I have switched from using Chrome to Brave browser since April 2019. This article will explain what the new brave browser is and why you should use it. Downloading Brave is free and the best part? You are being paid for your attention to view ads.
Overview of Brave Browser
The second component is BAT or Basic Attention Token. BAT is an ERC-20 token that is built on the ethereum network. It is a cryptocurrency and it can be bought or sold on crypto exchanges. It has value and the price of BAT at time of writing is worth about US$0.26.
So what is the relationship between BAT and Brave?
Both BAT and Brave work together hand-in-hand. The way I like to see it is Brave is the platform while BAT is the utility token. BAT is integrated into the user interface and features of Brave. People who use the Brave browser would interact with BAT tokens one way or another. It is like a medium of exchange for value within the ecosystem. Before we discuss the value of BAT, let’s take a step back and understand the problems in the traditional model of digital advertising.
Digital Advertising is Broken
To start off, there are three major players in the digital advertising system.
The user, the publisher and the advertiser. User is the one browsing the internet, the publisher is the one publishing the content and advertiser is the one who wants to target the user with its ads.
In the traditional advertising model, the advertiser pays the middlemen to advertise its ads. Google Adsense is one example. It acts as an intermediary between advertisers and publishers.
Publishers earn a commission every time a user views or click the ads. What do users get? Nothing, except for the content they are consuming. And also the bombardment of ads.
Additionally, tracking cookies are embedded all over in our browsers. The videos you watched on Youtube and the things you searched on Google are being tracked and analysed. With the insights that data scientists on the back-end have gathered, the content of ads would be fine-tuned to target an individual’s needs and preferences.
It is no surprise that when you search for hair colour dyes, a promotional ad from a hair salon would pop up on your Facebook page or Youtube page.
Everybody Suffers… Except…
That is the reason why most users download adblockers to block all these annoying ads. 600 million devices use ad blockers and the figure is rising. The problem is when they do that, advertisers suffer since their targetted ad did not reach the user.
Who earns the most in this ecosystem? It is the middlemen. They take a cut from advertisers and they take a cut from publishers. For example, if publishers use Google Adsense, they would receive 68% while Google takes 32%. Not only that, they capitalise on user’s private data and monetise it to their own benefits.
The last point is probably more of an ethical issue. If you are free, do watch “The Great Hack” on Netflix. It talks about how Facebook sold data to Cambridge Analytical to influence voting decisions among vulnerable groups of people. It is a good starting point to understand data rights and data privacy.
In summary, users have no incentives to view ads and their data privacy is being infringed. Publishers’ revenue is diminishing as it is taken away from middlemen. Advertisers pay extra fees to middlemen to advertise their ads and their campaigns are not effective if users shun them.
On top of that, the advertising ecosystem is plagued with tons of frauds, malware, bogus websites, fake bots, artificial clicks and views. Users are being hacked and advertisers are being fooled. Imagine a marketing campaign that achieved 20,000 clicks but it turns out to be bots pretending to be users.
How does Brave Solve the Problem?
Brendan Eich believes the traditional digital advertising system is flawed. Too much power is being centralised on monopolistic middlemen. Data is the new oil and our data has become a commodity. This means that if you want to analyse my data, you have to buy it from me. Or if you want me to see your ads, you have to pay for my attention. (Hence, the term Basic Attention Token)
That is a whole new shift paradigm shift, isn’t it?
The first immediate solution is to design a browser that blocks of all these annoying ads and trackers. This is where Brave browser is born. For example, if I just go to any YouTube videos, look at the number of trackers Brave has blocked.
Or even better still, look at the number of cumulative trackers that have been blocked. I switched from using Google Chrome to Brave around April 2019. Within just 7 months, a total of 190k ads and trackers have been blocked by Brave shield.
There is no need to install ad blockers or any plugins. Brave Shield is already integrated into the Brave browser. Because ads and trackers are being blocked, the load page speed of using Brave is tested to be 3x faster than Chrome and Mozilla. Check out the video here. Additionally, you also use lesser data on your mobile as all these ad trackers consumer additional phone battery life and data usage.
By using Brave, you protect your own data, enhance browser security, block off ad trackers and enjoy a faster, seamless user experience.
How does BAT Solve the Problem?
This is the interesting part. While Brave is just a browser that blocks ads, what does BAT do?
Remember I mentioned Brave and BAT work together hand-in-hand and Brave is the platform while BAT is the utility token? Here is how BAT works.
BAT is a token that directly connects users, publishers and advertisers, without a need for any middlemen.
