Brave Software has embarked on the next phase of its plan to use its browser and to build a privacy alternative to today's online advertising industry.
The Brave browser blocks ads and ad crawlers by default, a move that makes pages load faster and eliminates some intrusions in our online lives. But the startup does not want to rid the world of the ads, only to create a system that delivers them with more privacy and security and fewer intermediaries.
Brave already allows you to contribute with payments to publishers and, more recently, to YouTube stars who register with Brave. Ultimately, he plans to build a system in which those payments are financed by some of the ads he sees. Taking a step in that direction on Wednesday, it began issuing the digital equivalent of the money it expects to feed that system.
"We warmly welcome people and give them a change in their pockets," said the company's CEO. Brendan Eich, who previously co-founded and directed the Mozilla Firefox browser.
"If we do it right, it will create a new ecosystem in which we will transplant the viable parts of the current ecosystem: the users, the publishers and content creators, and the brands they advertise," he said. "We're just reconnecting them."
Brave's new system is based on a technology called cryptocurrency. The best-known example isin recent months. But Brave relies on a newer and more sophisticated alternative, Ethereum, as the basis for its technology, called a basic attention token, or BAT. At the current exchange rate, each BAT is worth approximately 21 cents.
On May 31, Brave raised $ 36 million in 24 seconds by selling 1,500 million BAT. Brave wants these tokens to be what is exchanged in the online advertising industry. An advertiser will give them to an editor to show an ad, for example, or in the case of Brave himself, to people who use the browser and see an advertisement. So far, around 1,100 YouTube publishers and stars have registered with the Brave system, which allows them to exchange BAT for dollars and other currencies through a partnership with online portfolio company Uphold.
Ordinary Brad users can only spend BAT, not charge them, but Brave expects it to be more useful in the future. For example, BATs could unblock news articles behind a payment wall quickly and without requiring you to think about whether you really want to pay more than $ 100 for an annual subscription to paid publications such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post , New Yorker. or, soon, with cable.
Cryptocurrencies are a new technology with something of a reputation as wild and western. The meteoric rise of Blockchain inspires fears of a bubble burst when speculation cools. The US Securities and Exchange Commission has just gone to court to freeze the assets of a cryptocurrency company called PlexCorps, alleging that it is a fraud. Bitcoin is used, among other things, to fund Nazi sympathizers who have been expelled from the main online sites.
But the fundamentals of the cryptocurrency, a technology called blockchain, are not a scam. Blockchain promises new levels of trust and transparency for many types of transactions, and companies like Microsoft and IBM are adopting it with all their hearts.
Brave's attempt to address the drawbacks of today's online advertising technology – problems such as the invasion of privacy, the performance of the website and the injection of dangerous "malicious advertising" into web pages – are based on your BAT cryptocurrency. It sold 1,500 million BAT in May, but reserved 300 million separately for what is known as a user growth group. Wednesday's move distributes one-tenth of one percent of them, but there will be other grants, Eich said.
Brave hopes that the set of tokens will attract new users to its browser and will make existing users configure BAT portfolios within the browser, Eich said.
If you are using Brave and opt for the BAT system, the browser automatically divides the BAT transfers each month, depending on the amount of time spent on each website. You can also "fix" specific recipients so that they get a fixed percentage of their contribution.
Brave also hopes that the BAT bonus will encourage YouTube users to subscribe and advertise BAT and Brave. Brave by default blocks ads, so brave users will restrict advertising revenue distributed through the conventional YouTube payment mechanism.
Finally, Brave plans to build a larger BAT network that includes other software from other companies and, eventually, standardize it as part of the web.
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