I’ve been tracking the saga of Basic Attention Token for quite some time. You know I’m a big privacy advocate, so a privacy-centric browser PLUS a crypto-tokenized advertising scheme should be something I’d fall deeply in love with. There’s a lot that prevents me from loving Brave that I’ll get into later. Just this week, they announced their search engine is ready for prime time, and that got me excited all over again. I made the move to DuckDuckGo a long time ago, and any competitor to the F/oogle regime has my full support. Does this mean the long-suffering BAT token will CRACK out of the 100s? Yes I think so. I think BAT is a sleeping- if imperfect- giant that can and should disrupt F/oogle.
BAT is a broadly traded ERC20 utility token on the Etherum network. 1.5 billion is the max supply and almost all have been distributed, meaning BAT is deflationary (will likely increase in value over time) and serves as a currency to run Brave advertising campaigns. I’m always suspicious of a utility token that has a limited supply, because that implies the service provided will get too expensive to use (see the Peter Schiff Principle). BAT did get "expensive" during the last bull market, busting the $1.50 per token mark and the magic 1 billion dollar market cap level twice in the last year, only to wither. Why? I don’t know or care.
Tokenomics aside, the community around BAT is rather strong, if centralized. They have a robust Twitter and Reddit following, which earns no points with me, but is understandable. There is no Telegram or Discord support. Instead they have their own (probably) moderated (albeit poorly curated) forum where folks have aired (rather valid) grievances. Some examples include “wen will you be more decentralized” and “how do I SEO (search engine optimize) for the Brave browser index”. Again I find myself in love with the Brave idea but lukewarm on the execution. This is Web3, where hype conquers all. It would be so easy to hire on an influencer like Coffeezilla to assuage some of the valid concerns with a snarky TikTok.
You can claim your BAT tokens but the only options are to move them to either Gemini or Uphold custodial wallets. This bothers me, especially because there are many other non-custodial wallets that support Brave. It’s a bit of a funnel to limit the options to just two wallets to withdraw BAT, but in the in-between-times of legacy business and Decentralia, this is to be expected. One day, when I hodl enough BAT from watching ads, I'll get an Uphold wallet and move my BAT into the broader ecosystem- better than what I can do with my F/oogle points (which don't exist).
Uphold will allow you to swap BAT for fiat giftcards, which reminds me of how my credit card once allowed me to swap points for gift cards(discontinued). But, again, is F/oogle reaching out to allow you the possibility of giving back some of the money they made monetizing your attention? No, they are most assuredly are not. At least Brave is a little more upfront about their monetization scheme, and they give you the possibility of getting a little something back. Isn’t it weird to think that that we are owed something from the internet that can educate, socialize and even get us laid for almost free?
I guess our data is more valuable than we know.