Firstly, and this is the most interesting thing, users are being PAID to view ads for their attention. I have been waiting for ads to be available since April. Ads have finally arrived in Singapore in October!
To view ads and earn BAT tokens, simply go to the Brave reward settings and enable brave rewards.
You can also set how many ads you want to receive per hour from 1 being the minimum and 5 being the maximum.
From time to time, an ad notification would pop up at the bottom right-hand corner of your screen. Click on it and a new tab page would open up. When you view the ads, you earn BAT tokens. It would look something like this.
Whenever you clicked an ad, users would earn 70% of the gross ad revenue while Brave receives the remaining 30%. This means that advertisers are paying the users directly with BAT.
If you don’t want to receive any ads while browsing, simply turn off the Brave rewards option and no ad notifications would appear.
At the end of every month, users can claim the BAT tokens and do whatever they want with it. You can withdraw out the BAT tokens and sell it for reach cash, accumulate or tip your favourite content creator.
To sell your BAT tokens, I would suggest using Coinhako as it is the easiest way to buy and sell bitcoin and altcoins. You don’t need to create an ERC-20 wallet, store your private keys and all these other hassles. Just link up your bank account with Coinhako and sell your BAT tokens directly from there. Check out the previous post on the guide to using Coinhako.
How to Cash Out BAT to Fiat?
I have done up a process flow of how to cash out the BAT tokens you earned. It is really simple.
Firstly, go to your Coinhako account and click “Receive” on the BAT token.
It would give you the public address of your BAT Wallet account number. Click on the copy button.
Secondly, go to your Uphold account and click on the function (send to cryptocurrency or utility token). Then paste in the BAT address you copied from Coinhako. *When you use Brave, you have to create an Uphold account which will store all your BAT tokens.
Next, wait for the transaction on the Ethereum network to process through. It takes a number of block confirmations before you will see it on Coinhako. Just give it around 3-5 minutes.
Finally, the BAT tokens from your Uphold would be transferred to Coinhako.
From there, simply click the sell button and decide how many BAT tokens you want to sell. The money would be directly credited into your bank account.
The process is simply to transfer BAT tokens from your Uphold to Coinhako, then sell on Coinhako and receive the cash directly into your bank account.
In the future, these BAT tokens can be used to purchase premium contents from content creators or even redeem it for real-world rewards such as hotel stays and restaurant vouchers.
Secondly, if advertisers want to advertise their ads, they have to buy the BAT tokens to advertise. Advertisements are then matched and delivered to users based on their interests and content sites they visited.
Is Brave Tracking Our Data?
Wait a minute… you might be asking how do they know what are my interests and which websites I visit? Isn’t the only way to target certain niche demographics with advertising is to track users?
This is where Brave differs. Traditionally, ads are matched to you based on an external ad server. This external ad server tracks you across the web by putting tracking cookies on you.
When you visit a web, the ad slots are linked to an external ad server and whatever ads that are displayed would depend on the matching performed by the external ad server. This is the “server-side” ad technology. A third-party is storing your data.
With Brave, the ads are matched and delivered by the browser on the client-side. All the advertisers’ ads would be first downloaded into an ad catalog, which is integrated with the Brave browser.
All the information and your browsing history would be stored ONLY in your local device. There are no third-party tracking cookies since Brave shield has already blocked off all of it. The ad matching occurs by matching the ad catalog against your browsing history on the client-side.
You can now receive targetted ads without revealing any of your personal data to an external ad server.
Value of BAT
This is where I believe the value of BAT lies. The more advertisers demand BAT tokens, the higher the value it will be. Furthermore, users are now monetarily incentivised to click your ads, thus increasing the effectiveness of marketing campaigns for advertisers.
For advertisers, what they are looking for is engagements. In the latest report, Brave stated that platform engagement is extremely high. The click-through rate is 14%, compared to the industry average of 2%. More importantly, 12% of click-throughs result in page visits of 10s or longer.
Number of Publishers on the Rise
The same report also announced that monthly active users passed 8 million and there are over 290,000 publishers. I am one of them.
The number of publishers is also increasing steadily and consistently every month. The more publishers get on board brave, the more likely they will spread the word out and get more users to switch over.
More publishers = more users = more advertisers and the cycle repeats. When more and more people start switching from Chrome to Brave, advertisers will also start to shift from advertising on middlemen platforms to Brave. This is a growing ecosystem that is showing tremendous growth and progress.
