered that pays users in BAT for providing insights. Brave, and surveys are a match made in heaven. With GDPR regulations affecting how information is handled online and in surveys, Brave could stand a good chance in the market. People who opt into the BAT rewards system don't shy away from earning extra cash, and the ability to take private by design surveys that easily pays respondents is a natural fit. With market research companies like Neilsen earning nearly $6B in yearly revenue or Survey Monkey pulling in roughly $300m per year with its survey software its hard for Brave to ignore offering these potential services.
When it comes to the utility of BAT it's hard to consider it just a browser token or advertising token. Its much, much more than that. BAT could become a new web standard for earning, and spending easily on the web, and I think it will become much harder to ignore as the project develops.