Is there an easy way to reach out and touch blockchain? If you’re looking to take back control of your privacy and ownership of your personal data online, then the blockchain based Brave browser could give you your first taste of how decentralized, cryptocurrency based platforms can provide real value in our everyday lives.
Brave is on a mission to transform the online experience by making it faster, private and more secure. The key to pulling it off is the combination of a blockchain based web browser and its own digital currency, called the Basic Attention Token (BAT), which provides the engine to this enlightened approach to browsing.
Brave works off a ledger-based system designed to anonymously track the user’s “attention” (more on how that’s measured in a minute), which it then aggregates as a way to accurately reward publishers by paying them in BAT. In addition to measuring your attention, it also blocks unsolicited ads and trackers, cutting down on the clutter that makes Web browsing feel annoying — if not downright invasive — too many people.
Get in the Driver’s Seat
The combination of Brave and BAT are meant to put the user in the driver’s seat. Using the Brave browser puts you behind an anonymity shield where your attention is privately monitored on-device — your private data never leaves your device.
Your attention is rewarded on Brave with BAT tokens, which you can spend on supporting the publishers’ sites that you visit via automatically scheduled distributions or direct tipping. And Brave is introducing additional incentives on top of that: for a limited time, Brave users have automatic three-month access to premium video content from the news Website Cheddar. Other premium products and content will be made obtainable via BAT tokens in the near future.
There are a lot of other high-profile publishers already onboard accepting BAT as distributions or tips from users. These include the Washington Post, The Guardian, Vimeo, MarketWatch, Barron’s, and Vice, among a total of over 8,000 publishers, plus 17,000 more on YouTube, currently participating.
On the other side of the ecosystem, advertisers can purchase advertising space and user attention with BAT tokens, while benefiting from the improved transparency that comes courtesy of the blockchain. The BAT token eliminates third-party traffic sourcing a.k.a. the dreaded “middleman,” which should lead to better targeting of ads (so you only see what you’re actually interested in), reduced ad fraud (that pumps up the number of people who have supposedly seen ads), and better ROI for the advertiser.
In addition to redeeming rewards and services within the platform, BAT tokens can also be withdrawn and exchanged for other cryptocurrencies, as well as integrated into other Web browsers and apps outside of Brave.
Now Pay Attention
The key, of course, to making the whole ecosystem work is the “attention” metric.
Here’s how it works: Attention is measured in real-time as users view ads, which they have opted in to, and content in the Brave browser’s active tab. From there, the “Attention Value” for the ad is calculated based on incremental duration and pixels in view in proportion to relevant content (an article or video), before a user’s direct engagement with the ad.
From there, ads will be anonymously matched with customer interests using local machine learning algorithms. In theory, this leads to people being subjected to fewer irrelevant ads.
Brave calls durable user attention “the key driver of Internet content.” Another way of describing what they Brave and BAT are enabling is a “pay-to-surf” model, monetizing people’s attention via an opt-in advertising system for in-browser and mobile app Web views that is secure and anonymous.
It’s worth noting that Brave hopes not to just create a superior browsing experience for users, but also a better world for the other key stakeholders in the system: publishers/content providers, and digital advertisers. By cutting out the shenanigans and inefficiencies that can drag down the online experience, things could improve for everyone. According to statistics compiled by Brave, the negative effects of bad digital advertising practices include an increased sense of privacy loss by users, a 66% drop in publisher revenue since 2008, and a decreased ability of advertisers to gauge effectiveness.
The effects are felt further from there. Brave estimates that the downloading of ads and trackers into mobile devices can equal up to an eye-popping 50% of the average user’s data plan per month, significantly increase mobile load times, and decrease phone battery life by as much as 21%.
And then there’s the even more troublesome highly personalized “digital shadow” that third-party trackers such as cookies, Web beacons, and pixel tags create, which can reveal far more than what kind of shoes people want to buy next. Companies might tap a person’s online profile to make critical determinations about a job application, credit worthiness, or health insurance rates.
Valor and Value
You don’t have to be too courageous to try Brave. Installation proved extremely easy for this author, and it feels good to reward registered publishers with BAT tokens, which can either be earned with your attention or by depositing fiat currency or select cryptocurrencies into the Brave wallet that’s created along with your browser. Plus, installing Brave doesn’t crowd your favorite browser that you’re currently using, like Chrome or Firefox, out of your device – you can switch between them whenever you like.
For those in search of blockchain experiences that they can truly use, the Brave browser offers a tangible way to get involved. Try Brave, and the token economy that’s enabled by blockchain just may feel like its closer to home.
The information in this article is for informational and educational purposes only. None of the information contained herein should be considered investment advice, nor does BlockSocial.com endorse any entity, project, token or cryptocurrency that may be mentioned or linked to in this article. Investing in ICOs, cryptocurrencies or tokens is highly speculative, and the market is largely unregulated. Anyone considering it should be prepared to lose their entire investment.