Two Different Kinds of Ads in Brave
There are two kinds of ads in Brave: User ads and publisher-integrated ads. The latter is not released yet but is estimated to be released later this year.
User ad is what you see just now.
It is the bottom-right hand notification ad that pops up. If a user clicks it, a new tab would be opened and the user would be redirected to that page.
Publisher-integrated ads would be discussed in the next section.
Publishers can earn money in three ways.
- Publisher-Integrated Ads
Publisher-integrated ads are ad banners on the publisher’s website itself. Publishers receive 70% of the revenue, 15% goes to users and 15% goes to Brave. However, this feature is not available yet.
How Auto-Contribute Works?
Auto-contribution is one of the features in Brave browser. By default, it would be on. Auto contribution means users can make micro-contributions to the sites they visited on a monthly basis. You can set a limit to the maximum amount of BAT you are willing to give out.
The amount of BAT tokens you give would be apportioned based on the amount of attention you spent. For example, if I set 10 BAT as my limit, and I spent 50% of my browsing time on website A, 30% on website B and 20% on website C, then A, B, C would receive 5, 3 and 2 BAT tokens respectively.
If you do not wish to give out your BAT tokens, you can turn off this option.
How Tipping Works?
The last way you can earn is through tipping.
Brave encourages users to tip their favourite content creator so as to connect users and publishers directly. It can be a means of showing gratitude for a great content you have read. At the same time, the tips received from the publisher would also motivate them to create more quality contents for the users.
If you are a verified publisher with Brave, you can set up a tipping banner which allows users to tip you some BAT tokens if they find your content useful. These are some of the tips I have received over the months.
The BAT tipping feature is already available on verified publisher websites, Youtube channels, Twitter and Reddit.
Do you realise that one party is missing in this new ecosystem? Yes, the middleman is eliminated.
This is the essence of what blockchain is about – decentralisation and ownership of rights. The shift of power from central monopolies to individual users. The earnings that would otherwise have gone to these intermediaries are now being distributed back to us.
Summary of Brave Browser and BAT
Let’s do a quick recap to piece everything up together. Firstly, the digital advertising model is broken. Users are annoyed with ads, data privacy is being infringed and there are no incentives for users in this model.
Central intermediaries take a cut from advertisers and publishers. Marketing campaigns are not effective and the web is plagued with frauds and malware.
Brave solves this by implementing a browser that blocks off all ad trackers. The brave browser is faster, more secure and safer.
BAT token is created to connect advertisers, publishers and users directly, without a need for middlemen.
Users are being rewarded with BAT for their attention, advertisers buy BAT tokens to advertise and publishers can engage users and advertisers with attention-based services.
How do I get Started with Brave?
If you are interested in this new browser, you can download Brave at this link here and start earning BAT tokens immediately. Payment would be made to you on the 5th of every month. Do remember to turn off micro-contribution if you do not wish to give out your BAT tokens. *Disclosure: Affiliate link (Creator Referral Program)
Just give it a shot for 30 days, and If you’ don’t like it, you can always switch back to Chrome.
The ads only become available in Singapore around the last week of October 2019. Thus far, I have accumulated around 2.4 BAT (worth around US$0.55) for viewing ads while browsing the internet.
Do note that the price of BAT tokens fluctuates too. It might be around US$0.23 for 1 BAT token now, but as the demand for it rises and when the crypto boom comes, it might not be US$0.23 anymore, could be US$0.40, US$1.20, no one knows.
Just accumulate as I am doing right now. Next time you can cash out when the time is right or even buy Starbucks with the BAT tokens you earned.
If You are a Blogger or Owns a Website
If you are a blogger, owns a website, and create content regularly, you belong to the publisher category.
Publishers play an important role in the digital advertising ecosystem. Hence, I would highly highly recommend that you sign up as a verified content creator on Brave Rewards. Get started here. I am already on it.
This is how it would look like on your publisher account. There would be a statement of account just like a bank statement. My balance now is 34 BAT tokens which are worth around $10.80. Most of it was earned through tipping.
At the moment, you can earn through micro-tips and auto-contribution from your loyal readers. Very soon, you can start earning from publisher-integrated ads. There is a lot more with how you want to interact with your audience using BAT tokens. New features on Brave browser would slowly be rolled-out along the way.
Just try out the new brave browser, play around with it, get a feel and experience of how it is like. If the experience is good, share it with your readers and spread the word.
This is really an interesting space to watch out for. Brave is gaining significant traction and it’s changing the entire model of our traditional digital advertising model. Don’t miss out on this bandwagon.