Until just recently the Brave Browser was almost unanimously the browser of choice for most fans of cryptocurrency. In fact, the Brave Browser is the most popular cypto product/service out there.
The Brave browser was catered towards privacy-conscious users, who are wanting to escape the far-reaching privacy intrusions we often see on other browsers, and also trying to escape companies like Google.
Everything was going great until just last week when it was discovered that the browser was secretly redirecting users to their referral links when navigating to platforms like Binance, Coinbase, and others which would give them money.
For a product that users are using for privacy, and escaping the eyes of large corporations this has been total breach of trust. But was it enough for you to decide to delete the Brave Browser and switch to something else.
Let’s dig into this.
I always think that to understand how we got to this point, it helps to know the history of the Brave Browser.
The Brave mission statement goes as follows; "Brave is on a mission to fix the web by giving users a safer, faster and better browsing experience while growing support for content creators through a new attention-based ecosystem of rewards. ... It's time to fix the web together."
They initially launched in January of 2016 with the first version of Brave featuring and ad-blocking feature and then announced plans for a privacy-respecting ad feature and revenue sharing program.
In June of 2018, Brave released a pay-to-surf test version of their browser, and during the same month they also added support for Tor in its desktop browser’s private browsing mode. Next in early 2019, Brave released the full version software that would allow users to earn BAT from viewing adds. Finally on November 13th, 2019 Brave launched its stable release version 1.0.
As of April 2020, Brave has a monthly user-base of over 13.5 million users.
So let’s talk about the real issue with Brave. Just last week, users on the internet discovered that each time a user on Brave would type out a crypto exchange in the surf bar, such as Binance or Coinbase, the browser was actually autofilling the address with their own referral links, that would allow the browser to make money off the users. Not only were they able to make money off of this, it caused the users to lose a lot of trust in the service. After-all, this was a web browser that was supposed to be different than the other browsers. A browser that wasn’t always watching and tracking you around the internet. While it wasn’t quite the same as what happens on other browsers, it was still dishonest, and against the general idea of what Brave was above.
Not only that, but recently Brave and Binance became partners, in this deal, each time a user opens a new tab within their browser they will be able to see a Binance widget there. Also having the option to make crypto purchases directly from Binance here without actually going to the Binance web page. This also raised suspicions about Brave, and rubbed people the wrong way. Like I have mentioned before. The early adopters of the Brave browser were people were wanted to have a easy to use browser that was “outside the establishment,” so to speak. But unfortunately, as Brave is increasingly growing in popularity, it appears they are becoming more of the company that users set out to escape.
When questioned about this on Twitter, Brave CEO Brendan Eich definitely didn’t understand the gravity of the situation, thinking what happened was fine because not personal data was given out and replied by saying this.
He definitely didn't help himself with that reply in my opinion. But, naturally as the story exploded around the internet, Eich would offer an apology, and vowed that the coding would be changed.
When I initially heard about what happened I must admit I was a little taken a back by this situation. While in the whole grand scheme of things, what they did definitely wasn't the worst thing out there. It definitely was a breach of trust, and was against the whole image that I had of the Brave browser, and its team. If they are doing this, what else might they possibly do in the future? Especially as the browser becomes even more popular, and expensive to run.
After thinking about the situation, I understood that Brave is a company that offers a free product, and they must find ways to monetize to pay for their employees. As the browser continues to ramp up in popularity, so does too the costs of maintaining the service (although they do make a significant amount of income from Basic Attention Token (BAT) alone, and selling ads). and also continuing to improve. Which I feel they have done a great job with. Constant updates, quicker speeds, and of course collecting more ad partners. I'm sure like most people who opt-in to the ad rewards, we all enjoy earning a little extra crypto for something that we would be doing anyways, browsing the internet. I know for me personally it has made browsing just a little more fun, and each time I receive a pop-up ad reward, I must admit that it does feel good. I do feel that out of all the mainstream browsers out there, Brave is definitely the best out of the bunch still. But in my mind, I have put Brave on alert, with this being their last chance. To be honest, I was more let down with the Binance widget within the browser, then with these referral links. But in the future, if there is ever another mess up, or something similar to this. I will definitely delete the Brave browser and search for something else.
I also understand the fact that almost anytime you are using the internet, you are being tracked, your information is available to the public. It is just how things are these days.
For now, I've will keep using the Brave browser, but I'm on alert, and will be watching carefully from here on out.
How about you? Did you lose all trust in the Brave browser? Will you plan on continuing to use it, or using a different service?
Thanks for reading!